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Don’t “Live. Die. Repeat.” Your Keyword Mistakes
Even Hollywood makes branding and SEO mistakes. Contributor Stoney deGeyter shows us how we can learn from a recent example.
The Battle For Tomorrow Will Begin Yesterday
That should have been the tagline for a movie whose tagline should have been the title — and perhaps it would have been if someone had done their branding right.
But while you can’t go back in time to fix mistakes of the past (unless you’re in a movie!), we can prevent yesterday’s mistakes from being tomorrow’s mistakes today.
This story started a long time ago with a book called All You Need is Kill, but for me, it started just a few months ago. It was a lazy weekend, and my wife and I decided to take in a movie at the local theater.
While we were enjoying a seemingly endless stream of movie trailers for upcoming flicks, one caught my attention above the rest. It was called Live. Die. Repeat.
These words appeared on the screen over and over as the movie trailer progressed. Live. Die. Repeat. Cut to action sequence. Live. Die. Repeat. A couple of lines of dialogue. Live. Die. Repeat. More action shots. Live. Die. Repeat. And so on.
It worked! Throughout the trailer, I became more and more excited to see this upcoming movie titled Live. Die. Repeat. It was my kind of flick.
But as the trailer came to a close, something really strange happened. New words appeared on the screen. Words that didn’t make sense to me. Words that confused me.
I was ready to see Live. Die. Repeat. But these new words on the screen showed me that what I was believing was a lie. The movie wasn’t called Live. Die. Repeat. — it was really called Edge of Tomorrow.
Wait. What? Is this a James Bond action spy thriller or a Tom Cruise action sci-fi thriller?
That moment, I leaned over to my wife and said, “Big mistake. They should have called the movie Live. Die. Repeat.”
Making Up For Lost Time
Turns out, the studio was listening.
I can see it now. Since those first previews ran, people went home to their computers, pulled open Google, and typed in:
- live die repeat
- live die repeat movie
- live die repeat trailer
- live die repeat online
- live die repeat dvd
- film live die repeat
- live die repeat music
- live die repeat plot
Total searches, according to Google: 20,800
Now, granted, the actual number of searches for [edge of tomorrow] are much more significant, but that’s still 21,000 missed opportunities.
A few weeks back, the movie rolled out on DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital format, you’re hard pressed to find the actual name of the movie on the cover:
Look there, on the very bottom: “CRUISE/BLUNT/EDGEOFTOMORROW”
Almost as if the name of the movie is just another top-billed actor! And if you think that’s not a name change, check the spine. “Live. Die. Repeat.” gets first billing over the original title there, too: “LIVE. DIE. REPEAT./ EDGE OF TOMORROW”
You’ve got to hand it to the studio. Not only was it willing to own up to its mistake in titling the movie, it refused to let yesterday’s movie mistake become tomorrow’s Blu-ray disaster.
Do a search on Amazon for the movie, you get the same thing:
And what about the local movie store? Looks like they have a bit of dual branding going on, as well:
This is in the “L” section on the new release wall. The sign clearly calls it “Edge of Tomorrow” and tells shoppers they can also be found under the “E” Section.
The Lesson Learned
Some may call this a branding nightmare, but I call it getting on board with the branding you already have! Instead of continuing with the misguided branding of the original title, the studio got behind the title that resonated more with viewers.
We don’t always get our branding/keyword research/messaging right; but we don’t have to press forward in those errors. Own up to them, then rebrand and refocus as needed.
Every once in a while, we find that keywords we’ve optimized a page for turn out not to be the best keywords. Sure, they sounded good, and even got a lot of search volume, but the conversions on those terms are less than stellar.
That’s when we go back to the drawing board and figure out if there is a better angle for optimization. Maybe the topic is good, but it’s too broad and we need to bring in some specificity.
Whatever the case, you don’t always get your SEO perfect the first time out. That’s okay. Nothing is perfect the first time. (Just ask Microsoft on every version of Windows it rolled out!)
If major movie studios — which spend millions of dollars on advertising — can learn not to “Live. Die. Repeat.” the same keyword and branding mistakes, then you should be willing to follow their example.
Revisit, Research and Redeploy as needed.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.