CTA Tattler: CTA mess gets national attention

It’s one of those things everyone kind of knows but no one talks about. The El system in Chicago is over 100 years old and in desperate need of not just repair but, in a lot of cases, just complete removal and rebuilding. I’m surprised this hasn’t been more of an issue in the 2016 Olympics discussion.

Marvel movie updates

Both Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer have a number of updates to report on here.

Spider-Man 3

FilmRotation points to another new international trailer. This one features a little bit more of a look at Venom in ass-kicking mode but mostly uses the same footage that’s been included in everyone one of the previous trailer.

A number of new wide banners have been released that are perfect for the sides of buses or the inside of movie theaters.

Cable channel Starz will host a behind-the-scenes special for S-M3 as well as a contest and some other comic-related programming on April 4th.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The original movie is getting a two-disc special edition that hits shelves June 5th. The DVD will come with “Movie Money” for admission to the sequel.

Convenience store chain 7-11 is hoping to promote both FF2 and Spider-Man 3 via Slurpee. The chain has created a few different custom flavors suitable for dispensing in no-doubt themed cups.

LOTD: 3/30/07

  • Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer should not be allowed near blog software. (CT)
  • Apple wants you to purchase an album for a bit cheaper than normal on its iTunes store, but only if you’ve purchased a single or two in the past. This after news that the album was a thing of the past. (TB)
  • Engadget’s Ryan Block notes that Barracuda, the corporate security hardware maker, had blocked the server that puts Weblogs, Inc. sites, along with TMZ.com, on its *spam* list. It appears that this is being worked on behind the scenes, however. (TB)
  • Another decent list of suggestions for how to deal with bloggers if you’re PR person, this time from Ben Silverman. If anything, I’m posting it because it’s a good reminder for people to have, since based on the volume increase I’m seeing in my emailed pitches, PR people aren’t listening. Thanks, Randall! (TB)
  • Did anyone notice that Linden Lab had opened an office in Seattle, and is planning space in Boston and England? (TB)
  • I meant to link to this a week ago, but I can’t help but point out this post by Nick Bradbury, where he suggests that people who are into building new things build things that they need and / or would actually use. This goes for you companies who are putting the same crap in Second Life that you could just execute in RL. Howabout doing something that the residents want / could actually give a damn about / would find amusing? (TB)

Friday fun

Via the Chicago Theater marquee generator.

Movie Marketing Madness: Blades of Glory

There’s no one, I don’t think, in American comedy today with a funnier body than Will Ferrell. And he shows it off whenever he can. Whether streaking in Old School or doing a cannonball with Scotch in hand in Anchorman, Ferrell takes any opportunity to show his puffy, disproportionate torso on camera. It’s part of what makes him such a reckless comedian.

That body is on full display in his latest film, Blades of Glory. Ferrell pays a professional ice dancer who fits in with other characters he’s played in that he’s full of himself and not the brightest bulb in the pack. After an incident on the ice he’s barred from mixed pairs competition, essentially ending his career. Until, that is, someone realizes that he could compete with another guy. Enter Jon Heder’s character, a rival of Ferrell’s who’s as effeminate as Ferrell is over-the-top macho. A bunch of jokes about the mis-matched pair and how they have to overcome the problems of having “the same junk” ensue.

The Poster

It’s dazzling and funny right here on the poster. Ferrell is the centerpiece as he stands, gloriously aware of nothing but himself, in the middle of the poster while Heder has his arm wrapped around him sensually. With the spotlights from above the poster sets the central premise of the movie – that the jokes will come from two guys having to do what a guy and girl usually do on the ice – and does so very well. If you’re a fan of Ferrell’s form of comedy then this poster will likely bring you in no questions asked.

The Trailer

This does a great job of setting up the movie and, like the poster, playing to Ferrell’s core audience. We start with both skaters at the height of their games; Ferrell all manly and clueless, Heder very aware and very fabulous. Then they get involved in a tussle on the ice that gets them both banned from competition. Enter Craig T. Nelson as a coach that thinks if they can overcome the inherent problems involved with two guys skating with each other they can return bigger than ever. This leads to what is essentially a truncated training montage followed by shots of them actually competing, all of which is served up with an emphasis on the reaction shots of the pair as they go face to groin and such.

It’s a good trailer that highlights Ferrell and only uses Heder as a sounding board for more of Ferrell’s character development. Most shots of Heder show him squarely as the straight man, serving up opportunities for Ferrell’s punchline. Barring any surprises I’d be willing to guess this arrangement is indicative of the movie as a whole.

There was also a slightly different trailer that featured just a glimpse of co-star Jenna Fischer (“The Office”). It was largely the same footage but curiously has some different dialogue in one scene.


When first visiting the movie’s official website, the first three things you’re prompted to do are to subscribe to a “Thoughts of Glory” podcast via iTunes, sign up for cell phone content (see below) or view the episode of AOL’s “Unscripted” featuring the movie’s stars. Not bad – a nice integration of new media and mobile content right there, before even entering the site proper.

Once you’re in the site the first thing that catches your eye is the “Go Jimmy and “Chazz Rulez” signs being held up by fans in the background. Clicking on those take you to MySpace pages for Heder’s and Ferrell’s characters. There’s another link at the bottom to the iTunes show and another for the movie’s Partners.

On to the main attractions: “About the Film” has some good stuff, even it’s pre-packaged and written in canned marketing-approved speak. You get the usual Story, Cast & Crew and Production Notes features. The Prod Notes dive into the film’s journey from development to casting to filming and are easy to read. That might sound like an odd statement but I’ve seen a number of such sections that are awful to scroll down and a strain on the eyes. “Downloads” gives you the usual mix if a screensaver and some buddy icons and wallpapers. Yawn.

“Gallery” is split into two sub-sections, one for Costumes and one for the more traditional still Photos, both of which are pretty full. For a movie that seems to be deriving so much of its comedy from being outlandish it’s cool that they decided to highlight the costumes. The Photos section contains a picture of Jenna Fischer in something, well, naughty. That alone worked for me as well as the entire rest of the campaign combined in making me want to see it. I’m serious. You’ll find the movie’s trailer as well as the full “Thoughts of Glory” podcast series in “Video.” There’s also a series of mock interviews with skating fans that exist in the movie’s fictional world. Nice touch, and a common one for Ferrell’s movies.

The site also appears to have two games, “Skate Your Face Off” and “Mascots on Ice.” Repeated attempts to access these games were unsuccessful on my part. At one point the “Skate” game did prompt me to upload a picture of my face, presumably to put on a skater, but that’s as far as I got. Argh. I bet these were fun too.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Blades of Glory TV spots have been pretty heavy on TV, essentially being phased in as 300’s commercials have been phased out. They follow the same basic structure as the longer trailer but are obviously truncated. Reaction in my home when they’ve appeared on TV has been good, leading me to surmise (hey, if everyone else can use data samples that are too small so can I) that the movie will have a good measure of broad appeal.

Online ads have been popping up all over the internet. Most of the ones that I see start off as banner ads but then, when you roll over them with your mouse, expand to give you the option to view the trailer or visit the official website. PR blogger Neville Hobson recently talked about these sorts of ads and how they are much better at getting viewer attention than traditional banners. While I agree with him in principle, as a visitor myself I’m more often than not irritated by these sorts of ads since they tend to get in the way of whatever I’m trying to do. I’d rather banners encourage me to click on them to expand, something that would also help marketers and publishers measure visitor engagement and interest and help advertisers better target ads to sites that show higher numbers in that area. I also noticed that the movie’s trailer was running through Google’s Video Ads program, appearing to me on the Newsgator Today home page.

While I didn’t see much outdoor advertising in and around to Chicago, a recent trip to New York City was a different story. Many street corners sported posters, either the main movie one or character-specific one-sheets, for the flick. There was also a huge ad draped from the top of Madison Square Garden.

Promotional content from the movie was also dropped to cell users through a deal with Tiny Pictures. Mobile customers could access some of the “viral” footage, officially leaked and looking like time-stamped raw footage, on their phones.

Finally, Ian Schafer points to a video of AskANinja interviewing the movie’s two stars at a press junket. Just fantastic.


This is a solid, funny campaign that, unless I’m completely off by guess, sells the movie exactly as it is: A broad comedy with Will Ferrell acting like a jackass and lots of jokes about manly men and girly men ice skating. The campaign had great video and graphic elements and, aside from some problems playing the games, a solid web execution. By playing directly to Ferrell’s existing base it avoided becoming something it wasn’t and instead reveled in exactly what it is – which is exactly what Ferrell does with his comedy.

Quick Takes: 3/27/07

  • The Newsarama blog has a look at a Hasbro commercial promoting the appearance of their new Spider-Man licensed toys hitting store shelves.
  • Defamer catches a Rocky Balboa DVD ad on the side of a huge garbage haul. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves, don’t they?
  • The iMedia panel examines New Line’s web efforts for The Last Mimzy.
  • Also at iMediaConnection, Top10Sources’ Dina Pradel reminds entertainment and marketing folks to keep in mind the people are choosing where and when to consume media.
  • Blinko.com will give mobile users access to exclusive content related to TMNT.
  • Warner Bros. appears to have registered a domain for the next Batman flick.
  • Defamer says that convenience stores across the country will be transformed into Kwik-E-Marts as part of a promotion for The Simpsons Movie.

Quick Takes: 3/23/07

  • As the movie in question hits DVD, Christianity Today explores just why The Nativity Story flopped at the box-office. Peter also reminds us that this DVD release is just the first edition, with a new 2-disc set planned for release around Christmas of this year.
  • Jeffrey Wells points to some incredibly artistic Polish movie posters.
  • Specially branded packages of Hostess snack cakes will promote the DVD release of Happy Feet and offer $3 rebates on the purchase of the movie along with a couple boxes of Hostess products.
  • A Canadian film festival is promoting itself using versions of movie posters with slight Great White North-centric changes.
  • Defamer predicts that the marketing campaign for an upcoming movie about suicide, which will feature cardboard characters committing suicide, might just raise some problems.
  • Here’s Fox Atomic’s full press release about the debut of the 28 Weeks Later trailer.
  • James has got one of the Blades of Glory online ads I’ve seen around.
  • Francis Ford Coppola finally has a new movie coming out.
  • Mobile content delivery was a big topic at the recent SXSW.
  • Butterboom has a description of the Gatchaman (G-Force) trailer that recently got sneak-peeked.
  • A new partnership seeks to put independent movies on Blu-Ray DVDs.
  • Cablevision cannot put a centralized DVR system into place since studios and other content creators contend it acts too much like a VOD service and therefore is subject to different rules.

Apple TV success tied to movie promotions

Interesting article over at Bloomberg about how the success of the newly launched Apple TV may be dependent on how many movies it can convince people to download from iTunes to watch on the sets. Part of what Apple TV will be able to do is stream movie trailers more or less on demand. Those trailers need to be utilized, then, to drive people to the iTunes store to buy movies.


Crooks and Liars ยป Tony Snow gets into it With Harry Smith at CBS over the Atty scandal

This administration continues to frame any harsh questioning of its practices as partisan in nature. Shameful.

Thornley on content, channels and more

My Canuck buddy and PR pro (heh) Joe Thornley has a great post up that recaps a panel he attended discussing content programming, aggregation and distribution. Representatives from a number of companies doing wireless, online branded and other new media work were on the panel and there’s obviously a lot of good thinking going on.