Stephen King and Movie Trailers

My latest post over at Adfreak looks at how despite being a well-known author, the movies based on his work haven’t always used Stephen King’s name as a major selling point:

King is a household name, with his books gracing many a family trip to the beach for the weekend. To date, there have been over 60 feature-film adaptations of novels, novellas or short stories from the author, along with dozens of retellings on TV. That number will grow even before the end of the year, with a new version of It (previously adapted as a TV mini-series in 1990) coming to theaters and Netflix releasing an adaptation of Gerald’s Game.

So, with King working hard to keep his name and work at the top of the pop-culture pile, it’s a good time to look back at how that name has been used in the marketing for just a handful of previous movies based on his writings.

Source: How Movies Made From Stephen King Books Have Been Marketed Through the Years – Adweek

Marketing Endings When Nothing Really Ends


My latest post at Adweek is about the marketing of The War For The Planet Of The Apes and Hollywood’s rule about how nothing can ever really end:

There’s an unwritten rule in Hollywood—or it may actually be written down, considering how pervasive it is—that nothing can ever end. Franchises built on existing intellectual property, whether adapted from previous media or sprung wholly on film, are the key to success, according to the big movie studios.

Not only can the marketing never tell the audience this is the last time they’ll see these characters (they may not feel it’s worth the effort), but you have to actively take the opposite approach and make every movie a small part of a bigger picture. It’s an approach perfected by Marvel Studios, and since used in the campaigns for The Mummy, King Arthur and other movies, though those efforts have largely failed to launch.

Source: How Hollywood Markets Final Chapters in a World Where Nothing Can Ever End – Adweek

Spider-Man: Homecoming’s DIY Influencer Campaign

My latest for Adfreak covers a campaign for Spider-Man: Homecoming that enlisted a number of YouTube stars to create their own Spidey costume:

To return to that handmade concept, Sony Pictures reached out to digital content agency Portal A, which launched the Spider-Man DIY campaign. The agency was tasked by Sony to produce a video that was focused on the costume, and so Portal A recruited a number of YouTube stars, including RoxyRocksTV, AWE me, RobotUnderdog2, TechnoBuffalo and Professor Pincushion.

Those stars were brought to a special “Spidey Lab,” created by the agency, and given the job of creating their own Spider-Man suit. The five influencers were brought into the custom-built design studio at YouTube’s L.A. headquarters, stocked via a partnership with Goodwill, and given access to whatever materials they needed to bring their vision to life. At the same time, fans on Twitter were asked to submit their own custom Spider-Man suit designs using the #SpiderManDIY hashtag for a chance to win a trip to the movie’s world premiere.

Source: Spider-Man Now Has a High-Tech Suit, but This Influencer Campaign for the Movie Went Pure DIY – Adweek

Trailers Giving Us Emotions

My latest at Adfreak looks at the emotional journey the trailers for some recent and upcoming movies have taken audiences on:

We’re supposed to feel the journey of that older woman struggling with arthritis when all she wants is to go outside and play wiffle ball with her grandson. We’re supposed to invest deeply in the story of the man who struggles to find just the right kind of paint with which to complete his weekend renovation. We’re supposed to cry at the dog that delivers the letter from the wounded soldier to his pregnant wife just in time for Christmas Day. Those emotional connections are supposed to make the audience more likely to feel positively toward the brand doing the advertising, and therefore more likely to select it the next time an opportunity comes up.

The same is true of movie trailers. Whether it’s making us laugh, making us tense up with anticipation, or feel a tingle at the heroic adventures depicted, we’re meant to get charged up. Those teasers are designed to use the 90 to 150 seconds available to them to sell us the premise, introduce the characters and outline the story, all in a way that hits some emotional chord. And that is meant to motivate the audience to go to the theater, make a purchase on iTunes/Amazon or subscribe to Netflix.

Source: All the Feels: How the Trailers for This Summer’s Movies Break Down Emotionally – Adweek

Wonder Woman’s Marketing Conundrum

My latest post at Adfreak uses the recent controversy about how much Warner Bros. is – or isn’t – putting forth a full effort for the upcoming Wonder Woman feature or if it was hedging bets and holding back because it might not appeal that strongly to the male audience.

Intrigued by how the Wonder Woman campaign stacked up against other recent efforts, specifically those from Warner Bros./DC Entertainment, I looked back at the campaigns for BvS and Suicide Squad—as well as the ongoing push for Justice League coming later this year—to see if I could quantify any disparity. Specifically, I looked at the volume of released marketing materials, not the engagement or spread of those assets. Here’s how things shook out.

Source: Why the Marketing of Wonder Woman at Warner Bros. Is Coming Under Fire – Adweek

Stingers and Movie Marketing

My latest at Adfreak examines the ways in which those post-credits stingers have become an integral part of the movie marketing cycle, especially for franchise films:

In the last week, a rumor that had been bouncing around the internet was confirmed when director James Gunn revealed that, yes, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 would have an epic five post-credits scenes. For those of us who feel like most movies could easily lop off 20 minutes or so without losing anything meaningful from the story, it means we’re going to have to wait even longer to OMG get out of the way I need to go to the bathroom.

The number of post-credits sequences has steadily increased since Marvel Studios revitalized the concept with 2008’s Iron Man. That scene featured Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury emerging from the shadows of Tony Stark’s living room and introducing him—and the audience—to the reality that a wider world of superheroes existed, ultimately setting the stage for The Avengers four years later.

Source: Stay for the Credits: How Bonus Scenes Became a Crucial Part of Movie Marketing

Imagining the Marketing for NBC’s Saturday Morning Cartoons

I really abused by access to Adfreak this past week, with a post that does some thinking about how movie studios would sell film adaptations of the rest of NBC’s 1985-86 lineup of Saturday morning cartoons.

For you millennials in the audience, “Saturday morning cartoons” were, in the days before Disney Channel and Netflix brought them to us 24/7, really the only place and time to watch cartoons. You’d head down to the living room in your pajamas and have total control of the TV for a few hours, a real treat in those days. Let’s move on. Other networks did so as well, but NBC would regularly advertise their Saturday morning lineup in comic books of the time, again an indicator of an era when comics were actually meant for kids and not 40-year-old white guys. So, using this scan of just such an ad as a jumping-off point, let’s see what kind of marketing potential there might be for the rest of NBC’s 1985 Saturday morning lineup.

Source: Let’s Adapt the Rest of NBC’s 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Lineup for the Big Screen – Adweek

Selling Your Movie By Referencing Others

My latest Adfreak post looks at how The Boss Baby is just the latest movie to work in a nod to the box-office competition to its own marketing campaign. Oh, and I make a That Thing You Do! joke.

Next week, The Boss Baby hits theaters. The latest Dreamworks Animation release features Alec Baldwin voicing a briefcase-wielding, suit-and-tie-wearing baby who’s sent undercover to a family to try to foil the plans of Puppy Co., which is working to out-cute the baby industry. To date, the marketing for the movie has focused on the inherent comedy of Baldwin’s voice coming out of a pint-sized body and the conflict between the baby and the older brother who discovers what’s really going on. The latest trailer, though, adds another element to the opening with a direct nod to the competition it will face at the box office.

Source: The Boss Baby Is the Latest Movie to Sell Itself by Winking at the Competition – Adweek

Don’t Hold Your Breath for More R-Rated Super Hero Movies

My latest Adfreak post is live, outlining the reasons I’m skeptical as to the results of a recent Fandango survey claiming many people want more R-rated super hero movies.

Most all of the previous X-Men movies have been rated PG-13. But Logan, like last year’s Deadpool, is violent enough to earn itself an R rating. Those two are, to date, the only exceptions to the PG-13 rule that has dominated movies from both Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. In the past, the only comic-based movies that have delved into R-rated territory have been the Blade series starring Wesley Snipes, Lionsgate’s two Punisher films and adaptations of indie books like Barb Wire, Spawn, Kick-Ass and a few others that didn’t need to get the the kids into the theater along with the older crowd.According to a new survey from online ticket seller Fandango, though, the audience is anxious for more hard-core superhero movies. The company said 71 percent of respondents want more R-rated comic book movies, while 86 percent were specifically anxious to see a more violent Logan in theaters.

Source: Despite Logan and Deadpool, Don’t Expect a Flood of R-Rated Superhero Movies – Adweek

I was a bit surprised in all the coverage the survey received that no one was doing any sort of serious analysis of the results. What I mention in my post is just a couple of the reasons why this is likely at best skewed and at worst total bull.

The Cure Involves Fake News

I went a bit more in-depth on Fox’s “fake news” viral efforts for A Cure For Wellness in my latest Adweek post:

Discussion of “fake news” is a huge deal these days. After being a pervasive media narrative during the election cycle, Facebook and other platforms are making efforts to stop the spread of inaccurate information even as it becomes more pervasive. Not only that but, without getting too political, it’s also become weaponized, as anything that is offensive or unpleasant to someone’s sensibilities is labeled as “fake news,” often with “Sad!” appended to the commentary. Twentieth Century Fox, though, is hoping some fake news can help bring people in to its new movie, A Cure for Wellness.

Source: Fox Has Been Spreading Fake News About Trump and Others as Part of a Movie Campaign – Adweek