Marketing Lessons From “The Wedding Party”

In 2016, the unprecedented happened at the Nigerian Box Office. For the first time since its existence, a locally produced film broke the record for the highest grossing movie at the cinemas. It’s title – “The Wedding Party”

In two months, the romantic comedy grossed over N400 million, more than doubling the previous record at the cinemas. The movie was also a huge success at the International Film Festivals it featured in. The success of “The Wedding Party” continues to astound not just the general public and film critics, but the producers too.

But what exactly is responsible for the huge numbers (both in viewership and financial reward) the film recorded? We examine the factors that made “The Wedding Party” the movie all other movies aspire to;

Simple Theme and Relevance to The Nigerian society: the movie had a central of theme of showcasing the dynamics of an inter-tribal marriage in the setting of a wedding party. It was simple, but more importantly it was a phenomenon every Nigerian, regardless of their age or social standing could relate to. Everyone could see their Aunty, Uncle or Parent in the scenario portrayed by the movie. It was a critical factor in the success of the production, unlike other movies which are sometimes enjoyable to watch, but aren’t relatable.

Clever Casting and Celebrity Endorsement: “The Wedding Party” brought together a powerful combination of old and new Nollywood stars. It turned out to be a genius move as it became a mobilizing force for different generations to want to see the movie. Its engagement of celebrities as endorsers on traditional and digital media also contributed to the posiive perception of the film.

Timing: The cinema release of the film was targeted towards the Christmas season/End of the year when schools were on holiday, everyone was in a festive mood and were likely to be willing to spend more to entertain themselves. The producers put this into consideration when it opted to show the movie at that time of the year, and that decision played a huge role in the success it achieved.

Positioning: “The Wedding Party” was positioned as a premium product. From the producers; Mo Abudu and EbonyLife TV, to the stellar cast and crew featuring people like Kemi Adetiba, RMD, Ireti Doyle, Banky W and Adesua Etomi, to the quality of the set and equipment used in its production, there was no doubt in a viewer’s mind that it was going to be a production worth every penny upon its release.

Investment in Marketing and PR Activities: Producers of “The Wedding Party” spared no expense in creating awareness for the film. The trailer for the movie was released months before the cinema release to heighten anticipation in audiences, such that by the time it eventually hit the cinemas, people were practically scrambling to all major cinemas across the country to see it. They spent a lot on the Marketing and PR, but they gained far more from the revenue of the movie.

Excellent Use of Social Media: The astronomic figures recorded by the film is also a testament to the power of social media, as it was a major marketing tool for the movie. The engagement of the public through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ensured that millions of social media savvy people were updated on the movie, and directly or indirectly spread the news too.

One Product, Many Revenue Streams: Like it did with its previous production “Fifty,” “The Wedding Party” accrued income from other revenue sources such as Private Screenings, Premiere Sponsorship/Partnerships, and a deal with Internet streaming provider, Netflix.

Plan, Plan, Plan: The execution of the movie provided insight into how much preparation and planning went into it. From the beginning of the production to the end, “The Wedding Party” is a classic example of how a film should be shot and shown.

As a movie producer, filmmaker or even an entrepreneur the lessons above can be applied to any venture to ensure that the success recorded with “The Wedding Party” is replicated or even surpassed.