Movie Marketing Madness: My Week With Marilyn

These days we think we know the private lives of big stars. With paparazzi taking photos of them whenever they step out for a Slurpee with their kids and countless magazines, blogs and other publications ready to run them and elaborate on what their entire outing was like there seems to be no moment that doesn’t go unexamined. The audience, in large part, enjoys these looks at celebrities because it feeds a need some people have for gossip and what the feel are peeks behind the curtain.

There’s no starlet that did more to further the idea of celebrity press coverage than Marilyn Monroe. She’s the subject of the new movie My Week With Marilyn. With the famous actress played by Michelle Williams, the story takes place during the shooting of The Prince and the Showgirl. Colin Clark (Eddie Radmayne) is assigned to be her personal assistant by Sir Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and the two become close and start up a fling, despite everyone warning him away from the idea. But he’s convinced he’s seen the real, more vulnerable Marilyn and continues to pursue the relationship to the extent he can.

The Posters

The first poster is all about selling Williams and Monroe and so shows her walking amidst a sea of reporters with cameras and notepads while being guided by a young assistant of some sort. She looks kind of aloof and not all that happy with her situation and so it’s about making it clear that Williams isn’t playing Monroe as some sort of clueless ditz but as a genuine human being, something that may not be as sensational but is more promising from an artistic point of view.

A second poster was a nice black-and-white effort that had Williams striking a sexy Monroe-esque pose, just her head and one hand being seen. To the side are a couple of choice quotes about the performances of Williams, Branagh and Dench.

The Trailers

The first trailer starts us off as Marilyn is getting off the plane in England and attending a press conference to promote her appearance there. A young man enters her life as a sort of assistant and the two of them obviously hit it off, with her using him to escape the crush of her regular life. But he’s warned off from her by just about everyone around him, warnings that he ignores since he’s seen her in very unguarded moments.

It’s enormously effective at selling the movie as the kind of awards bait that usually comes out this time of year. It’s got lots of big names playing famous people, something that always goes over well. But it’s also clear those performances are quite compelling, with the actors appearing to really try to inhabit the skins of the actors they’re portraying. This isn’t a full-fledged bio-pic like Chaplin or others but it’s about a single moment in time and so may have more focus for everyone involved because of that.


The movie’s official website opens with some full-screen video of the film’s trailer. After you let that play or skip it you’ll see you can scroll right or left through a series of stills or small video screens that show off most of the main cast. At the top of the screen there’s also a scrolling series of press quotes about the movie complete with the logo of the press outlet they came from though without links to the full stories. That problem is solved, though, in the “Press Accolades” section.

The first section of content is “About” which has a Synopsis that’s pretty well written and which explains the film’s story very well as well as Cast and Filmmaker profiles. There’s also Production Notes here that can be read on the site as well as more extensive ones available as a PDF download.

There are 13 stills in the “Gallery” though none of them can be downloaded. “Videos” has two Trailers (though they seem to be the same one), a behind-the-scenes video and an extended clip.

At the bottom the “Social” area links to the movie’s official Facebook page, which has photos, videos and other updates, and a Twitter profile that has similar updates. Both are just called “Marilyn Monroe,” which is an interesting little bit of sideways selling there.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing that I’ve seen either online or on TV. I may have missed something but there hasn’t been any advertising that I’m aware of.

Media and Publicity

While there had been plenty of talk about the movie’s production the first bit of substantive news came when it was announced (Los Angeles Times, 8/4/11) that it would be one of the movies debuting at the 2011 New York Film Festival.

A sizable interview with Williams (Vogue, Oct, 2011) was up next where the actress talked about how she very much wanted to play the part of Monroe and how doing so changed things about how she herself viewed life.


It’s a pretty small campaign for a movie that I would have expected to have more “oomph” behind it. I’m really surprised there isn’t more a full-throated for a movie that seems to have a number of strong performances, hits a favorite theme (celebrity impersonations) of awards season and is about a person who still causes all sorts of speculation and conversation. I would have thought there’d be much more publicity from the Weinsteins about those performances and more. As it is the marketing itself isn’t bad, just feels small at a time movies like this can’t afford to feel small.