For a Hollywood movie, an advertising campaign could last a year or two.
There's a lot going on, and a lot at stake, in those pictures.
So the studios attempt to bend public opinion favorably toward the reception of their movie.
This is why when a superhero movie is about to come out in a few months, "science" television channels "suddenly" start playing episodes about "Real Life Superheros" or "The Physics of Superheros."
These major Hollywood studios are owned by mega-corporations that also own beloved television channels.
So, to protect their investment, these channels (and other forms of media as well) will advertise the film to you in sneaky ways - ways you may not even suspect are advertising.
So when the big movie is finally released in the middle of summertime, you are PUMPED and ready to shell out your hard earned money.
Remember "Titanic Mania"? Between the years of 1997-1998 everybody seemingly could not get enough of that wacky ocean liner that sank in the Atlantic Ocean at the beginning of the century.
It was a media phenomenon.
You couldn't go anywhere that year without hearing about the Titanic, nevertheless the movie.
It's quite obvious by now that much of that mania was manufactured.
The purpose of this manufacturing of consent is to create an environment where people are simply INSANE in anticipation for the movie.
And it worked.
The movie was a huge success with $2.2 Billion in cumulative gross revenue.
However, we're independent filmmakers.
We're not working at these scales and budgets (unless you are, then nice!).
So what's practical in our sphere of influence?
A solid publicity campaign for an independent film starts at least 2-3 weeks before the release date.
The point of starting AT LEAST 2-3 weeks before your screen date (think film festivals, one-time events, short local runs, etc) is because you want to crack the consciousness of complete strangers.
This will require any stranger at least
seven exposures to your ad.
Believe it or not it takes seven exposures before something cracks the noise in your head and makes itself apparent.
One exposure, two, three... it's not enough.
Then the closer you get to the date, you want to crank up the heat and really excite people's emotions to come see your movie.
That week before is crucial, and it's a great time to unleash any publicity stunts you have up your sleeve.