Jessica 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.
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.
“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.