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Movie Marketing Madness: Watchmen

0600005030QAr1.qxd:0600005030QAr1The problem with “unfilmmable” pieces of literature is that they usually wind up getting filmed anyway. Everyone, as late as 1999, said the Lord of the Rings trilogy was unfilmmable because of the fantastic characters that inhabited the story and, indeed, the scope of the story itself. Even markedly less artistically ambitious properties such as Transformers have been largely off-limits because, let’s face it, making a 30-foot robot that turns into a semi truck look even moderately realistic required technology that just didn’t exist until a couple years ago.

The “unfilmmable” barrier began crumbling in 1993, the year Steven Spielberg tapped a combination of Stan Winston Studios and ILM to create the dinosaurs that would wreak havoc through his adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park. Since then there’s been an ever-increasing number of fantasy films, comic book adaptations and more that have brought to life characters, worlds and situations that simply would not have been possible until someone ambitious created the software to create the perfect visual effect for X sequence.

Not only have computer effects allowed for imaginations to run wild, but the technology has likewise created an environment where directors of adaptations of other visual media have been able to faithfully recreate someone else’s vision almost perfectly.

It’s the second capability that has been most embraced by director Zack Snyder of late. A couple years ago he used digitally-generated sets and backgrounds to almost completely recreate the look of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300. Snyder was able to create a movie that took the drawings Miller had created and lifted them in incredibly faithful fashion to the screen.

Now Snyder is tapping that same vein as director of Watchmen.

Watchmen was created by writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons in 1986 and told the story of an alternate 1986 from ours. In this world Richard Nixon is still President, having retained power since his original term. As in “our” world, there are superheroes in New York City, but most of these are masked vigilantes with no real powers, along the lines of Batman or Hawkeye. The heroes, though, have been inactive for a number of years, ever since the passing of The Keane Act, which outlawed masked crime-fighting. The only two still active are acting as agents of the U.S. government: The Comedian, a sadistic militant and Dr. Manhattan. The latter is the only truly super-powered of the bunch, a former nuclear scientist who was caught in a barrage of radiation and now is capable of manipulating atoms and other fantastic feats.

One day The Comedian is found dead. Another crime-fighter, Rorschach, doesn’t think it’s simply a random act of violence and begins an investigation into his death, an investigation that brings other heroes out of retirement, causes some to change their relationships with others and generally brings the superhero problem to a head. While this is happening, tensions are mounting between the United States and Russia, which are on the verge of having their Cold War turn very hot very quickly.

The comics series, eventually released in graphic novel form, is widely regarded as a seminal piece of literature. In fact it was the only comic to make Time Magazine’s list years ago of the top literary works of the 20th century.

Because of its rich character development, deep literary references and massive scope (as well as about 15 other reasons) a movie based on the comic had never been made, despite it being seen as fertile ground for film. A number of times over the years projects have started, only to eventually be spiked for one creative or business reason or another. It was the very definition of the unfilmable project .

But now it’s here, about to hit screens as the first potential blockbuster of 2009.

The movie stars a cast of actors that won’t seem immediately familiar to most of the audience, at least not outside the group that’s been watching “Grey’s Anatomy” regularly. The thinking behind this casting seems to be that casting movie stars as these characters would get in the way of the movie and take the audience out of it’s world.

With so much riding on the movie, Warner Bros. has pulled out all stops in terms of a marketing campaign, seeking to create a push that appealed not only the hard-care comics fans that have kept the graphic novel on the best seller list for decades and who comb the story for obscure trivia time and time again but also the mainstream audience that is hooked on superhero movies. Let’s see how the studio pulled it off.

The Posters

The first poster Warner Bros. released made its debut at the 2007 Comic-Con, part of a larger kick-off to the publicity for the movie at the event, about a year and a half before the film’s release. It contained no imagery from the film itself but was pulled straight from the cover of one of the source comic’s issue’s covers, one that showed The Comedian being pummeled in his apartment, the event that kick’s off the story’s narrative.

By choosing an image like this for the first teaser image, Warner was signaling to the comics fans in the audience that the source material was central to their creative efforts and that the marketing campaign would not exclude them. These were the core people the studio needed to get on their side as anticipation for the film began to build, making this a smart move. It got those fans on the studio’s side early, which was exactly what needed to happen.

 

Next from the studio was an entire set of one-sheets that again went to the source comics for inspiration. Each of the main characters (Silk Spectre I, Rorschach, The Comedian, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre II, Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias) get their own poster this time around in images that are essentially live-action (if highly artistic) re-enactments of some of the artwork from the comics. Again, this was a deliberate choice on the part of the marketing team to make sure the core fanbase felt the film was being true to their beloved graphic novel.

The next official poster released embraced the comic spirit without being quite as directly evocative of the comics. It shows The Comedian falling through the air after being thrown out of his apartment window, with his iconic button right behind him. As anyone knows, this is more or less how the story starts out and is the central plot point to the entire thing plays out, so it’s definitely an image that is designed to get the juices of the fanboys going.

That was followed by a similarly styled poster featuring Rorschach walking down a city street, with copy that is suitable for the masked vigilante. The release of the two of these had me thinking they were going to do a whole series like this, with each character in more of an action setting but alas these were the only two.

The next batch of one-sheets was another set of character-specific images. This time, though, it was time to debut fully what the actual actors looked like in their costumes and start to get more heavily into the real look and feel of the movie. So once again Ozymandias, The Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre II and Rorschach are individually featured along with copy that’s drawn from the film’s dialogue.

 

After that there was a bit of a lull in the release of new posters, a lull that ended when the first theatrical poster debuted. Once again set on a rainy New York City street, this one brings all the characters together for the first time. It’s not the best one-sheet in the world, but it does do a good job of putting what amounts to a cap on the poster campaign for the movie.

Shortly after that another version of the poster specifically promoting the film’s IMAX showings was released. This one again featured all the characters but this time in extreme close-up, with just everyone’s head and shoulders showing and Dr. Manhattan looming again in the background.

The inclusion of everyone on these posters makes a strong case to the average, non-comics-geek movie audience member that this is, whatever its particular quirks might be, a super-hero movie. There’s nothing there about how this is actually a murder mystery or how heroes are seen in the story’s world as being oddballs and such. It’s just about the costumes and hoping that the audience sees this as the next logical choice after last year’s Dark Knight/Iron Man double-dip.

The Trailers

The teaser trailer had a hard road ahead of it. It had to provide an entry point for long-time fans of the comic but also be accessible enough to general audiences that it wouldn’t appear too weird and therefore be off-putting. In execution it opted to be more fan-friendly than anything else. There’s almost nothing about the plot that’s revealed – the closest thing it gets to character development is showing the man who would become Dr. Manhattan get trapped in a chamber – but serves mainly to introduce the characters and their appearances to viewers. We get shots of Dr. Manhattan, Rorshach, Ms. Jupiter, Nite Owl, The Comedian and Ozymedius but without much in the way of establishing shots. There’s a little bit of action but mostly it’s glamour shots of everyone involved.

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That’s alright since the trailer was released well in advance of the movie’s release and, most importantly, right around the time of not only The Dark Knight, when comics were on the minds of the general public, but also Comic-Con, giving attendees there plenty to talk about.

That teaser debuted before IMAX screenings of The Dark Knight when that movie opened in July of 2008, giving the flick a big stage to debut on in front of what was likely to be – and what turned out to be – a largely friendly audience.

Interestingly, as Warner/DC likely hoped for, the graphic novel shot to the top of the best-seller list on Amazon in the days after the trailer hit screens. It even led DC to have to go back to the printers for a new run of the book, bringing the number printed after the trailer’s appearance to 900,000.

Following a whole bunch of press screenings that showed a lot of scattered footage from the film a new sort-of but not really trailer debuted in mid-October. It was only kind of a trailer in a round-about sort of way since it was essentially built from scenes featured at the 2008 Scream Awards, where the cast appeared. There were a couple of new scenes thrown in there but it featured the same music. It was kind of kick-ass in the same way the teaser trailer was in that it showed off a lot of scenes that were going to be familiar to the audience of the graphic novel.

The second trailer delves immediately much more deeply into the film’s plot. It starts with The Comedian being accosted in his apartment and thrown around until he’s finally tossed out his window. From there the focus shifts to Rorschach’s investigation of said killing, including his trying to convince the former heroes, those who have since retired, that something bad is coming and they need to get off the sidelines and stop it. After that, though, it just turns into a clip montage with Rorschach’s voice-over continuing. At about the halfway point it becomes less about plot setup and more about showing off the film’s nifty visuals and doing more to tease the idea of a world where the heroes are actually outcasts and not (with one exception) super men capable of single-handedly saving the world.

The trailer recycles quite a bit of footage from the first one, but mostly in the second half clippage section. Still, though, it’s not as if the spot was made up of completely new footage.

One thing that caught my eye – and later the mainstream media’s – during the trailers, as well as the last couple of posters, was the use of the word “visionary” to describe director Zack Snyder. Specifically, the movie is touted as being from the “visionary director of 300.” While 300 was no doubt a great technical achievement, it seems to me that Warner Bros. might be stretching the use of the word “visionary” here. Usually that’s attached to people who bring in a singular perspective to their art form of choice, something that’s unique and interesting and immediately identifiable as theirs.

Snyder, though, seems to have made his bones as being someone who is able to faithfully recreate someone else’s vision. That’s great and all, especially when you’re dealing with the rough and tumble world of comics adaptations, but it doesn’t really qualify someone for being labeled a visionary in their own right.

Online

If you have your Internet browser set at anything other than full-screen prepare for it to automatically re-size when load the Watchmen official website . Not a big deal but it’s something to be aware of.

When the site does load you’re greeted with a profile of one of the movie’s characters. When I visited it I immediately saw a picture of Silk Spectre II, with a montage of scenes from the movie that feature her playing on the page as well. Down toward the bottom of the page you’ll see there are the names of the other primary characters and if you click on those you’ll get the same sort of package that’s focused on them. There’s a good amount of new footage in some of these so they’re definitely worth checking out.

Diving into the site’s main content categories begins by mousing-over the Menu that is placed just above the title.

The first section there is, naturally, “About,” where you’ll be able to read a pretty simple synopsis of the movie’s plot as well as find out something about the creative types behind the camera and the actors in the film. It runs about five or six paragraphs long and is mostly about the history of the graphic novel and the credits of the filmmakers but it’s an alright write-up.

“Video” is surprisingly low-key, containing just the two trailers and the sizzle reel that was produced for and aired during the Spike Scream Awards. This is the “non-trailer trailer” I mention above.

Under “Downloads” you’ll be able to grab a handful of Wallpapers and Buddy Icons as well as all the Posters that have been released. That’s a great addition and I wish all movie sites, especially when there are so many like there are for Watchmen, would include these.

There are a scant nine stills in the “Gallery,” including a mix of pictures from the movie and a couple behind-the-scenes shots. There’s more than this in the movie’s gallery on Yahoo Movies.

The “Music” link takes you to a stand-along site for the movie’s soundtrack . It opens with a promotional splash page for the limited-edition vinyl picture disk that features My Chemical Romance’s version of “Desolation Row,” the song that plays over the trailers. Continuing on into the site you’ll find information on the rock-song soundtrack as well as the orchestral score for the film.

I’m going to skip over the next two sections for now but will return to them later.

“Production Diary” is where you’ll be able to access the blog that was setup to broadcast updates on the movie’s production and campaign. The blog covers a good amount of ground, including news about promotional partnerships and media appearances by the cast in the weeks leading up to the film’s releases and is a good resource for news and information on the film, as well as the Video Journals produced about various aspects of making the movie.

“iPhone Application” is exactly what it sounds like and will prompt you to launch iTunes so you can download that bit of software.

Like the soundtrack, “Video Game” will open a micro-site dedicated to the video game tie-in for the movie. The game is actually a prequel to the movie, set 10 years before its events and before the Keene Act that banned costumed crime-fighting was introduced, when the Watchmen were at their peak. There’s a trailer and more for the game on the site if you’re interested.

That game is just one of the two announced video games Warner Bros. said were on deck, with one (this one, I would assume) said to hit shelves and download stores at the time of the theatrical release and one later when the movie was released on DVD.

Next up is the “Minuteman Arcade,” yet another microsite that emulates a 1980’s arcade video game that features the Minutemen, the original super hero team in the comic’s world. It’s pretty simple but it’s also pretty fun and it’s kind of cool to play a game that features these sorts of old-school graphics and functionality.

I’ll cover “Partners and Promotions” below.

The movie’s Facebook page was actually nicely decked-out. In addition to simply becoming a fan, there were features like an application that let you upload your own picture to the body of one of the movie’s characters, a music player and more in addition to the usual trailers, photo albums and such. You could also visit specific Facebook pages for all the characters. They weren’t a whole lot different from the main page, just with a profile of a specific character and downloads that were solely featuring them.

Let’s jump back now to those two sections I said I was skipping over before.

The first is I Watch the Watchmen , which opens up another microsite that’s less about movie information and more about interactivity.

The first feature on that site is “Profile Pic Creator,” a tool that lets you crop and otherwise manipulate one of the movie’s promotional images and then save it so you can upload it to the social network profile of your choice. Since a lot of people like to do this sort of thing it’s nice to see a tool that streamlines the process and makes it available to people who aren’t experts in Photoshop.

“Site Skins” is exactly what it sounds like, a gallery of design templates for various social networks and personalized home page services that you can download and easily add. There’s even one for Twitter, which is kind of awesome.

“Bookmark” lets you save this site to your social bookmarking service of choice, be it Digg, StumbleUpon, Google Bookmarks or a handful of others.

The next column has the movie’s Widget and iPhone Application in it, as well as a link to the New Frontiersman site that I’ll get to shortly.

There’s also information on the appearance by Zack Snyder and illustrator Dave Gibbons in the Playstation@Home’s virtual world, complete with video from the Q&A the two did there.

The final section here is the “TV Player,” a video channel. The section contains a bunch of videos like a retro newscast celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Dr. Manhattan’s appearance, a news report on the Keene Act and a Veidt Music TV special that’s like a “Where are they now?” feature on the Watchmen, but done in the manner of a classic MTV veejay-hosted feature. All these are pretty cool and tie into the next site that needs covering…

The New Frontiersman.

If you’re at all familiar with the Watchmen source material you’ll recognize The New Frontiersmen as the name of the radical newspaper that’s read by Rorschach and which he sends, at the story’s end, his journal to. The organization has been reborn here on the web with a site that chronicles all their investigative findings and other juicy newsbits.

(By the way, I’m going to skip over the logic of having a tabloid news organization that’s set in 1985 publishing a website. Not going to mention that. Not at all.)

But the main site is only one small chunk of the organization’s web presence. There’s also a Twitter profile, YouTube channel, Flickr presence and, aggregating all that together, a Friendfeed profile.

The multiple social media executions got noticed b a number of people online, including Neville Hobson , VentureBeat and others.

Going with such a broad swath of social media profiles was a fun way to distribute, in a backwards sort of way, some of the associated material created to flesh out the movie’s setting. It’s there that the Dr. Manhattan profile news report was first found. It’s the Flickr page that has a bunch of ads for Veidt Enterprises products and news clippings about President Nixon and more. So by delving fully into the backstory here, the studio was able to produce and show off a lot of fun stuff that’s going to be eaten up by the audience, primarily those that are in the core fanbase. The value for those outside that group is probably going to be limited, as with any other sort of social media marketing, each one of these extends the brand’s footprint online.

The one problem I have (in addition to the one above that I’m not mentioning) is that the pictures on the New Frontiersman’s Flickr page are tagged with “watchmen” and “movie,” thereby crossing the line between reveling in the alternate reality and the real world, a line that should never be crossed. That’s a big problem that marketers keep making on things like this and I wish they’d stop.

Back to the marketing campaign proper, Warner Bros. created a widget to distribute site content as well. When it was first released it had little more than a link to the official site and to Zach Snyder’s production blog but eventually contained the trailers, a countdown clock and mor from the official site.

There was also a WatchmenMovie YouTube channel setup by Warner Bros. Instead of being an outlet for marketing materials for the movie like trailers and TV spots, though, it was used for a contest. People were asked to create a commercial for a product by Veidt Enterprises, with five winners eventually chosen. Those winners got a cash prize as well as a chance that their spot would appear in the finished movie, which is actually kind of cool. You can read all about the contest details in the press release that came out when it was announced.

Just before release Warner Bros. launched 6MinutestoMidnight. The site was essentially an interactive game that, once completed, gave you access to some exclusive footage from the movie.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions

You certainly can’t say Warner skipped on the paid advertising for Watchmen. Being one of their two biggest 2009 releases you can hardly blame them. Let’s try to take a look at the advertising in a somewhat orderly, if not logical, manner.

First up is a video produced for National CineMedia’s “FirstLook” in-theater pre-show package. It largely contains footage we’ve already seen in the trailers but that’s interspersed with an interview with director Snyder. He provides a little background on the story and the characters in a piece that likely did a good job introducing things to an audience that might not have otherwise been familiar with it. If nothing else it does effectively present the movie as being an event that they should consider being a part of.

Watchmen Exclusive
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Central to the advertising part of the movie’s campaign were a slew of TV commercials that aired during just about every conceivable television broadcast between early January and the film’s eventual opening weekend. Over a half-dozen were created, most of them featuring footage already seen in the trailers or other previously released clips.

Largely because they don’t stray too far from the path established by the trailers they all work pretty well, taking different focuses but all arriving at more or less the same place thematically.

A brief sampling:

Warner Bros. also decided to advertise Watchmen online by having the movie sponsor the Axis of Comedy online network. The sponsorship took the form of story integration, with Watchmen being woven into the shows that appear on the network, in-show references that were part of a contest put together by the network and studio.

There was also a ton of more traditional online advertising done as well as copious outdoor ads touting the film’s release.

The movie’s list of promotional partners is, for a film of this size and scope, not as extensive as I expected it to be. According to the appropriate section on the movie’s official site there are just a handful:

  • Borders – Just a link to the page where you can buy a copy of “Absolute Watchmen,” the new hardcover edition of the graphic novel.
  • Myvu – Watch an exclusive bit of footage for a password that, when entered at checkout, gives you a discount off of the “personal viewing experience” goggles it sells.
  • Xbox 360 Live – Nothing specific to the movie that I could find.
  • Organic Coffee Cartel – This one is actually kind of cool. The coffee company made a “Nite Owl Dark Roast” you can purchase. That’s the same brand that’s actually featured in the movie (there it’s made by Veidt Enterprises) and on the site you can enter to win tickets to the movie’s premiere.

Also listed on the official site are a handful of movie sites that ran promotions for the film.

NBC Universal, despite being one of the only media companies not involved in the movie’s production or release, certainly decided it didn’t want to be left out of the hype surrounding the film. The company debuted a half-dozen exclusive character profiles during a bunch of shows on their various cable and TV networks in the days immediately prior to the theatrical debut. The first, about Dr. Manhattan, showed up during an airing of National Treasure on USA. All six were, after airing, available on a special micro-site devoted to the movie on NBC.com. A preview of the profiles can be viewed here.

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Media and PublicityAs I stated above, the movie’s media publicity campaign really began at 2007’s Comic-Con and hasn’t fully let up since then.A core component of the publicity push has been the release of clips to the press in general and to the online world in particular. Not only did Warner Bros. return with the footage to Comic-Con 2008 but in early October of last year they began screening long-form clips to the press. They also brought the love to last month’s New York Comic-Con.

In the final few weeks before the theatrical release the distribution of clips got hot and heavy. There were too many to keep track of but sites like Defamer, SplashPage and IO9 rounded them up as they hit the Interwebz, all of these culminating in the release of a clip that basically showed how Rorschach begins the movie.

One of the biggest questions about the movie when it was first announced was whether or not it would include the “Black Freighter” story that’s integrated into the narrative. In the comic, The Black Freighter is the name of a comic book that’s read by a young man sitting outside a newspaper stand, the plot of which closely mirrors in a parable sort of way the story that’s unfolding in the primary story.

The ultimate answer was No, The Black Freighter would not be part of Watchmen’s theatrical exhibition. But Warner Bros. did produce the story as an animated mini-feature that is receiving its own DVD release. The DVD also features a pseudo-documentary that encapsulates “Under the Hood,” the biography of Holand Mason, the first Nite Owl, another sub-feature in the Watchmen comics.

Rumors ran around and eventually were more or less confirmed that Watchmen would receive a second theatrical release in the summer in the form of a “Director’s Cut” that would add back some of the footage Snyder felt had to be trimmed to cut down the running time. It’s also been speculated that when that happens The Black Freighter will be re-integrated into the storyline. There’s also likely to be multiple versions of the movie that appear on DVD, with different running times and cuts meant to appeal to different audience.

Also appearing on DVD – and through the iTunes Store – were what were called “Watchmen Motion Comics.” Taking the original illustrations and giving them rudimentary motion coupled with a narrator who also provided all the character’s voices, these were quite literally the comics in motion. The first episode, covering the first issue of the comic, was available for a limited time as a free download through iTunes but eventually all 12 chapters were released in the same was a TV season is. These also got collected on yet another tie-in DVD that hit shelves just prior to the film’s debut.

DC Comics wanted to make sure to capitalize on the movie’s buzz, of course, since they’re the publisher of the source material. They launched a promotional site with information on all the available versions of the graphic novel, teasers for the Motion Comics and some downloadable material as well.

The publisher also took some of its other more artistically leaning titles and re-issued them under the “After Watchmen” banner, basically saying if you enjoyed Watchmen you’re also likely to enjoy these books, which are just teasers to their own respective mythologies and ongoing sagas.

The press played no small part in the movie’s marketing campaign, with the film’s stars appearing on all sorts of TV talk shows , a series of collectible covers published by Entertainment Weekly and all other sorts of stories about the movie, the comic, and how groundbreaking it all is.

There was also the little matter of actual reviews of the movie itself. While it appears that early press screenings were done under the cover of a studio-enforced embargo, some outlets decided to publish non-review reviews anyway or give their “impressions” of the movie without going into detail, but since they were largely favorable they weren’t likely to come under fire from the studio.

Unfortunately one of the biggest stories surrounding the movie was the legal battle between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Fox essentially said it still owned the intellectual property rights to the story, rights it had acquired years and years ago during one of the first forays into trying to adapt it for film. The rights were eventually transferred to WB, but apparently all the t’s weren’t exactly crossed, leading to the dispute. Warner tried to have the suit brought by Fox dismissed, but a judge wouldn’t do that, allowing Fox to continue with their challenge.

At the time, speculation ran that Fox would eventually settle for a piece of the movie’s box-office, though the studio denied it would do so.

The issue came to a penultimate moment when, in late December, the judge hearing the case announced his intention to rule that Fox did indeed still retain the copyright to Watchmen. The judge urged both parties to work together on a settlement that would give Fox its due while not impeding the release of the movie. But Fox later announced that it would indeed seek to delay that release, though WB continued at the time to insist that Fox had no claim to the movie’s rights and that it would win the case.

There was, as everyone figured there would eventually be, a resolution that was reached in late January. The agreement appeared to state that Fox would have no active role in the distribution or other facets of the movie’s release but would take a percentage of the box-office receipts, as well as whet its beak from derivative income from the Watchmen property. Both sides issued a joint-statement saying the other side had acted in good faith throughout the process and that things were good from here on out.

Predictably, there were some who weren’t such a fan of the in-your-face marketing techniques, with Joe Crosby saying that all the behind-the-scenes peeks were ruining the magic of movies.

One of the most basic complaints about the adaptation just in principle about the movie was that it’s just about impossible to condense the story into what would be an average movie’s running time. That led to the creation of a petition from fans urging Warner Bros. to release a three-hour plus version that would minimize what needed to be cut out of the film. While the logic of that is certainly questionable (that would also minimize the audience that would find it an acceptable entertainment option) it would also certainly play into the property’s core fan base.

Overall

This is a notion I’ve expressed in previous campaign write-ups, but the current financial crisis has given me a new way to phrase it: This marketing campaign is too big to fail. There are too many moving parts, too many fates that are tied to its success, too many ancillaries that are dependent on this one being a success. If by some chance the fans fail to turn out the only recourse will be to look for government money to keep it afloat.

But what of the campaign itself? It’s alright, if not anything that I’m completely blown away by. The trailers are good but there are only two of them, a seemingly small number for a movie of this size. The posters are good but, until you get the theatrical versions, play a bit too heavily to the comics crowd. That’s not a problem, per se, but it’s something that limits their appeal, even to someone who lives at the outer fringes of that culture himself. The website is good, but lacks some essential elements like all the TV spots and too often takes you to a microsite, something that interrupts the experience a bit too much.

It is, though, certainly a consistently branded campaign. All the elements work together and form a cohesive whole unit, something that’s super important when dealing with a property like this. In that regard it’s awesome and a sign of a job well done by whomever at Warner Bros. was overseeing the campaign.

Other than the few minor quibbles I have and the praise I have for the branding I’m not sure what else I can say about the campaign. It’s one of those that, by the time you get to the end, just exhausts you.

That actually leads to the one worry Warner Bros. has right now, that the campaign has been so loud and so ubiquitous that the audience will be suffering from Watchmen fatigue two weeks before the movie is released. Since there was very little downtime in the campaign, especially amongst online media, that has to be a legiitmate worry, that the rush of clips and cacophony of TV spots and media stories will leave people feeling like they’re just done with the movie already. I don’t expect that to actually impact the film’s box-office performance, but it’s an idea that consideration has to be given to.

Now we’ll just have to see if the audience at large is ready for a new take on the superhero genre.

Oh, and just because it’s not in the movie:

 

PICKING UP THE SPARE

  • 4/4/09: Coffee maker Chock Full O’ Nuts has sued both Warner Bros. and Organic Coffee Cartel over the latter’s Watchmen tie-in Nite Owl Dark Roast, saying the can it was distributed in is too close to Chock’s and therefore infringes on their trademark.
  • 6/26/09: The much-ballyhooed Director’s Cut of the film has begun to hit select theaters, featuring additional scenes and with The Black Freighter footage integrated back in to the story as it was in the comic.

5 thoughts on “Movie Marketing Madness: Watchmen”

  1. I’ve been begging you to do this for six months and I couldn’t even get through it all in one sitting.

    The thoroughness is impressive.

    Stay well,

    Sean

  2. i thought using coffee for advertising was silly at first, but then again, in light of all the coffee addicts out there, it’s actually a stroke of genius

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