OK, nothing too innovative or groundbreaking here. The studio knows it has a sophomoric sex comedy on its hands and so is doing what it can to lean into that. So the campaign plays up the juxtaposition of all of these life events that are totally normal at 12 or 13 years old happening to someone who’s 30. That premise provides the basis for much, if not all, the comedy on display here.
Moving beyond all that, Fox Searchlight has done a lot of good stuff in the formal marketing campaign. Not only is there a nice brand consistency to all the elements, but none of it shies away from the raw emotions that are contained in the story. There’s been a lot of comparisons to 12 Years a Slave from a few years ago, but even outside of that it presents a vital, important story that has a lot to say about today’s world, especially in light of the violence that’s perpetrated against black people by the police across the country, something that’s in the news seemingly every week.
The campaign itself isn’t bad. There are a lot of good consistent elements here that connect things and create a strong brand identity. Sure, the trailers are a bit overwrought and silly and it’s clear the studio is trying to play up the psychological thriller aspects of the story more even than Rachel’s search for the truth. But what do you expect with pulpy source material like what was used here?
You’d be forgiven you got some serious Diary of a Wimpy Kid vibes from the campaign. There’s a lot here that’s cribbed from those movies, which makes sense given they’re aiming for the same audience of pre-teens who don’t expect much from their movies, they just want something that’s not a cartoon but still isn’t a full-fledged adult movie. That’s an important audience to appeal to and this does so pretty effectively.