The 40-Year Old Virgin – Marketing Recap

Steve Carell has emerged as one of the funniest deadpan comedians currently working. He never seems to show emotion, whether it’s as Brick Tamland in Anchorman or as Michael Scott in the U.S. version of “The Office“. But while he’s been very funny in supporting roles and on TV it remains to be seen whether he can carry a feature film all on his own. He gets his first chance in The 40-Year Old Virgin, a comedy about a man with nothing to lose but his cherry.

The Poster

There’s just the one poster for this flick but it’s a doozy. Carell looks like he’s just emerged from his mother’s basement full of wonder at this shiny yellow disc in the sky. Since there’s not much else to the one-sheet, just a brief tagline and no other names it looks like the studio is really banking on this being Carell’s breakout performance.

The Trailer

Does the trailer give away all the good bits? That’s always the nagging suspicion I have in the back of my mind when I see a trailer as funny as this. Most of the gags here are based on Carell being a virgin and how he’s going to improve himself so as to be more attractive to women. Costar Catherine Keener makes almost no appearance in it which seems a little odd considering she’s supposed to wind up being a central figure in the second half of the movie. Perhaps someone felt that introducing the actual plot in the trailer would turn off the audience? Better to keep them laughing I guess than show footage that doesn’t come from the first 45 mintues of the movie. Funny but a bit curious.

The Website

This is a really good website. I mean really good. It doesn’t quite grasp hold of the concepts of citizen marketing by including any of the things I keep harping on (RSS being the main one) but it is a fully loaded site.

What this site has more than it’s fair share of is video. There’s the trailer, TV clips, a video production diary there are, by my count, almost two dozen video clips from the movie itself. I have to wonder how much server space Universal had to upgrade to host all this stuff. By the time you sort through all the offerings here it’s almost like you’ve seen the entire movie. Quite impressive, if still aggresively old-media.

Overall

Pretty good, but marketing comedies is hard. That’s because you have to be careful not to give away all the punchlines while still including enough to draw people in. I have the sinking feeling this one gives away too much and audiences will feel disappointed. The material looks funny, but after I’ve seen the trailer and all the video on the website I think I’ve seen the best parts already.

By Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.