Young People Aren’t Watching Sports and News

There’s a new report that comes via Bloomberg that shows what young people are or aren’t spending money on when it comes to content. What they found should be super-disturbing for the media world.

Two of the bottom three categories in terms of spending are “News and Current Affairs” and “Sport.” Unfortunately those are the categories that legacy media – the broadcast and pay cable networks in particular – count on the most to bring in viewers and advertisers. “Live sports” is often given as the reason why many people haven’t cut the cord yet and switched solely to streaming or on-demand services.


So if young people aren’t spending their time watching sports, which is especially pronounced when it comes to the NFL, that’s a big looming problem not just for the leagues but the networks. These leagues may have become more popular with people who are 18-24 now when that demographic gets to be 35-44 and they’re looking for other leisure time activities, but that’s a big “if” and a lot of damage can be done in the meantime.

What’s also interesting is that outlets like Netflix and others have shown limited interest in even entering these categories. Twitter has seen some success with its Thursday Night Football live streams but experiments by other companies have been more spotty and haven’t lasted for very long. So if people aren’t spending as much time with sports and news *now* it may not make sense for them to make pricey investments in those licenses in the future.

And the leagues who dole out the licenses have no one but themselves to blame. If I had cable (we cut the cord years ago), I’d have to choose between any of four or more stations a Cubs game would be broadcast on. And games that consistently start at 7PM or later just don’t fit my schedule, or that of my kids.

And there you go. If you’re not showing the games at a time that’s convenient not just for your current audience but your potential future audience, your lifespan becomes significantly shorter.

There will always be a market for football and other sports. But the size and makeup of that audience is likely to be very different several years from now.

Movie Marketing Madness: Jackie

jackieJackie Kennedy, one of the most famous First Ladies in United States history, has been a supporting player in countless stories about her late husband, the assassinated John F. Kennedy. Now she steps into the theatrical spotlight in the new release Jackie. Natalie Portman plays the title character as we follow her in the days immediately following Jack’s death and the role she played as a country mourned a young, energetic President cut down in his prime.

It’s not *just* about that, though. It’s also simply about a woman who refuses to be bent by circumstances through a mix of personal character and strength and a sense of duty to those around her. So it also tells the story of how Jackie worked in the aftermath of assassination to cement not just her late husband’s legacy but also, it turns out, her own.

The Posters

The one and only poster resuses the initial publicity still of Portman standing in a red dress. It’s a simple image, with just the movie’s title, Portman’s name and that of the director, all against a solid red background. There’s no copy or tagline or anything else, so the movie is being sold her solely on the power of Portman’s name and drawing power.

The Trailers

The first trailer is obsessed with Camelot, with the song of that name playing in the background and frequent references to it in Jackie’s narration. Along with all that we get shots from throughout the movie, showing her in her role as wife, First Lady, media personality, mother, widow and more. It’s all jumbled together to create a sweeping sense of the action until it ends with Jackie intoning that there will never be another Camelot.

There’s no real sense of the story here but that’s alright. What does come across is that the movie features a stunning performance from Portman and covers the full breadth of Jackie’s life. It looks highly-stylized and emotional.

The second trailer digs more deeply into the story, starting off with Jackie’s life as the First Lady and following her through the assassination and everything that comes after it. It presents the movie as a kind of fever dream as Jackie dips in and out of passionate outbursts and cool, stoic resolve, all while trying to keep herself and her family together.

The focus is still on Portman, of course, and she’s in almost every frame of the trailer. But it’s also determined to show off an attitude and look, to present Jackie as a complex character and have the style of the movie mimic what her emotional and mental state likely was at the time. It’s even more powerful than the first for the deeper dive it gives into the subject matter.

Online and Social

It takes a little bit for the official website to load as it draws out Jackie’s signature. Once it does, though, you can watch a video that’s not the trailer but might be one of the TV spots. Either way it’s worth checking out.

The first section on the site is “Cast/Characters.” That’s just a drop-down menu that has the names of the actors and the characters they play that, when you click on one of the names, brings up a still of them along with a quote from someone connected with the movie about their performance. The same is true of “Filmmakers,” which has quotes from that person themselves.

The “Photos” section is very cool, featuring a number of production stills that have been formatted to look like old black and white photos from the era the story takes place in. Finally, “Videos” just has the teaser and theatrical trailers.

There were also Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles for the movie where the studio shared updates, pictures and more.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

TV spots like this one sold the movie very much as a Jackie biopic, but one that taps into Baby Boomer nostalgia, with talk of Camelot and the images that will be recognizable to anyone who lived through that era, as well as those who grew up in its immediate aftermath. Portman continues to shine as she acts and reacts to everything that’s going on around her and it closes with an intonation that people will remember her for the way she acted in this period.

Online ads also used the key art to drive awareness and ticket sales.

Media and Publicity

The first publicity for the movie came in the form of an official still of Portman as the title character that debuted on Deadline. Much later it was announced the movie would screen at the Toronto International Film Festival. With the movie at Venice, both Portman and director Pablo Larrain talked about the story they were trying to tell, what the movie will and won’t cover, the dangers of taking on such a well known personality and more. In addition to that the movie was very well received, with lots of praise for Portman’s performance.

The buzz generated at Toronto led to a relatively speedy acquisition by Fox Searchlight as well as loads of awards chatter for Portman, who won universal praise from critics in attendance.

The movie screened at the New York Film Festival, where Portman talked about getting involved in the movie and getting to know Larrain’s style, finding the voice she adopts while playing Jackie and more.


Portman also made the rounds of the late night and morning talk shows to talk about taking on such a well-known real-life character and engaging in host-encouraged antics.


I mentioned above that there was a lot of nostalgia going on here, particularly to those who spent their early adult or other formative years in the 1960s. It’s tempting to look at that and say the movie is a heavy-handed appeal to those older Academy voters who still wield outsized influence on the voting block and so are going to lap up this kind of story, which directly relates to their lives. I don’t know if that’s exactly the case, but it’s hard to overlook that built-in audience. Portman’s involvement and her reputation is the only thing that might attract younger members of the general audience, who have little to no connection to the subject matter.

All that aside, the movie is being sold straight up as an awards centerpiece. The stylish look and mannered camera work and performances are all put in the spotlight in the campaign, selling audiences on a distinct visual style even more than the story itself. From Portman’s restrained presence and pill box hats to the way the camera frames her in every scene, it’s clear that the main point the studio thinks will differentiate the movie is the visual look and feel. Hard to argue with that assumption.


Natalie Portman appeared on “Saturday Night Live” to promote her upcoming Annihilation but in one sketch recreated her performance as the widow of John F. Kennedy in one skit to offer some First Lady advice to Melania Trump. She also updated her foul-mouthed rap career, including references to the Star Wars Prequels and Black Swan.

After the Campaign: J. Edgar

When J. Edgar was being sold to the public back in 2011, the focus was on star Leonardo DiCaprio, which makes the most sense as he’s biggest star and plays the title character.

To recap (in case you’re not hip to a five-year-old movie), J.Edgar tells the story of J. Edgar Hoover, the man who quickly rose up the ranks of the nascent FBI to lead the agency through much of his adult life. He maintained that hold on power, as we’re shown in the movie, through a mix of iron will to protect the country, a bit of self-aggrandizement and a massive intelligence structure that allowed him to spy on everyone and essentially blackmail anyone who crossed him with the secrets he’d accumulated. Through all this he was helped by his loyal secretary Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts) and second-in-command Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer).


The trailer for the movie’s release was pretty intent on selling this as a personal history lesson that takes us inside the mind of one of the 20th century’s most interesting and polarizing figures. And it delivers on that promise…at least to the same limited extent most biopics do. The marketing doesn’t reveal this, but much of the movie’s story is presented as flashback as we follow Hoover dictating his memoirs to a young agent, the end of his tenure at the FBI coming nearer and nearer.

Another important element is only slightly hinted at in the marketing, and that’s the relationship between Hoover and Tolson. Neither was openly gay, something that would have ended both of their careers. But they nonetheless were extremely close and spent much of their free time together, remaining bachelors throughout the years. There are a couple scenes where they have what might be referred to as a “lover’s spat” though there’s no inclination here that they ever were such. When one slights or wrongs the other, though, there’s that same sort of tension that’s played out.

It’s unclear to me why that wouldn’t take more of a central role in the marketing, especially considering it’s such a well-known part of Hoover’s long term cultural reputation. There’s a scene involving Hoover actually putting on his dead mother’s dress, something that at least used to be the subject of plenty of junior high jokes. There’s no attempt to trade on that innuendo, which has never really been substantiated, and I can’t tell if that’s an oversight in the marketing or if the studio simply felt like this wasn’t the tack it wanted to take.

Overall the marketing didn’t missell J. Edgar. It’s a bit stodgy and stuffy and drags in a few places, but it’s true to the campaign that sold it.

Key Art Key Changes: Pete’s Dragon, The BFG, The Intervention, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Reaching an audience in the home video market is much different than reaching the theatrical audience. That often means the key art that’s used for home video releases is changed significantly from the one-sheets that were available during the theatrical marketing cycle. What I’m going to try and do is see what those changes are and what they mean for the appeal being made.

Pete’s Dragon

The theatrical posters for Pete’s Dragon were determined not to show Elliot in his entirety, instead focusing on either his knack for hiding or the comforting role he plays for Pete. So the poster campaign here was more concerned with continuing the mystery of the dragon and presenting the scale of his relationship with the boy than anything else.

On home video the designers took a similar approach but changed the perspective, showing Elliot leaning down as Pete reaches out to pet him and show him some affection. By changing things up and showing the dragon’s face it creates a stronger connection with the audience and they don’t risk spoiling anything since the movie’s been out for several months.


No change here, the home video cover art of the young girl standing on the toes of the BFG and looking up as a hazy sunset fades in the background is pulled straight from one of the theatrical one-sheets.

The Intervention

Same thing, this is almost an exact recreation of the theatrical poster, just with some of the stripes rearranged.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

The two theatrical one-sheets played up the return of Patsy and Edina as a booze-filled romp, with one showing the two of them riding a bursting champagne bottle like it’s a bar-room bronco. It’s all about showing off the fact that we’re returning right where the series left off, with the two women still in party mode.

It’s the same basic principle on the home video cover, with a close up of the partying pair with the champagne bottle between them and popping while they look ready to get down. There’s not much more to the design, it’s just about creating visual recognition for anyone who sees it on store shelves.

Picking Up the Spare: Moana, Lion, Suicide Squad



  • Disney worked with to create a special Moana-themed coding tutorial meant to encourage kids, particularly girls, to get into learning about programming and software development using the Skitch language. That’s available online and there are going to be special events at Apple stores between December 5th and 11th.
  • The studio was the first to use The Weather Channel’s new branded background ad unit that used geo-targeting to display scenes from the movie that were appropriate to the weather in the app user’s location. The ads led to the site where people could be tickets.


  • Another trailer was released just this past week, a couple days before it hit theaters. It’s not hugely different from what’s come before but does play up the elements of the story the studio feels will hit audiences hardest.

Suicide Squad

  • Screenrant counts down the scenes that were featured in the trailers for the movie, some quite prominently, but didn’t make it into the final cut.

MMM Recap: Week of 11/25/16 New Releases



In terms of the marketing itself, it’s more or less consistent across the elements as to what it’s selling, which is Saroo’s search to uncover his true identity and find his family. That comes through just about everywhere. The website is lightest on this angle, but considering it sacrifices story for a charitable appeal, it’s hard to fault it on that front. The repeated use of the search box in the graphical elements works pretty well once you figure out what’s going on and helps to setup the story. All in all this is a decent campaign for a movie that counts on emotions more than other traditional commercial appeals to turn out the audience.



Disney’s put together quite a nice campaign here, one that hits all the beats it needs to in order to appeal to all audiences. It has a female protagonist, which is great and which will appeal to girls and others while the presence of The Rock should appeal to…well…the entire audience. Add in the heavily-touted presence of Lin-Manuel Miranda and you have, before you even get to the story or do any graphic design work, a campaign that checks off a lot of boxes based on talent alone.



Moving outside that, though, the campaign still doesn’t present anything particularly compelling. This seems like the kind of movie that’s going to fall under the radar of most moviegoers, whether they were turned off by the aforementioned pseudo-scandal involving talent or just because there are bigger movies on both sides of the spectrum vying for attention. There are smaller movies that have received more buzz and bigger movies that are dominating more headlines, meaning this middle-of-the-road period action romance simply wasn’t marketed effectively enough to turn awareness into interest.

Rules Don’t Apply


While there’s very little consistency between the elements of the campaign, this is the rare case where they work better individually than they do as a cohesive whole. So each poster is pretty good. Each trailer works in its own way. And the TV advertising approach makes sense. But if you put them all together there isn’t an overall brand approach that’s been set out. At best that’s going to be mildly annoying to the audience, at worst it will turn them away in confusion for something that’s a surer bet.

Miss Sloane


What I like most about this campaign is the relentless attention being paid to Chastain and her character. Whether in the formal marketing or the publicity, it’s incredible to see an unabashedly powerful and successful woman at the forefront of the story with no apologies or quarter given. That’s a contrast to some extent to Equity earlier this year, which seemed to make the struggle of being a woman the centerpiece of both parts of that movie’s campaign. Not that there’s a problem with that, but there’s no mention of Sloane being held to a different standard because of her gender and I’m kind of digging that right now.


Movie Marketing Madness: Miss Sloane

miss_sloaneJessica Chastain plays Elizabeth Sloane, a high-profile lobbyist at the heart of this week’s new release Miss Sloane. Sloane is relentless and ruthless in how she pursues the goals of her clients, often putting her own career at risk with the tactics she uses and deals she makes. Still, she’s at the top of her game in Washington, D.C. and has a track record of success to back up the sometimes questionable way she gets the job done.

One day a big client comes her way with an important cause: Gun control. While she’s eager to use this as a watershed moment, there are of course powerful forces allied against her. She sees the issue as being more important than her career and so pulls out every trick in her arsenal to win. But those on the other side are just as determined and Sloane may have bitten off more than she can chew this time as her opponents seek to not only stop her but destroy her in the process.

The Posters

Chastain’s Sloane looks down at Washington, D.C. on the first one-sheet, looming over the Capitol like a massive overlord, which is kind of the point. Her character is hinted at with the copy that says “Make sure you surprise them.” The best and most striking part, though, is the black and white dichotomy in the background and how it flips in the image of the Capitol building. That does even more to explain in simple terms the story and her character, showing that there’s a clear line between right and wrong that both parties – her and the people who work in that building – are split between. Just a really good visual cue.

The Trailers

“Lobbying is about foresight” Sloane tells us at the beginning of the first trailer. We see some examples of her work and the kinds of enemies she makes by doing her job better than anyone else before we’re told she wants to lead the fight to lobby for gun control. That rallies some powerful forces against her, especially since it becomes clear there’s no line she won’t cross to get the job done.

Damn, Chastain looks great in this. We see her as a totally in control character, even if she’s still given to emotional outbursts, as anyone would be. It’s a taught thriller that’s being sold here with tight pacing and a timely and gripping story, but really, this is Chastain’s show and she looks great.

Online and Social

The official website opens with the key art alongside a series of positive critics quotes and with a big button at the bottom of the page prompting you to buy tickets. There are also links to the movie’s profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

There’s a menu that expands on the right had side of the page and the first section of content there is “Videos” which is where you can watch the trailer and a couple of the TV commercials. “About” has a brief synopsis and “Cast” has the cast and crew list.

That’s about it for actual content. In-between those sections are collections of images and GIFs that encourage you to share them directly from the site to either Twitter or Facebook.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

TV spots like this one played up the drama of the story, with lots of slamming doors and raised voices. They more or less followed the structure of the trailer, including Sloane’s narration to the camera about the importance of foresight. There was also the addition of more pull quotes from critics touting the movie as a whole and Chastain’s performance in particular.

Shortly after the first trailer debuted it was turned into social ads on Facebook and Twitter to help raise awareness. More video and graphics were run as social networking ads throughout the campaign, right up to the moment of release. There were also surely plenty of other online and outdoor ads run.

Media and Publicity

Press for the movie started just a few months out from release with the release of a first-look still along with a few details about the story. That was followed a bit later by the news the movie would premiere at AFI Fest.

Chastain talked a bit about getting into the role and how she researched real life lobbyists to see how they dressed and carried themselves.



What I like most about this campaign is the relentless attention being paid to Chastain and her character. Whether in the formal marketing or the publicity, it’s incredible to see an unabashedly powerful and successful woman at the forefront of the story with no apologies or quarter given. That’s a contrast to some extent to Equity earlier this year, which seemed to make the struggle of being a woman the centerpiece of both parts of that movie’s campaign. Not that there’s a problem with that, but there’s no mention of Sloane being held to a different standard because of her gender and I’m kind of digging that right now.

Outside of that, this is a strong campaign that has a clearly identifiable thematic brand. Everything here is about positioning Sloane as a powerful and connected insider who can bend people to her wishes with the right pressure applied. The trailer may not be incredibly strong but it’s supplemented by the rest of the elements that sell a timely political drama about how things “really” get done.

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Settle in After Dinner With These Thanksgiving Movie Trailers


Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. However you’re spending the day – with family, on your own, with family but wishing you were on your own – Hollywood has a bevy of Thanksgiving themed movies you can enjoy when you’re home and looking to decompress because OMG mom, would you just get off my back for a single damn minute.  

Addams Family Values

There’s nothing inherently tied to the Thanksgiving holiday in the trailer for this sequel to the surprise hit adaptation of the TV show. But a good chunk of Wednesday’s story involves her being involved in a Thanksgiving play at camp and that makes up a lot of what’s great about this movie.

For Your Consideration

“Home for Purim” becomes “Home for Thanksgiving” when the producers in Christopher Guest’s Hollywood satire begin to worry their movie is a bit too Jewish. That’s only hinted at in the trailer, which is more concerned with showing off the ensemble cast and just presenting some of the more broad comedy on display.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

All Neal Page wants to do is get home for Thanksgiving in this holiday classic that’s all about what really matters in life. The trailer plays up the Thanksgiving angle a bit but not overtly. Instead it’s mostly about the dynamic between Steve Martin and John Candy and includes a whole bunch of scenes that didn’t make it into the final movie.

Home For the Holidays

Now we’re more overt with the fact that the story is revolving almost entirely around Thanksgiving as we see Holly Hunter’s character come home for dinner, surrounded by a family she barely understands or tolerates. The trailer plays up the comedy and the emotional struggle and makes it look like the perfect movie for anyone who’s ever just wanted to leave the table and hide.

Pieces of April

All April wants to do is put on a nice Thanksgiving for the parents and family she doesn’t really get along with. So, with the help of her boyfriend and a few people from around the apartment building, she does what she can despite having little to no experience with cooking a meal of this size. It’s a sweet movie featuring a knockout performance from Katie Holmes.

The Ice Storm

This story of marital infidelity and the changing social dynamics of the 1970s is set around two grown children, played by Tobey Maguire and Christina Ricci, returning home for Thanksgiving. That’s just the setting, though, for a weekend that will change everyone’s lives as secrets are unveiled and more. The trailer is surprisingly upbeat considering the actual movie’s tone.

Hannah and Her Sisters

Two Thanksgivings form the bookends for Woody Allen’s story of love and infidelity among New York literary types, with one in between. The trailer doesn’t hint at that structure, instead focusing on the ensemble cast who are falling in and out of love with each other, discussing fine art and more.


Movie Marketing Madness: Rules Don’t Apply

rules_dont_apply_ver2Howard Hughes remains an enigmatic figure in the world of Hollywood and American society in general, though whether his mystique is relevant to today’s generation of young people is an open question. Hughes, as played by Warren Beatty, is the central figure of this week’s new release Rules Don’t Apply, which was written and directed by Beatty as well. The story is set in 1958 and Hughes has summoned his latest ingénue, Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) out to Los Angeles to get her career underway.

Mabrey is met at the airport by one of Hughes’ drivers, Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich). The two are immediately attracted to one another. But their budding relationship is complicated by a number of factors, ranging from Hughes’ prohibition on employees fraternizing with talent, Mabrey’s devout Baptist religious beliefs and that Forbes is engaged to his childhood sweetheart. All three central characters, though, begin to realize that the rules they once felt bound by don’t apply (hence the title) to them and that they should do what they like.

The Posters

rules_dont_applyThe first poster cuts a very “classic Hollywood” type of look. Collins and Ehrenreich are on either side of the design, looking vaguely toward each other and into the middle distance, their photos washed out a bit of sepia tinge. Cutting between them, walking toward the camera with his face down and obscured by a fedora is Beatty as Hawks, clearly showing that there’s some sort of love triangle in play in the story here. Above Beatty is the full cast list, which is impressive, and at the bottom of the one-sheet we get Beatty’s filmmaking credits as a way to bolster the image of this movie.

One more poster came out to sell the movie as a Hollywood romance. So Frank and Marla are shown in the center, embracing and gazing into each other’s eyes as young lovers do. Palm trees, spotlights, hills and the “Hollywood” sign are in the background to help set the location and the shimmering image of Hughes, his face obscured by a fedora, looms over everything like an angry, vengeful god looking down disdainfully at his creation.

The Trailers

The first trailer opens as Hughes is testifying in front of Congress about his long-gestating plane project. We soon meet Frank, a driver who works for Hughes as part of his movie interests. Frank meets Marla and the two of them form a connection, which runs counter to her religious beliefs and his terms of employment, to say nothing of the fact that he’s engaged. Soon her convictions start to fall by the wayside as she keeps flirting with Frank and becomes involved in some way with Hughes, leading to a love triangle of sorts.

It’s not bad, but it hearkens back to an earlier kind of filmmaking that…well…seems very much in line with Beatty’s output from previous in his career. There’s a lot of Bugsy and other echoes in here just in terms of style, approach, look and feel. Collins and Ehrenreich are the big draws here since it’s clear their story is going to form the crux of the story, but Broderick looks like he gives a fun, loose performance and Beatty is, well, doing his thing.

The second trailer excludes Beatty’s performance as Hughes from much of the narrative, focusing 80% of its runtime to the relationship between Frank and Marla. We see them meet and flirt and get to know each other. There are some of the same scenes we saw in the previous version but this one is much more laser-focused on that pair, with Hughes only popping in every now again, like he’s a supporting character in their story.

You have to wonder how the studio was feeling about the movie based on the dramatic shift in tone between the two. The first one was positioning this as Beatty’s big return to the screen and as a potential award contender. This one though is selling the movie as a period relationship drama. That’s an interesting about face and it makes me think the studio was concerned it wasn’t going to play to a younger audience. While most of the cast is over 60, it seems, the focus here is on the romance that has more potential to appeal to a crowd without grandkids.

A third trailer took a very different tack, selling the movie as an examination of the quirks of Howard Hughes more than anything else. He’s presented throughout the trailer as kind of a goofball, though an affable one, who doesn’t want to interact with people directly, hires body doubles and is in search of ice cream. We see the lives of Frank and Marla, but here they’re just his chauffeur and an actress he’s hired, not part of any forbidden romance.

It’s alright, but wow is it different in tone than what’s come before. There are three distinct ways the movie is being sold, just on display here. That doesn’t bode particularly well.

The increasingly odd trailer campaign continued with a “music only” trailer just about two weeks before release that had footage from the movie playing while we listened to Collins’ singing the title song.

Online and Social

The key art from the teaser poster is used at the top of the official website, just above a prompt to watch the trailer and links to the movie’s Facebook and Twitter profiles. Scroll down a bit and you can get tickets, including through the Atom Tickets app that is all about coordinating group movie outings.

Scroll down and the first section of actual content is “Videos” and lets you watch the trailers, some TV spots and a variety of featurettes and interviews. That’s followed by a “For Your Consideration” section that lists all the award nominations the studio would like be up for this season.

An “About” section has a story synopsis along with the cast and crew credits. The “Posters” section has both one-sheets and the “Gallery” has a few pics you can scroll through and download if you like.

You can get to know the characters in the story a bit more with the “Star Map” graphic that’s next. It presents a map of Hollywood including some of its sites and with the characters from the movie along the edges. It’s a cool idea but it would have been better with some interactive elements to it.

Finally, “Social Updates” has posts pulled in from the movie’s social network profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Lots of TV commercials like this one were produced. Like the trailers, some focused more on the love story between Frank and Marcia while others looked more at Hughes and his eccentricities. They all conveyed the general tone of being set in Hollywood’s Golden Age and involving Hughes and his empire, in all its forms.

Given the star power involved it’s safe to assume there was plenty of online and outdoor advertising done as well.

Media and Publicity

While the movie suffered from some poor word-of-mouth during production, the first real publicity for the movie came in the form of an interview with Beatty and a couple of first look stills here, with the actor/director talking about this movie, his long career and more.

The movie got a nice boost when it was selected as the opening film for this year’s AFI Fest.

With this being Beatty’s big return to the director’s chair it’s only natural that angle be the focus in the press. So a big Variety cover story hit that point, talking to the writer/star/director about the Hollywood system he came of age in, what he’s hoping to prove this time out and his relationship with the material. It also included an interview with Collins about working with Beatty and what she learned about Hughes on the set.


The focus continued to be on Beatty and his career as a whole, the time he took off from movies and more right up to the movie’s opening.


I honestly don’t know what’s going on with this campaign and I’m not entirely convinced Fox is either. The trailer component in particular has such a sense of “Well, let’s just throw all this against the wall” to it that I’m legit not sure the studio had a clear idea of what kind of movie it is it was trying to sell the audience. Sometimes it was all about the hot young stars who might be more attractive to younger audiences, sometimes it was all about Beatty and his connection to classic Hollywood. But if you encountered one or the other and not the whole campaign then you got the wrong message.

While there’s very little consistency between the elements of the campaign, this is the rare case where they work better individually than they do as a cohesive whole. So each poster is pretty good. Each trailer works in its own way. And the TV advertising approach makes sense. But if you put them all together there isn’t an overall brand approach that’s been set out. At best that’s going to be mildly annoying to the audience, at worst it will turn them away in confusion for something that’s a surer bet.


This is a fascinating story about the rocky road the movie took to screens, including some disputed test screenings and ultimately back-and-forth accusations about who’s to blame – and why – for the movie’s failure in theaters.

Bad Santa 2’s Raunchy Photo Campaign

My second post this week on Adweek covers a specific component of the Bad Santa 2 campaign:

Now, 13 years later, Willie and his compatriot Marcus (Tony Cox) are back for more Christmas thievery, this time including Willie’s mother, played by Kathy Bates. Instead of a department store (possibly a reflection of how the retail landscape is no longer the golden goose it was over a decade ago), the crooks have their eye set on a charity in Chicago, though all the characters are still as loathsome as they were when we first met them.

To bring Bad Santa back with a bang, Broad Green Pictures partnered with Kvell, a creative studio based in Santa Monica, Calif. The studio was given the brief to create a campaign that was “as vulgar as possible,” according to Kvell co-founder Adam Rosenberg. That’s in keeping with the overall gist of the story, which involves as much cursing, sexual content and generally hateful, selfish, misanthropic behavior as you can imagine.

Source: How Bad Santa 2 Is Using Artists to Make, and Share, Its Comically Dirty Ad Campaign | Adweek