HOUSE OF WAX
Worst. Five minutes. Ever.
So I listened to Paris Hilton’s podcast which is (at least it’s supposed to be) part of the marketing push for her upcoming flick House of Wax. There’s only one problem: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FRIGGIN’ MOVIE!
Here’s a quick run-down of the contents of Paris’ foray into podcasting:
- Goofy, science filmstrip-esque music a’la The Osbornes, complete with yapping dog.
- Paris’ opinions on David Letterman and the Ed Sullivan Theater. (He’s great and is super nice. It’s dingy. Now we know.)
- Paris complains about the hell that is a publicity tour. This is obviously because the rest of her life is overly stressful.
- She then leaves the microphone after 1:40 and we get a repeat of the kitchy music. Is that as long as she can sit still for?
- Audio of Paris cooing over her dog who is “so spoiled” and then she goes outside to meet her fans. Actually this is just her fans and paparazzi screaming “Paris! PARIS!!!!!” over and over again. This goes on for over a minute.
- More music.
A five-minute and two-secons podcast ladies and gentlemen, during which the movie this is ostensibly helping to promote gets mentioned once. Ultimately this is just part of the masturbatory relationship the media has with this woman-child. She loves to hear her own voice and see her face on TV/movie screens and the media is more than happy to allow her to exploit their resources since they lack for anything substantive to cover.
You can read my full recap of the marketing campaign for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy at Film Threat.
It’s been a twenty year journey for “The Hitchhiker’s Guide” to get to the big screen. Adams himself says in the introduction to a collection of the first four books that he had been working on it in 1985. Just a few years ago it looked like it was going to happen with Jay Roach of Austin Powers infamy in the director’s chair. Prior to that the adaptation had gone through a number of hands, most of which were attached to filmmakers. Those filmmakers ultimately decided to do other things and the movie never, as you may have noticed, got made. Until now.
Disney (perhaps the last company I would have chosen for the adaptation of book filled with very dry and very British humor) finally got the movie made. Their first obstacle was the material itself. How does a movie studio, which not only embraces but actually runs to with open arms and heaving breast the lowest common denominator, film a book filled with very dry, very British humor? After all, their primary audience is a bunch of ape-descended primitives who still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. And American ape-descended primitives at that. The answer to that question remains to be seen in its entirety.
The second obstacle is marketing said adaptation in such a way as to accomplish two simultaneous yet possibly mutually exclusive goals. Goal #1: Ensure fans of the book, who rival “Lord of the Rings” fanatics for the devotion to the source material, will be satisfied and therefore spend heaps of money at the theater and DVD store. Goal #2: Make sure the material is dumbed-down enough to appeal to those who aren’t familiar with the books because quite frankly those British tend to be too intelligent with their humor. These people are probably going to be happier with “XxX: State of the Union” and really should be written off. It’d be better for everyone.
Over at his site Ryan Anderson goes on a little mini-rant:
I’m getting sick of hearing “#1 Movie in America” in tv spots. Over the past 4 weeks, 4 different movies have been #1. And over the next 4 weeks, 4 different movies will be #1 (likely anyway). Will there be a movie between now and the end of the summer that stays on top for more than a week? I think so. Will there be more than one? Will the new STAR WARS have enough staying power to hold off Adam Sandler’s remake of THE LONGEST YARD?
But Ryan, don’t you know that’s an essential part of the marketing mix? Hyperbole, no matter how transparent, is necessary. I’m not saying it does any good since movies seem to live and die on word of mouth after their opening weekend, but it is necessary for the marketing team to produce these spots. That way they can add a promotion for the “#1” movie in America to their own portfolio and can pull that out when they’re looking for another job.
Seriously, my belief is that everyone knows that the “#1” ads don’t really do anything. We’ve seen time and time again that the most vacuous critically lambasted piece of shit can be the number one movie in the country on its opening weekend. The real purpose of these is for the studios to pat themselves on the back.
I also think that these promos are produced before opening weekend and then are aired simply to justify the cost of creating them. There’s no other reason for it. True, there are some lemmings in the audience who will say, “___ was the number one movie this weekend? It must be great and I will go see it immediately.” Those people are also swayed by ads for the leading toothpaste, cereal and laundry detergent despite research showing brand loyalty is created at a young age and continues into adulthood.
My advice is to let the “#1” ads fade into the white noise that permeates most programming.
*If America is defined to only include my office cubicle.
You can read my recap of the marketing campaign for The Interpreter at Film Threat.
Nicole Kidman teaming up with Sean Penn, who has emerged as one of the finest actors of this generation after narrowly avoiding becoming typecast as Spicoli for life seemed very interesting to me. Couple that with the direction of Sydney “Really, I realize ‘Random Hearts’ was a mistake” Pollack and you have the foundation for a pretty decent movie.
I contributed a few lines to this look by the FilmThreat staff at this summer’s raft of big-budget silliness. Surf on over and see cheap one-liners from myself, Pete Vondar Haar, Eric Campos and others.
Promotional Blogs on the Rise
This article from ClickZ makes its point rather well: Marketers are increasingly successful at luring consumers into participating in a campaign. That could take the form of directing the consumer to a blog (or other website), call a number or some other interactive experience. It’s great and more power to them.
I will disagree with Tessa Wegert, the writer, on the power of vlogs. As I mentioned in my Emerging Technology piece, video is – for the time being – a non-portable medium. Unless you’ve hacked your PSP and can put a vlog or other video file on it you can’t watch a video on the train or while on a weekend drive. I think it’s great that high-profile studio releases such as Jackson’s King Kong and Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns are providing these interviews, set glimpses and more in the videos but that format is still only going to have limited reach.
Let’s not rush to vlogs too quickly or we will overlook the potentials podcasting and other audio marketing have. First and foremost there’s portability. There’s also the issue of sharing. It’s easy to make a permanent copy of an audio file that is compatible wherever you might need to take it (in the form of a CD). If you create a CD-R with the video file on it you have to worry about software compatability and such.
Superhero Hype! – The latest superhero movie news and rumors
Warner Bros. is cross-promoting the upcoming Batman Begins by placing ads for it in their Matrix Online game. So much is made of companies buying rights to advertise in platform-based games, this is a great way to use intracompany relationships to their benefit.
Theoretically they could even change the ads as time goes on. After Batman Begins has come and gone they could change this to a Superman Returns ad and so on and so forth.
Vintage Movie Ads from Nostalgiaville
Check out these vintage movie ads from 1914 on. These are fantastic to view as a history lesson and track the progression from ads being movie theater based to movie based. Since studios use to own their own theater chains they had just as much money to make at their own palaces as from the movies themselves.
(Thanks to FilmRot for the heads-up.)
Hacking NetFlix : Netflix Marketing Theatrical Releases to Customers
This is an interesting development in the marketing of new movies. Essentially studios are buying the database developed and maintained by NetFlix of what their customers have rented and deciding which new releases they would be inclined to see. The studios are then sending them targeted marketing messages for those flicks. Very interesting.
You can read my recap of the marketing campaign for Sahara at Film Threat.
“Sahara” tells the story of… look, does it really matter? Present Maguffin. Insert unassuming hero-type into mythical/mystical/historical premise amongst exotic locales. Turn on Apple II-E to handle CGI. Don’t worry about script (indeed some recent movies seem to be actively avoiding scripts). Stir.