"Sometimes I feel like a conductor in an orchestra," says Elizabeth Kesses, UK marketing director at Twentieth Century Fox. While she is not holding a baton, Kesses does have the constant challenge of creating standout marketing initiatives for Fox titles in what she calls "the most cynical" market for film in the world.
"The number of films out there at the moment is crazy," she says. "And the UK is a very advanced market with very cynical consumers. At the moment, marketing films is all about finding really interesting ways to connect with people because you can't rely any more on the old marketing model alone. You've got to find multiple ways to engage them."
That has been her task since joining Fox's London office in January 2007. In the run-up to the release of Fantastic Four: Rise Of the Silver Surfer, Kesses and her team installed a 100-foot replica of the Surfer on the London Eye - the first time anything had been attached to the landmark. Then in July, a viral marketing campaign for The Simpsons Movie - including a giant chalk drawing of Homer carved next to the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset - helped contribute to its $27.7m opening weekend in the UK.
Kesses moved to Fox from brand-building consultancy The Ingram Partnership, which was appointed as Fox's European media strategy agency in 2004. Before that, she was at another London-based media agency, Unity, where she worked with Lucasfilm on the release of Star Wars: Episode I, II and III.
"It was inevitable I'd end up at Fox because I have such great relationships with everyone here," says Kesses. "There is a clear cultural vision here and we are given the opportunity to input very early in the production and marketing process." Kesses reports to managing director Ian George.
As with anyone involved in entertainment marketing, she knows it is tough. "I worry about the consumer having so much to choose from - not just film but computer games, television, HD TV. There's a lot of choice and we need to create a distinct brand identity for each film and communicate it in ways that outshine the competition."
She adds that partnerships with digital and other media owners are an increasingly appealing way to get through to the UK consumer, but "only when there is a massive synergy between the brand and the film".
Kesses and her team are now working up to Fox's UK Christmas launch of the part-animated Alvin And The Chipmunks.
"Alvin wasn't as big in the UK as it was in the US, so the key hook is the singing chipmunks. We saw in research that the squeaking sounds transfix kids and teens, so we are using audio formats such as Bluetooth, radio and online to get the sonic identity played in schoolgrounds before kids break up."