How marketing for TV and film has evolved

The rise of social media has led to an uptick in the use of stills photography and video clips to help promote new shows and films. CR examines the impact of this approach

The success of new TV shows and films depends on many things but what can make or break them is the marketing. Whipping up a frenzy before, during and after a release is pivotal in ensuring people will actually sit down and watch. Of course we’re used to press junkets, posters, trailers and some photography. But the increased use of social media in this area has meant the visuals have had to step up.

Stills photography, behind the scenes images, and video clips of emotional scenes and juicy dialogue have become a way of drumming up engagement. “It’s always been an essential part of marketing – especially back when it was the only visual companion along with a trailer to market,” says unit stills photographer Matt Towers.

“But with everyone having millions of devices there’s been a resurgence. A still image can be used to accompany so many things from posters to book covers and coffee table reads of the BTS. Social media has increased everyone’s appetite of peeling back the curtain and accessing that movie magic. We live in a visual world.”

Top: Behind the scenes shot from One Day from Netflix; Above: Unit still from Sexy Beast Season 1, Paramount+, by Matt Towers