There’s not a whole lot going on here, but it does kind of work. The campaign leans a bit heavily on selling the quirk of the story…Actually, that’s not true. The quirk is fine. I think where the U.S. campaign goes too hard in the paint is trying to align with movie as being in the vein of Wes Anderson and other material. There’s no need to make that overt a plea in the marketing to those kind of reference points since they’re noticeable and identifiable immediately to anyone who would understand them. It would have been better to leave those references out, I think, and let them be part of the press wave, findable to anyone who’s searching for the movie.
The formal campaign is pretty slight, but let’s be honest and admit that part of the marketing is only for the slight bit of additional awareness it might generate. Most of the interest and awareness is going to come from its successful film festival screenings and the press that’s been done around those events. That’s where the accolades for Plemons and in particular Shannon have come from and it’s what’s likely turned the most heads, especially among the arthouse crowd that’s actually going to be able to see the movie before it comes to Netflix.
The entire campaign clearly labels this as a Very Important Movie, one we’re going to be asked to take very seriously since it contains lots of important messages. That angle is a tad overplayed here, relying largely on the natural charm and likability of Hanks to temper it a bit and make it more relatable. Still, there’s liltle that can be done to downplay the fact that we’re supposed ooo and aahhhh at everything here, at the triumph of the human spirit and other key themes. Not that those aren’t warranted and legitimate, just that they didn’t need to be hammered home quite so hard in the marketing.
It’s not a huge campaign, obviously, but it’s not bad. The focus is clearly on the heart of the story, Homer, and the coming of age journey he goes on as he learns some hard lessons about the world he’s living in. The poster is decent and the trailer works well enough to get the story across. It comes across a bit movie-of-the-weekish but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.