Movie Marketing is something that most fans or casual audience members don’t think too much about. Typically, people decide quite quickly whether they want to see a film or not. This isn’t always the case; sometimes fans are swayed by a great trailer, mysterious footage, or a memorable poster.
Unfortunately, Hollywood sometimes struggles when it’s manufacturing these hooks, and it is getting harder and harder to find a movie where marketing really makes it stand out from the crowd. Typically, when fans do notice a movie’s marketing, it’s for all the wrong reasons. This is especially important at a time when a film’s success or failure are tied to its marketing campaign.
Movie trailers are everywhere online and on TV when a blockbuster nears. However, as incessant as movie trailers can be, cross-promotions can be exhausting. Popular characters and upcoming films are regularly used to promote products and when they don’t match each other, it’s incredibly distracting.
Mcdonald’s and Oreos promoting action movies or fridges promoting Star Wars is fine to a point, but when products directly contradict a film’s message it’s a real problem. The best modern example is when the environmentalist movie The Lorax was promoting Mazda’s vehicles. This drew heavy criticism from environmental groups. The hypocrisy was obvious and it felt almost like the Lorax had signed a deal with the Onceler.
9 Reactive Producers Kowtow To Backlash
Fan culture and marketing can be a toxic combination. Quite a few modern movies have tripped up their own marketing by over-reacting to fan backlash.
Typically, this happens with franchise pictures like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Suicide Squad; producers see fans reacting poorly to their product, or well to a competing product, and they shift their marketing. This can extend as far as reshooting huge portions of films, recasting roles, abrupt shifts in tone, or changing CGI to satisfy loud fans.
8 Overhyping A Film Leads To Disappointment
Obviously, it’s a trailer’s job to hype up a film, and when it’s a particularly large release, marketing goes all out. But studios lately tend to overhype their biggest movies.
Big trailers aren’t really the problem here as much as the amount of marketing and the promises the marketing makes. Not only do trailers and TV spots with new footage have to be cranked out frequently, but so do epic promises, including huge reveals, character deaths and epic final battles. However, when audiences see trailers making big promises they expect them to deliver a specific story, it can affect how fans see films.
7 Misleading Trailers Lie To Sell Tickets
One of the most manipulative techniques film trailers can employ is mis-advertising their product. This isn’t a complaint about producers meddling with trailers to remove spoilery details; fans usually forgive that.
What fans take issue with are trailers that exist purely to misrepresent stories. Studio know that once audiences buy their tickets and realize they were misled, it’s too late. The Amazing Spiderman 2 is one memorable example. The trailer teased the Osborns teaming up, Oscorp spying on Peter, and an action-packed fight with Rhino, none of which made it into the final movie.
6 Insecure Studios Try Too Hard
Studios that invest hundreds of millions of dollars into a project obviously want it to succeed. Many larger studios, like Disney and Warner Brothers, tend to have faith in their power to market to an audience. Some of their competitors, however, feel very insecure and it definitely shows in their marketing.
Trailers and marketing gimmicks tend to be pushed into overdrive when a studio is underconfident, or films can lack a marketable identity. Trailers that rely on showing audiences overly familiar tropes and scenes dominate the web. Sometimes different trailers vary hugely in tone and execution in order to appeal to every possible audience. Admittedly, many casual audiences won’t spot this, but it leaves others with the impression that the film doesn’t know what it wants to be.
5 There’s A Lack Of Original Specially Filmed Previews
Previews that are specially filmed for a movie are an incredibly popular form of marketing that is rarely used but never fail to excite fans. In retrospect, this is a great idea. They are cheap, easy to film, fun to create and they get people excited without spoiling a frame of the film. Classic examples of films that used this technique include Back To The Future, Alien, and The Incredibles.
It’s a mystery why studios don’t use this technique more often. Fans don’t need to see every last scene of a movie to grab their attention. Any new footage will do. Previews can allow directors to get creative with their marketing as they can create a 5-minute short film to promote their movie. DC had the right idea when they released screen tests for Joker and The Batman as a way to advertise these films. These hinted at the films’ tones and gave fans an exciting look at the actors in costume, without revealing any plot details.
4 Long Trailers Overstay Their Welcome
Fans can really get excited about a good trailer. Occasionally, a trailer comes along that redefines how movies are marketed, and it really grabs people’s attention and piques their interest in a project. However, most trailers feel generic, overexposed, and at their worst, interminable.
Modern trailers can be up to 4 minutes long, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when a trailer is made primarily out of a film’s best moments, it’s bound to compromise the film. There’s nothing wrong with keeping trailers short and streamlined. People like the mystery of a new movie and no one wants to see a 4-minute trailer that outstays its welcome.
3 Lazy Viral Marketing Comes Across As Hollow
Social media is a key aspect of modern movie marketing. Studios rely on social media and influencers to get good word of mouth going. However, the results can feel forced and sometimes the end product is awkward.
There are many examples of YouTubers or popular internet celebrities being paid to promote films, whether they’ve seen them or not. Talk show hosts often are also dragged into this forced praise too. Another instance of viral marketing backfiring is when studios use random Twitter user reviews to promote their films. In Batman V Superman‘s case, they even invented a social media review to promote the film.
2 Unimaginative Posters All Look The Same
Iconic movie posters typically employ a handful of powerful techniques to help their images stick with their audience. They rely on simple but effective imagery, they use a unique art style or layout, and they know hot to encapsulate a film without spoiling it. However, this is starting to feel like a lost art, as most modern movies now rely on dull and repetitive images of the main characters standing in an action pose in front of an urban backdrop.
This technique has been so overused it’s lost all meaning, and it’s especially disheartening when visually stunning films like Blade Runner 2049 resort to this design. Even fan-made posters are putting Hollywood to shame at this point.
1 Trailers Ruin The Ending
Spoilers are a major contemporary concern in pop culture. It’s genuinely hard to think of a huge modern blockbuster that hasn’t resorted to spoiling the movie at least a little in its trailer. This trend has gotten worse recently, as studios feel the need to parade all the best parts of a movie in its trailer.
Occasionally, directors like Christopher Nolan manage to stay strong and maintain a mystery about their movies up until their release. For the most part, though, fans have realized that they have to avoid trailers if they want to avoid spoilers. Trailers for films like Terminator: Genisys, Godzilla vs Kong, and the Invisible Man all earned an unfortunate reputation for giving away their movies twists and secrets.
Read More: 10 Worst Trends In Modern Movie Marketing