Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) is seriously ill in the new young adult tearjerker Everything, Everything. Her immune system is so compromised she can’t go outside but must remain indoors in a controlled and disease-free environment lest she is exposed to something her body can’t handle. Turns out that list includes Olly Bright (Nick Robinson), a cute boy who moves in next door.
The two strike up a flirtation that’s carried out via texting and longing glances through pane glass windows. Eventually, things progress to the point they always do and Maddy realizes she’s only living a fraction of a life and Olly might be key to unlocking the rest of it. So despite everyone’s warnings, the two set off to explore the ocean she desperately wants to see and begin to act on the passion that’s been building between the two teens.
The poster shows off the dynamic of the relationship between the two characters as they attempt to touch each other through the plate glass door, her looking at their hands almost connecting and him looking at her. At the top we’re reminded this is based on a popular book and toward the bottom, the movie’s story is summed up in the copy “Risk everything….for love.” The flowery title treatment is a nice indication of the fragrant, colorful world that sits outside Maddy’s grasp.
The next poster frames the would-be lovers in an array of flowers and other whimsical drawings. It’s not great, but I think they were going for an idea of doodling the world she’s never able to experience that just doesn’t quite pay off.
The trailer starts out by introducing us to Maddy’s situation, which is that she’s chronically sick and has been kept inside by her mother her entire life. One day Olly moves in next door and the two start flirting through the window and via text. The budding romance leads her to adventure more into the outdoors with him at her side, defying her worried mother but trying to live life to the fullest for the days she has.
There’s a lot going on here, mostly in how it tries to just hit all the young adult tropes. This is like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl with the focus on how the guy is helping the girl be all she can before she dies. It looks like it will be full of heavy-handed emotional moments, which is just what the audience likely wants.
The second trailer hits many of the same emotional beats as the first one but is less concerned with selling the movie as presenting it as a showcase for some new music by current popular singers. It even starts with the name of the song and the artist like an old-school music video.
Online and Social
Of course the official website is built on Tumblr, this is a movie that’s trying to reach teens and tweens. When you load the site the trailer pops up and plays. Once you close it the splash page has the flowery title treatment along with links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. Below there’s a carousel with prompts to “Snap to Unlock” exclusive content, get information on buying tickets or “Create Your Own Everything, Everything.” That opens up a new site that encourages you to connect with one of your existing social networks, at which point it pulls photos from that profile to create a collage similar to what’s seen in the movie, complete with title treatment in the middle. That collage can, of course, then be shared on your network of choice.
Back to the main site, if you just want to scroll down the page you can see all kinds of videos and photos that have been posted to the Tumblr blog.
The first section of content in the menu in the upper left is “Trailers,” where you can watch all three trailers. “Story” has a decent synopsis that in and of itself reads like a young adult novel. The “Gallery” unfortunately throws a 404 error. It’s meant to link to the photos that have been uploaded to the blog but looks like they got the link wrong in some way so there’s nothing there.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
While I can’t find any TV spots it’s hard to believe there weren’t a bunch run, specifically on networks frequented by the demographic the studio is clearly aiming for. The trailers were used for ads on YouTube, Twitter and elsewhere and I’m sure there were other paid executions happening, just nothing that made any news or crossed my radar.
Media and Publicity
Nicola Yoon, the author of the source book, spoke about what it was like having her work adapted and being on the movie set as it was filming. She also commented on the casting and how important having a cast that wasn’t all-white was to her.
After that the next major pop was a big feature interview of Stenberg where she talked about the story, the relationship that’s at the center of it and more. That story also exclusively debuted an “emoji trailer” that was meant to resonate with the teens. Throughout the campaign, Stenberg would talk more, sometimes about her history of working with female directors and diversity, sometimes about social media and the activism she’s engaged in, all at the same time promoting the movie.
The movie got a big boost when a first clip debuted during the MTV Movie and TV Awards that showed the budding, frustrated romance between the two characters.
Let’s just stipulate right at the outset that I am not the target audience for this movie. There couldn’t be anything about this campaign that interests me less. It’s…not my thing. But, I’m aware enough to know what’s being put on display here is likely attractive to the teens and tweens being targeted and who might need a break from the computer-generated superheroes to go get their cry on at the local theater. The story of frustrated and slightly forbidden teen romance has been around for centuries, if not longer, and this plays right into that idea effectively.
From one element to the other, the campaign has a nice consistent tone and feel, helped largely by the repeated use of that flowery design applied to the title treatment. The entire push is designed to pluck every single emotional heartstring the audience might have, showing longing glances and dreaming and promises to take each other away from it all. The movie is essentially being sold as an updated version of Rapunzel or other similar stories where the gallant prince comes to save the princess who’s been locked away in the tower by her over-protective father and show her there’s more to life than what she knows. With Snapchat.