I don’t know what to make of this campaign. It features three pretty big stars but it seems like it’s being given a marketing push more akin to something that’s being burned off in January than a major release with at least two instantly-recognizable actors. Considering Reynolds and Gyllenhaal are at the top of their game both critically and at the box-office right and that Ferguson is coming off great reviews from Mission Impossible 5 now it’s strange that the marketing seems to push them to the side as often as it can.
…the campaign never really conveys any real sense of fun or adventure, which is surprising for a movie like this. It feels a lot like the way the Transformers’ first big-screen outing was sold back in 2007, with a campaign that ostensibly is meant to sell something that’s fun and taps into nostalgia but which instead feels like kind of a downer. It’s easy to see this falling through the cracks as it fails to appeal to the generation that *does* have warm, nostalgic feelings for this franchise as well as those who are too young to fit into that group and don’t see any great reason to go out of their way to see the movie.
There’s a lot to like about this campaign. Shepard is charming as all get out, exuding that California hippie surfer vibe easily despite his Michigan roots. And he puts all that charm right out on the line to sell a movie where he has a lot at stake, with his name all over the credits here. His loose, lopsided sense of humor is the cornerstone of the marketing push, promising audiences they’re going to have a really good time in an aw-shucks kind of way when they stop into the theater.
The campaign largely relies on the goofy hangdog charm of Harrelson to provide its most consistent and significant value proposition. That makes sense since he’s the star but it also means that the story is sometimes pushed to the background to more fully emphasize the antics Wilson finds himself engaging in, many of which are presented without context or explanation. Indeed it seems like there’s a lot of what’s on display here is a series of disparate parts, with little connective material.