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Sony Pictures' Killer Marketing Idea

Is it possible to have an immersive, interactive, and on-brand marketing experience without even visiting a Website?

I believe you can, based on my recent experience interacting with the proprietor of the Pinewood Motel.

Here’s the scoop: I’m watching TV and see a commercial for Sony Pictures’ new horror film, Vacancy. Other than the fact it has some A-level stars in it, the film (and the commercial for it) looks like a typical slasher flick. Until the end of the commercial, that is.

Instead of the now de-rigueur Website URL, the following is briefly flashed on screen during the last second of the commercial:

"For reservations please call 1-888-9-VACANCY"


I take the bait, grab the phone, and punch in the numbers:

"Folks, you’ve reached the Pinewood Motel…" says the creepy guy at the front desk.

And I am hooked.

Check it out: 1-888-9-VACANCY. It’s very clever, even if the film isn’t.


  1. John
    John April 17, 2007

    Nice idea, but did you listen all the way through? I’m guessing abandonment rates are high after a few seconds. It gets cheesey really fast.

  2. Bill Sweetman
    Bill Sweetman April 18, 2007

    I did listen all the way through, and I agree that it is cheesy. For the right audience, the ones who will see this film and enjoy it, cheesy works and is the right approach. (Not my cup of tea, either, but I’m not the target audience.)

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