A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging; in this case it is for a magazine promotion package. Questions are asked in a group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members.

A focus group gathers a huge amount of in-depth opinions as all of the questions are open. It also produces a lot of insight in a unique way, as listening to theirs verbalize stimulates an individuals opinion, therefore strengthening it. Thus making the opinion a better quality, this is known as the group effect. Also, group members can find a common language amongst them selves and can describe similar experiences, thus capturing a form of “native language” to help understand the situation.

However there are problems with a focus group, although it is similar to an interview, in some views it is worse. This is because it is not one-to-one. The researcher has less control over the situation and can lead to inefficient time use by going of-topic and starting irrelevant conversations. Also, the findings are hard to analyze as some comments are made on the response of other group members. Another issue is the setting itself. It is in a lab environment; therefore it is artificial and not true to real life. Also the person carrying out this research is present so it is intimidating for the participant so they may hold back their responses or tailor their responses to please the person in charge, this is called demand characteristics.

I have gathered a sample consisting of four people. Two of which are female and the other two are male. This allows to me get feedback from both genders, therefore not holding the results back in a bias was, as I would like to apply this feedback onto my promotion package and I want it to appeal to a mixed gender. I have ensured that these 4 people regularly view horror films as they find it the most appealing amongst the mass of genres. I will be showing them 3 film trailers, 3 film posters and 3 website pages which I would like their feedback on. These are the same films I have done my textual analysis on. THE RING, THE GRUDGE nd THE.  I will be carrying out everything in an interview-like manner, but this still allows the focus group to converse with each other, making them feel more comfortable and less reluctant to hold their opinions back.

All the information I will obtain from this focus group will help me get feedback on what elements I should be looking to include in my promotion package, how to get the film to appeal to people of all sex and age groups (of which are of the age of my certificate or older), how I can get more people to choose to watch my film, good and bad things about the existing films, showing what elements of the other film production packages to take on board, what not to consider and much more. A focus group is a great source to obtain information from people in the target demographic and people who are not apart of that target demographic so the people who are not apart of it can express that view and i will be able to include some characteristics to make it appeal to other, thus expanding my target demographic).

Here are a series of questions I asked my target demographic:

After watching all three film trailers, which do you think is the one that makes you want to view most in the cinemas?

Male 1: I think The Grudge is the film I could most likely watch after seeing all three trailers, you get the jist of the film line but it leaves you with a sense of mystery also which makes you want to watch more. However although The Shining is less appealing i love how it starts off slowly and at the end the clips are really fast. It really adds tension.

Female 1: The Ring definitely! It stands out from all three, it looks the most scary! I think if the film is a horror film it should be full on scary, instead of toned down, unless its funny of course but when looking at horror films i always look at which one is the scariest!

Which poster grabbed your eye the most?

Male 1: The shining, I love elements of mystery in horror films. The title is not a give away unlike The Grudge, the fact that it has a psychotic human at the front is able to relate to people who are watching, rather than a monster. I think putting in things that could actually happen in real life is starrier than fictional things. But The ring is also one which grabbed my eye. I will have to say it is a tie between the two.

Female 1: The Ring once again! It isn’t set out all neat, as it is a horror it looks all jumbled and puzzled, adding more horrific elements I think.

What feature of this poster got your attention?

Male 1: The girl in The Ring go my attention, just found it disturbing, yet I wanted to see more! I think the ‘scary’ parts of a film should be displayed on one of the promotional packages as they are the best parts in my opinion.

Female 1: The thing that got my attention was The Shing facial expressions, even though there was nothing gruesome to look at it was equally, if not more frightening. Looks like someone you would see when walking down the street.

Which film website was best to look at? Which one was the most practice?

Male 1: The best website page to look at is The Grudge, just looking at one main image is very conventional and also very effective. I think simplicity is key when making a website for a movie, especially of the horror genre.

Female 1: I agree, even though I would say The Ring website is the most practice, just telling you the simple basic things you need to know, nothing more but a main image. Also, the layout is very bare and only the essentials are present.  I like that. As it gets you wondering why it is and what is missing, quite spooky.

What features in the website made it look more conventional?

Male 1: The layout, as well as the one main image which is a pattern but I think by sticking totally to a convention makes the film look boring like any other film, it really does not stand out. But sticking to the basic conventions is good. I think the shining does what I am trying to describe best out of all three films.

female 1: I disagree, I think the production should be totally conventional and the story should be the element to make the film stand out from the rest of the horror films out at that time. Sticking to conventions on forms of promotion is key as changing it will confuse the viewer and make them question what the film is actually about.

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