Date: 11th January 2001

Sony Spends Millions To Generate Word-Of-Mouth On Tiger

In advance of Sony's general release of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in some 700 theaters beginning Friday, Sony employed an elaborate "grass-roots stealth marketing" campaign, the Wall Street Journal observed in a front-page feature article today (Thursday).

Working with a relatively modest $7 million marketing budget, Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, launched the campaign last May with an out-of-competition screening at the Cannes Film Festival, the WSJ reported, then hired 13-year-old John Otrakji of Rumford, NJ (he received an initial fee of $100) to design a Web site for the movie.

In September, Barker, aided by publicist Peggy Siegal, launched a virtual road show of private screenings for selected "taste-makers" including newscasters, Wall Street denizens, party-circuit regulars, karate fans, hip-hop stars, action aficionados and foreign-film aesthetes. The result, commented the newspaper, was to transform the film "from art-house obscurity to breakout film."

Source: Studio Briefing