Movie Marketing Madness: (Untitled)

Untitled PosterIt goes without saying that the “serious” art world is and always has been one filled with healthy amounts of pretension. People take themselves seriously because they feel that what they’re creating is unique and important and expresses something that is by turns extremely personal and extremely universal to the world.

That serious, serious mindset, then, makes it the perfect target for a bit of satire. And that’s exactly what (Untitled) sets out to do.

The movie follows a young artist played by Adam Goldberg who specializes in sound. His creations are a mish-mash of various sounds, with his latest work ending with him kicking a metal bucket. That brings him to the attention of a comely young gallery owner played by Marley Shelton, who not only wants to help further his career but also has some interest in him romantically. As things go on, the discussion of what art is goes along with the discussion of what it means to be popular.

The Posters

The poster puts the film’s title treatment on the wall in the same manner as one of those cards placed next to a work of art with the name of the piece and the artist’s name on it, a clever concept that probably should have been expanded to the entire one-sheet. As it is that card itself becomes the art that Shelton’s character is looking at and admiring, while Goldberg (because he’s the more recognizable face, even if is is as Eddie from “Friends”) looks at the audience. Toward the bottom the copy “Everyones got an opinion” makes it clear we’re dealing with a discussion of what art “is,” even if that discussion is tongue-in-cheek and satirical.

The Trailers

The movie’s one trailer starts off with it being made clear that we’re in the world of experimental art, art that’s labeled as “important” and “revolutionary” by gasbags who have no idea what they’re talking about but want to sound like they’re on the cutting edge of what’s interesting.

Goldberg plays the central character in the movie and we see that he’s very much the struggling artist, someone who catches the eye of an influential gallery owner, a beautiful young woman (Shelton) who he winds up in bed with, probably something that’s going to provide some of the movie’s story. In between all that we get plenty of shots of artists who dabble in negative space, instillation pieces and other abstract areas like that. It’s pretty funny and certainly shows off the performances of Goldberg and Shelton and is the stronger for that.


The official website for the movie is pretty cool in that frames – literally – the content in the manner of an art gallery. If you mouse around the picture frame that makes up the center of the site the image will move and content areas pop up, but all those sections are also listed below the frame.

“Overview” has a good, well, overview of the movie. It’s not exactly a plot synopsis though there’s a bit of that there. Instead it’s more of a setting of the stage for that story, providing a quick glimpse at some of the main characters and how they’re poised against and alongside each other.

You can find links to a handful of reviews and other write-ups about the movie under “Press” as well as a prompt to follow their updates on Facebook.

“Character Bios” has just that, a history of the characters themselves, though with an acknowledgement of the actors portraying them. The bio for Adrian Jacobs (Adam Goldberg), for instance lists his performance and recording credits to date.

“Videos” has the Trailer as well as three extended clips that show off some scenes from the movie that are pretty funny. There are 10 stills in the “Photo Gallery” that are unique and not just grabbed from the trailer.

Finally you’ll find press contact information and downloadable notes and the poster under “Contact.”

Moving off-domain, the movie’s Facebook page does indeed have links to quite a bit more press coverage of the film. Also there is the trailer, the poster and a still from the movie. The MySpace page just has a photo gallery, synopsis and the trailer.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing that I’ve been privy to, not even a smattering of online ads.

Media and Publicity

There’s been a bit of coverage of the movie, but most of the buzz that I was able to find or which found me had to do with the release of the various marketing materials. There were some other items like a screening of footage from the movie at a San Francisco art studio but that was about it.

One story that stuck out was a New York Times piece (10/11/09) that examined how the studio was getting around the pricey advertising in New York and L.A. – the two markets most likely to have an audience interested in the movie’s theme – by reaching out to gallery owners and others who could host events and spread the buzz about it. That’s a great tactic that is emphasized quite a bit in discussions of how to market independent films; reaching


I really like this campaign for its simplicity and consistency. Everything seems to be hinged on that blank wall that the characters are looking at in the poster as that theme gets repeated throughout the campaign elements, sometimes overtly and sometimes just as a grace note. While it’s not a huge campaign I think it does manage to sell the movie very well, not only to those who live in the world portrayed in the film but also fans of light and funny satire.

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.