Key Art, Key Changes: Sing, Assassin’s Creed, Live By Night, Miss Sloane

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.

Sing

There never was a real theatrical one-sheet for the latest Illumination animated feature, instead opting for a teaser and a bunch of character posters. So this home video art is the first time all the main characters have actually been assembled in one official bit of key art, showing all the different contestants who are vying for stardom. It also notably promotes the additional value of containing three new mini movies.

Assassin’s Creed

No big deviation from what came before here. It’s the same split image of Fassbender in the two different settings the movie takes place in that was used in the theatrical campaign.

Live By Night

It’s the same image that was used on the theatrical one-sheet but things have been rearranged a bit. Gone are the images of the rest of the cast as well as the tagline that explains some of Joe’s character. It’s questionable whether or not that singular image of Affleck is enough to get people’s interest when most everyone passed on it in theaters.

Miss Sloane

The home video release keeps the black-and-white capital building but makes the photo of star Jessica Chastain more straight-ahead, even though it retains the motif of her looming over the government building.

Tracking Miss Sloane Ticket Sales

My latest Adweek column reports on a partnership between EuropaCorp and two other companies to track how trailers and TV spots for Miss Sloane demonstrably resulted in ticket sales:

Miss Sloane tells the story of a high-power Washington, D.C., lobbyist (played by Jessica Chastain) who’s asked to work on behalf of the gun lobby. Citing moral considerations, she refuses and instead takes on a project to work against the gun industry and its interests, skirting the law and risking her career to do so. It’s an adult-skewing drama that’s not a comic-book adaptation or franchise sequel/spinoff, but does feature what’s said to be a powerhouse performance from Chastain in a story that’s absolutely relevant given our current social climate.

Source: How the Studio Behind Miss Sloane Is Tracking the Link Between Ads and Ticket Sales | Adweek

Picking Up The Spare: Miss Sloane, Deadpool

miss-sloane-pic

Miss Sloane

  • This “extended trailer” debuted on The Today Show just as the movie debuted in theaters and works better than the previous theatrical trailer because it runs a full five minutes. The central framing device is Sloane’s testimony before Congress but within that we get flashbacks to the key events of the story that lead to her being questioned about bribery, espionage and other illegal activities. This really gives Chastain more room to shine and sells the movie even more strongly based on her performance. It’s fantastic.

Deadpool

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

Lion

lion-pic

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.

Moana

moana

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.

Allied

allied-pic

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

rules-dont-apply-pic

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

miss-sloane-pic

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.

miss-sloane-pic

Overall

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.

Want to get Movie Marketing Madness via email? Sign up here. Then connect with MMM on Twitter and Facebook.