Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Freebie Entrepreneurial Idea

Okay, here's a freebie entrepreneurial idea. I really spot this kind of stuff on a daily basis. I am utterly amazed that some opportunities I see are never acted on. There are really thousands of opportunities out there to put money in your pocket, just keep your eyes open.

Here we go:

There's a huge marketing opportunity for a "movie telephone broker". You can do this from your home in your pajamas using either a phone or email, your choice.

We all know that companies are paying big bucks for "placements" of their products in movies and in television shows. What I have never understood is why movie producers continue to use fake 555 numbers in their movies.

What I would do if I were a "movie telephone broker" is find out what the audience demographic for a film was expected to be and contact someone who wants to reach that demographic and tell them, "Hey, I can get a phone number in XYZ movie which some viewers will call. Do you want these people to call a number where you have a prerecorded message about your product?"

I don't think the movie studios have caught on to the potential here. Here's  Mark Caro in WaPo, today:
The politician played by Matt Damon doesn’t initially remember the phone number that the dancer played by Emily Blunt gives him in “The Adjustment Bureau.”

That’s strange, because I sure did. It’s 212-664-7665.

Once home, I called it.

No answer.

Too bad, because any movie or TV show offering a phone number without a 555 prefix is inviting you to start punching digits. Paul Thomas Anderson rewarded geeky fans of his 1999 epic drama “Magnolia” by including two real numbers. If you called 818-775-3993, which is dialed by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s nurse character, you reached a recording of a flustered woman saying, “Please leave a message at the tone.”...

The 555 phenomenon dates back to at least the early 1960s, when TV and movie producers were encouraged to use these numbers because they weren’t being distributed to customers. The convention has become so well known that it screams to viewers: “Fake phone number!”

That’s why “Adjustment Bureau” director George Nolfi asked his producers to find him an alternative for his sci-fi romance.

“We do so much work to try to help the audience suspend disbelief, particularly in a movie like ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ with a crazy premise. The idea of seeing a 555 number would really throw me out of a movie like that, so I asked for a real number, and they sent me to Universal’s clearance department, and they said they own a real number.”

It turns out Universal, perhaps having learned from the “Bruce Almighty” fiasco, bought its very own number with a New York area code. It appeared in the studio’s 2008 movie “Definitely, Maybe.” It appeared in the studio’s 2010 movie “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” And now it’s in “The Adjustment Bureau.”
I just called the 212 number Caro mentions, it just rings and rings. You would think that Universal would have at least a pre-recorded  message about it's upcoming films, if nothing else.

I can see a phone number used in an intense scene with the right demographic (young and impressionable) going for big bucks. I can also see a huge price being paid to have access to a phone number that is used regularly on a soap opera or a night time television show. Once people begin to understand that these numbers lead to information, more and more will pay attention to them and call. Now, all you need to do is start putting these deals together to have a little more cash in your pocket.

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