According to Adweek, Warner Independent Pictures used Spot Runner, a web-based service for local TV ad buys, to promote the release of 'The Painted Veil' in late December. Warner ran the spots in 18 markets where the film was playing, and tagged each commercial with the names of the actual theaters where the film could be seen. Preliminary research from the studio has shown greater ticket sales in some markets where the ads have played, although the overall costs of the ad buy were comparable to traditional buys. All in all, the move is reminiscent of the voice-tagged local commercials indie distributors used nearly 40 years ago to drive audiences to their low budget "sword-and-sandal" pictures.
There is one point that needs to be closely scrutinized, however: The article notes that Warner had 36 custom spots developed. While the costs of tagging each ad and the related production expenses are probably low, it would be interesting to see what this campaign's overall ROI was when compared to a more traditional TV ad campaign.
In just over two weeks of release, 'The Painted Veil' has grossed $720,000 on 72 screens, according to Box Office Mojo.