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Movie Marketing Madness: The Do-Over

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A clean slate is a beautiful thing. It’s something many people yearn for and strive after, the chance to get a chance to wipe away the choices they’ve made and the situation they’re in and start fresh. That’s true for both career criminals – a program called “Clean Slate” forms the crux of Catwoman’s motivations in The Dark Knight Rises – and for those who just are unhappy with their lives and unable to otherwise change their circumstances. It’s an opportunity to begin again, take a new set of downs and take the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned and hopefully do it better the next time around.

The Do-Over, the latest Netflix original movie starring Adam Sandler, is about just such a clean slate. Charlie McMillan (David Spade) is living what is by any measure a pathetic life with a wife who doesn’t love him, her kids who hate him and more. While attending his high school reunion he runs into his old buddy Max Kessler (Sandler) who passes himself off as an FBI agent. He and Charlie embark on a wild vacation at sea, leading to Max decide to fake both his and Charlie’s deaths to give them both a fresh start. But the identities they wind up adopting turn out to be sought-after criminals and so violent hijinks ensue as they try to duck the people who are after them and the other problems they get themselves into.

The Posters

There’s not too much to the only poster, which isn’t surprising since there isn’t a lot the one-sheet needs to do. It just shows Sandler and Spade running while Sandler points a gun at someone off-screen. The only additional element outside of the title treatment, the release date and the Netflix logo is the copy saying “Dying was their first mistake,” which is the only thing that really hints at the story.

The Trailers

The first teaser trailer starts off by reminding us of Sandler’s first Netflix feature, The Ridiculous Six. The short spot then offered almost nothing about the story, instead just offering a handful of quickly cut shots of people jumping off a cliff, driving through garage doors and more, ultimately ending with Sandler and Spade about to do something that’s likely stupid.

Again, there’s almost nothing here of substance about the story. It’s just about telling people there’s another Adam Sandler movie hitting Netflix in a couple months.

The first real trailer is…not bad. We meet Charlie, who’s questioning everything about his life as he attends a high school reunion and evaluates everything that’s gone wrong. He’s approached by Max, his friend from school, who seems to have it all together and who claims to be an FBI agent. One thing leads to another and Max has Charlie on vacation and doing everything he shouldn’t, from drugs to sex and more. When Charlie wakes up Max informs him he has faked their deaths so that Charlie can start over with a fresh slate and live the life he wants, but that doesn’t go very smoothly.

Like I said…this isn’t bad. I’m not a huge Sandler fan but I think part of that is he too rarely is paired with someone who’s operating on the same wavelength as him comedically. Spade very much is and it’s their banter and chemistry here that makes it look as appealing as it does. Sure, the plot makes no sense, but what’s the point in making too big of a deal about that?

Online and Social

Nothing here. As usual Netflix hasn’t created a stand-alone site or social profiles for the movie.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Also nothing here, which also isn’t unusual. I’m sure there were some promoted posts on social networks and such but I haven’t seen anything myself.

Media and Publicity

To try and drum up interest in the movie prior to release Sandler and Spade announced they would be going on a Netflix-sponsored comedy tour to select cities around the country, presumably doing something akin to stand-up as well as other general ridiculousness.

the do over pic 2

The cast and crew talked about worries over jokes falling flat, working together and more at the movie’s premiere.

Overall

God save me I kind of like this campaign. My tolerance for Sandler, as I’ve noted before, is pretty low on a regular basis but this one looks kind of not terrible. Yes, some of Sandler’s regular ticks are on display but that’s part of what he’s selling. To a sizable chunk of the audience that’s what the appeal is going to be: Whatever the story is, they like seeing Sandler’s shtick in the midst of it. And it’s hard not to view the campaign and think that the star basically got Netflix to pay for him and his buddy Spade to go on vacation

The trailer, as the main element in the actual campaign, bears a lot of the burden for selling it to the audience and it does so rather well. The movie looks funny (again, your mileage will vary depending on your tolerance for Sandler and his mocking, smug persona) and stupid and basically is being sold as something you can watch in the background while you’re getting high with your friends, which I’m guessing is very much the point here.

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