Blog, business, graphic design, post production for film and video

Case Study: The Fair Trade movie online branding, part 3

Retail Search

The Fair Trade movie Google product searchRetail search is incredibly successful given that the movie is pre-order only as of November 1: “the fair trade”, fair trade movie, fair trade film, fair trade documentary all showed TFT in a top-5 spot (interestingly with different retailers for each search term combination). Additionally search rankings on Google have changed every day, even for the same search terms. Either this is due to Google changing their algorithm or retail databases changing daily. Either way, we have no control over this aspect of the seach milieu.

Retail Channels

The Fair Trade movie at Amazon screenshotThanks to the partnership with Ryko and FilmBaby, TFT has found its way into most online retailer databases, although it is hard to find in some (Target) and not at all in the largest (Walmart).

Challenges: ensuring that database information (directed by, etc.) is correct across all retailers; supporting the release; encouraging user ratings amongst those who have already seen the movie.

Image Search

Although we have not successfully made our photography lucrative to Google’s image search engine, Flickr pulls our keyword-laced photos to the top for the following search terms: fair trade movie, fair trade documentary, and fair trade film.

We are unsure of the continued necessity of trying for ubiquity on image search; however, all images used on the blog will continue to be uploaded through Flickr so that they will be indexed separately with keywords.

Overall, although we are novices at search, 90% of the traffic to the website is coming from search engines. Therefore, we are confident that we are on the right track with search engines, keywords, and optimization.

In part four: Social Networking, online video, and the future.

Blog, business, graphic design, post production for film and video

Case Study: The Fair Trade movie online branding, part 2

Website Traffic

The Fair Trade movie site stats screenshotAfter the initial buzz surrounding the premiere in January 2008, traffic to the site leveled off around 1500 visitors a month. The average user viewed two pages on the site, with the second page after the homepage most often being navigating to the trailer or music clips.

After the redesign and accompanying back-end optimization strategies, viewership jumped by another 500 viewers in October 2008. It will be interesting to see if the redesigned site and enhanced coding will make that number rise, or if it is a bounce. Also interesting will be to see how much cross-traffic there will be between the new retail channels and the website.

Blog Traffic

The Fair Trade movie blog stats screenshotThe blog started small, with less than 1,000 people viewing it in each of the first two months. The slow start was unsurprising due to the fact that there were only a few posts and even fewer links to other sites and blogs. As the blog matured and gained links in search engines and social linking sites (Digg, Technorati, etc.) the viewership of the blog skyrocketed, with over 6,000 viewers accessing the site in October 2008.

The challenge for the future of the blog is ascertaining how to monetize the impact of the blog — converting blog-views into sales.

Search Engines

The Fair Trade movie Google search resultsThe Fair Trade movie now occupies the top spot on Google for the following search terms: fair trade movie, fair trade film, “the fair trade movie”, “fair trade movie”; and top-10 spots for the following search terms: “the fair trade”, Lauralee Farrer, fair trade documentary.

On YouTube, The Fair Trade has top-5 placement for the following search terms: fair trade movie, fair trade film. (Unfortunately, the search for fair trade documentary sends us to a video on the premiere that was not produced by BH.) The trailer has been viewed over 600 times on YouTube alone. (Interestingly, the Lauren clip has been viewed over 600 times [more than the trailer] — maybe because she is romantically involved with Seth Rogen.)

This positions The Fair Trade as the first and most important film dealing with the subject of fair trade, an enormous success. The credit for this success must go to Lauralee for naming the movie The Fair Trade — every keyword you are looking for right in the movie title.

Tomorrow: retail search and retail channel saturation

Blog, business, graphic design, post production for film and video

Case Study: The Fair Trade movie online branding, part 1


Online marketing for the documentary was ramped up around November-December 2007, in anticipation of a January 2008 premiere for The Fair Trade. Since then dozens of screenings have taken place, countless smaller-scale screenings have occurred, and the film has shown at several festivals. Fortuitously, FilmBaby inked a partnership with Ryko Distribution that we were able to exploit to move TFT into retail channels.
Every step of the process of rollout, screening, and distribution, has been documented online through blogs, a re-designed website, and presence on several social networking sites. Through a continued attention to these avenues, TFT’s online buzz continues to grow. For a very small amount of money, we have achieved an incredible level of online recognition. This movie is a textbook case on how to accomplish online promotion of a small movie with almost no budget.


Moving forward, several challenges remain. As the DVD rolls into retail channels in November, some amount of support or marketing should accompany the release date. Additionally, attention needs to be paid to how best to boost 1) sales and 2) user ratings on each of the retail sites. We would like to see a continued increase in web traffic to the blog, website, and then move each of those visits to a sale.

Finally, a long-term online strategy needs to be envisioned: will the website stay up indefinitely? Should the blog have a termination-date, or transition to a multi-user forum instead of the blog? How can we best market the movie in the long-term, with a minimum of involvement from the BH team? These questions will need to be addressed as the online presence for the film moves into maturity.

The Website

The Fair Trade movie homepage screenshotA successful website was launched in Q4 2007, designed by Travis Hardy, that supported the rollout of the film in Q1 2008. With the maturation of the movie and the impending DVD rollout, the site was redesigned in September 2008, integrating new reviews, festival announcements, additional video content, and the integration of social networking tie-ins to maximize the movie’s (and site’s) exposure.

In the beginning, the site was the primary online method for disseminating information about the movie. As time goes on, the site’s function will change to be that of secondary “repository” of rich media and static content; dynamic content will be added to the blog and social networks.

Nevertheless, the website has been an excellent marketing tool.

Tomorrow: website traffic, blog traffic, and search engine optimization (SEO).