Every generation of parents thinks they have it harder than those that have come before. We, whoever we are, have more challenges and difficulties to overcome than previous generations when it comes to raising our kids and keeping them safe. It’s harder, we all complain, and there are more expectations about how we’re expected to act, what we’re expected to do as parents and how our lives are expected to be ordered in general. Our kids our more scheduled than ever, society seems to hold us to a higher standard that includes being chauffeurs, counselors, friends, coaches, nutritionists and everything else and do it all with a smile on our face and while working full time jobs.
Bad Moms is now here to throw cold water on all that and say “enough.” Mila Kunis plays Amy, a woman who on paper has it all, including good kids, a good job and everything else. But she’s pushed to her limits just in terms of how much any one person, man or woman, can be expected to handle. So when a PTA event is planned that pushes her over the edge she stages a revolt and decides to stop trying to damn hard. Rallying to her cause are Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), who join her in bucking expectations and becoming bad moms, much to the consternation of Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), the resident Alpha Mom who doesn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t keep running in the hamster wheel.
The first poster shows the three main characters encouraging a huge crowd at an obviously out-of-control party. Everyone’s got a drink in hand – Bell as a whipped cream can – and it’s clear they’re leading some sort of cheer to get the partygoers going.
After that the next posters were a form of character one-sheets that helped sell who all the characters are. So Kunis is “The Fed-Up Mom,” Bell is “The Stay-At-Home Mom,” Hahn is “The Single Mom” and so on. This is always a good way to sell the character attributes of an ensemble cast like this, especially one that’s so heavy with top-name talent.
The first trailer was a red-band version that starts off by focusing on Kunis’ character as she tries to juggle kids, work, pets and more. When she’s at a PTA meeting and presented with a list of restrictions on what should be a simple bake sale she snaps and says she’s had enough with trying to do it all. Bell’s and Hahn’s characters quickly come around to her way of thinking and the three decide to revolt against the system, throwing off their responsibilities and the expectations of those around them, along with their unflattering bras.
It’s a good trailer that shows off the substantial comedic chops of the three leads. In an effort to be outrageous there are lots of swear words and a bit of controlled substance abuse but my guess is that the whole movie is less provocative than what’s on display here, meaning they’ve picked out the key moments to make a big impression on the audience.
A green-band trailer was released later on that starts out a bit differently, with introductions of the three leads that are a bit more explanatory of who they are, but then hits largely the same notes as the first one. A few scenes are different, but it’s the same basic concept.
Another red-band trailer, this one just a slightly expanded version of the green-band edition, hit shortly after that. It just has a few swear words and a bit more drug usage but is otherwise the same thing.
Online and Social
For a change the official website of a movie doesn’t open with the trailer playing in a pop-up. Instead we get a cropped version of the key art, the better to highlight the ensemble cast with apparently.
Scroll down – or use the menu at the top – and the first section of content here is “About the Film,” where you can read a decent Synopsis and view the names of the cast and filmmakers, though with no other details offered.
After that the site encourages you to plan a “Bad Moms Night Out,” basically a call to go out and see the movie with your girlfriends, blowing off the responsibilities of work and family and taking a night for yourself. There are steps for doing so, including the tip to call your local theater and arrange for a large group, and of course a button to buy tickets for you and those friends.
“Videos” has all the trailers as well as some of the TV spots and a special video featuring prominent “mommy bloggers” what their Bad Mother’s Day activities would include, which pretty consistently are made up of spa treatments, alone time and alcohol. That’s followed by promotion of a sweeps encouraging women to share their “#BadMomsMoment,” which is that moment where they effed up and weren’t the perfect mother, moments they’re encouraged to share on social media for a chance to win a trip to the red carpet premiere and other prizes.
The “Gallery” has just three stills from the movie in it. Moms can then “Take the Quiz” to find out what kind of mother they are, the options for which I’m guessing conform with the labels on the character posters. Those character posters are then featured in the “Meet the Moms” section, where you can download them or share them to the social network of your choice.
Finally, there’s a section listing the “Partners,” the companies that are helping to promote the film in some way, shape or form.
There don’t appear to be social networks specifically for the movie, so STX has been promoting it on their core studio brand channels.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Plenty of TV advertising was done that sold the movie in various ways, from presenting the “secret life of moms” to how these moms are going to “change the rules” and more. Most everything uses footage that we’ve already seen in the trailers and sells the movie as a wild night out with these moms, who both love and are kind of fed up with their kids.
Online ads used the key art of Kunis, Bell and Hahn in full party mode, encouraging people to buy tickets.
Promotional partners here included:
- Buca di Peppo
- Icelandic Glacial
So a lot of lifestyle brands who are trying to reach a female decision-making audience. None of the links on the movie’s site go to anything specifically tied to the story, so it’s assumed most of these companies provided production support in some manner.
Media and Publicity
The cast appeared on stage as the first footage from the movie was shown to distributors at CinemaCon. A few weeks after that Bell and Kunis got the publicity tour really kicked off with an appearance on “Ellen” that included a “surprise” appearance by both their husbands. The cast, either individually or as a group, kept appearing on talk shows in late night and morning to sell the movie, talk about their own experiences and more. A bit of press activity was included as well but overall it doesn’t seem like this got a *huge* press push.
It’s super-interesting to me that this is coming out just a week after the Ghostbusters remake featuring a quartet of women. On a superficial level there’s little difference between this movie and that one since both feature primarily female casts in a comedy showing they’re just as good as men at either busting ghosts or, in this case, blowing off responsibilities and giving into the selfish urge to just have a good time. But this one, because it’s not touching a beloved franchise from the youths of a bunch of crybabies, isn’t being picked apart and criticized for basically being mean to their nostalgia.
It’s easy to take some issue with what’s on display here. The language is a bit crude and all that in what appears to be attempts at a few easy laughs. So I’m anxious to see if there’s something else going on in the story. But what I also notice is that the campaign shows the moms do indeed give into their urges to have a good time while not at all abandoning their kids. They still deal with them and everything else, it’s just that they shirk some of the societal expectations while still fulfilling the basic tenets of motherhood. Compare that to movies about bad dads, where even in comedies they often completely abandon their family, if only for a short time, to go get their head back on straight. (I’m looking at you, City Slickers.) That’s indicative of the role women are still expected to play, meaning the movie is actually about adding “crazy party girl” to the list of things they need to accomplish on any given day.