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Molly’s Game: A journey of marketing attribution

Molly's Game Marketing Attribution Case Study

Have you seen Molly’s Game yet? You should. It’s a fantastic movie with a heavy dose of #independentwoman looking after herself in the face of adversity. But that’s not the only reason to go see it.

Based on a true story, Molly, an ex-olympic skier, falls into the world of secret poker games with a very exclusive celebrity attendee list. She quickly finds herself in a world of ego filled, deep pocketed millionaires until she finds herself in some hot water through nothing other than a coincidence in who her poker players are linked to. You’ll enjoy a rollercoaster of emotion as you follow Molly’s ability to be self-compassionate in the face of ultimate failures (on multiple occasions). You’ll leave feeling motivated to embark upon your own lateral thinking and a renewed willingness to fail fast.


Now that you have read that little excerpt from me along with my recommendation to see it, perhaps “influencer marketing” will make its way into how you were impacted along the path to purchase…

In my day to day, one of my core deliverables is to report back on the marketing mix, attributing the different activities to our bottom line. It’s rare that you’ll find a particular medium does not work at all, but instead the goal is to find and create efficiencies by tweaking the level of investment to maximise the best performing mix.

We make purchases every day and often don’t think twice but when I had finally decided I wanted to see the movie Molly’s Game, I suddenly had all of the touchpoints I could recall come rushing back into my consciousness.

So as a marketer acknowledging and appreciating the challenge that is marketing attribution in our industry, I decided to map my own path to purchase from when I was first made aware of the movie’s existence to when I stepped foot in that little red curtain lined room.

1) Outdoor Bus Advertising: 

When this movie first came into awareness, I was walking to work when I saw a very compelling bus advertisement. It was as pictured below. A power stance from a woman who I thought was beautiful and who’s work I admired.

Molly's Game Poster

There were a number of things at play here that led me to take notice of this advertisement, keeping in mind that it was among a sea of advertisements all vying for my attention. It was the combination of the placement, the execution of the marketing message and the choice of actress that had me.

The fact that one of my favourite actresses, Jessica Chastain, was the lead in the role was not lost on me. The lesson here is that influence matters. The brand that I had associated with Jessica Chastain found its way into my brain’s ability to resonate with what was in front of me. How I see her, as an actress and a person with belief’s that I align with (check out her skit on gender equality with Jimmy Fallon) had an impact on whether I would be more likely to resonate with any image with her face on it (if you’re Jessica Chastain’s publicist reading this, consider getting her a skincare gig, I’d be buying those products).

Then there was the choice of pose. A power stance in a unique combination of “business looking attire” and “sexy camisole”. We all know that sex sells.

Then there was the placement. For a movie that is likely to have a wide audience, a mass market placement is not at all surprising nor was it a poor execution.

Even still what I found most interesting upon reflection, is that everything about this ad was about introducing me to the concept of Molly’s Game. It’s message: “There is a movie coming soon about a powerful woman featuring Jessica Chastain.”

That was the message I got and it resonated, but it alone would not get me along to the cinema.

That was touchpoint #1.


2) YouTube/PR – Interview With Molly Bloom on Ellen 

Fast forward to a week or so later. True to my routine of listening to Podcasts or Videos as I get ready in the morning, I open up YouTube app to find a video to listen to from one of my favourite content creators. As a “recommended video” in my feed, I see an interview with the real “Molly Bloom” on The Ellen Show. Entitled “Molly’s Game Inspiration, Molly Bloom, Chats With Ellen.”

Now I get my second piece of the story. “Molly’s Game is based on a true story”. Intrigued, I clicked on the video and listened to the hilariously candid interview with the real Molly Bloom herself.

She was charming and I was hooked. “A great sounding, true story told by none other than one of my favourite actresses, Jessica Chastain on the big screen?” I thought.

Even with the intrigue, it wasn’t long before I was caught up in everyday life again and I forgot my new dream to see the film… until I…


3) Saw a Cinema Preview:  

Are you the kind of person who is always late to the movies and who misses the previews? I’ll never understand you. The previews are my favourite part!! I love being able to see a perfectly curated 2 minute selection of “the best bits” of an upcoming film on the big screen. What better way than to get you excited for your next future date?

So like any other film, I’m up the front of the cinema (I always forget my glasses) awaiting the new 2018 films to be released when I see the trailer for Molly’s Game.

It wasn’t what I expected. Even after listening to the interview on Ellen and being armed with some additional knowledge of Molly’s life, I didn’t expect to see so much of her experience as an Olympic skier. I was impressed and even more excited.

Touchpoint #3.


4) My Own Research:

The oh-so-endearing Jennifer Lawrence has led me to think differently about the press junkets that stars do after finalising a movie. I used to not really think anything of them but now I see past the witty repartee and feel for how exhausted they must be…

Even still it doesn’t stop be enjoying every little moment of the “behind the scenes” information about a star and their journey throughout filming. I am one of those people who attempts to understand the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ behind almost everything in my life, and my appetite for knowing exactly what stars enjoyed about filming my favourite movies is right up there with one of my favourite things to do.

At this stage, I was eager to go see Molly’s Game but I didn’t know when I might be able to get to book my seat. So naturally, I attempted to surround myself with more inspiration and content that would satiate my appetite and enthusiasm until I could have a chance to see it. I watched interviews with Jessica Chastain on Steven Colbert, a few additional, lengthier interviews with the Molly Bloom herself and even the trailer a few more times.

I knew I was hooked and I wanted to see the film.


So when did the “conversion” occur throughout my attribution journey? Which platform helped the most?

Was it the first outdoor advertisement, without which I may not have been as receptive to clicking on my recommended video? Or would I have come across another mass market medium?

Was it the real life Molly Bloom being onboarded to support the storytelling and PR for the film (making its way into my feed)? If I hadn’t of stumbled across these things first, would the preview have been enough to encourage me to see the movie?

While we cannot know for sure, it is likely (as it is in most cases) a combination of all elements that contributed to my finally parting with cash for a shiny yellow ticket to the cinema.

Overall, it is the self awareness of understanding how we are influenced that will help us to become better marketers alongside working with data to underpin, support or add colour to our thinking.

Are you aware of how you are influenced to make purchasing decisions? Do you find influencer marketing particularly ‘influential’ (see what I did there?) Tell me about how you’re influenced to make purchasing decisions in the comments below.

Next up: A marketing attribution methodology.


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