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Did You Catch the SEO Mistake from Warner Bros. Last Week?
Kate Gingold
/ Categories: The Sprocket Report

Did You Catch the SEO Mistake from Warner Bros. Last Week?

The Sprocket Report

Say you want people to come see the movie that cost you $97 million to produce. Digital marketing is all the rage, you hear, so why wouldn’t you make sure you are doing the best digital marketing you possibly can? Here’s what we all can learn from the stumble at Warner Bros..

Until February 6, Warner Bros. was promoting a film called “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” – you may have seen a preview for it. The film was scheduled for release on February 7, by which time it had been renamed “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.” The reason? Because movie-goers searching online couldn’t find the film and when they couldn’t find it, they weren’t buying tickets. 

Two marketing rules were broken before the release, namely: 1) Embrace the brand and 2) Optimize for search. Let’s look at how these oopsies missed the mark so we can do better with our own marketing. 

Embrace the Brand

This film is based on a comic book. While women certainly read comic books and watch comic book-based movies, the statistics prove that this audience is still male-dominated.Yes, it features an impressive female cast and was created by a primarily female crew, but the stats don’t lie. Instead of wishful thinking, it’s best to accept what is and build on that audience. 

Also, while the Birds of Prey are familiar characters to comic book readers, this movie really is derived from the breakout success of Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad.” Film-goers unfamiliar with the comic book series liked Harley Quinn in the movie. They wanted to see more Harley Quinn. They heard there was a new Harley Quinn movie. But how were they supposed to know that “Birds of Prey” is that Harley Quinn movie if her name isn’t right up front? 

Optimize for Search

Of course we at Sprocket Websites have been talking about SEO since forever and we have often shared the basic steps:  

  • You learn what words people use to find what you are offering. 
  • You use those words in your digital content. 
  • You especially put those words into the headlines and first paragraphs of your content so that both search robots and real people get connected to your content right away. 

With a title like “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” someone searching for the new Harley Quinn movie is going to be challenged. Worse, because it’s such a long title, some theater websites or reviewing sites couldn’t display the entire title and the most important search term, “Harley Quinn,” was left off entirely. Yes, Warner Bros. changed the title, but they couldn’t update all the websites that had already posted the first one. 

Experts estimate that the marketing budget for this film is somewhere around $125 million. You probably don’t have that kind of budget, but that makes doing your digital marketing efficiently even more important. Learn from Warner Bros. mistakes and remember to embrace your brand and optimize for search engine visibility. If you’d prefer to delegate these tasks, give us a call. We’re happy to help you make the most of your online presence. 

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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