prometheus + coors light tv spot

All tie-ins are not created equal.

Try as the marketers behind this awkward spot may, human-killing aliens and Coors Light just do not work well together here.

Over the years marketers have successfully and seamlessly tied thousands of products in with one another. The best marketers sell you something (Coke, Budweiser, or a BMW perhaps) without you even knowing by building an emotional connection between you and the product while you think you are simply watching your favorite madcap group of tele-friends ham it up while you sit on your couch or the newest romantic comedy in the theaters.

This ad, unfortunately, is clumsy, overt, and more awkward than me in eighth grade.

Tie-ins do not work if the audience notices them. I am not the only one who knows this. I promise the folks behind this ad know it, which is what makes a fumble like this so confusing. Television ads are not cheap. Producing them is not especially inexpensive either. To me, the biggest problem with this ad is the waste and disconnection from the current situation of potential consumers.

How far could those same marketing dollars have taken either company if spent on a new, vibrant, creative social media push?

Ads like this make me question how much marketers have really learned over the past decade. This spot smacks of the lazy, money-blowing old guard. Companies cannot afford to treat their marketing like this anymore.

The American auto industry collapse provides constant examples of what not to do while your business model evaporates around you, and one of those lessons is “Do Not Waste What Money You Have on Television Ads Just For The Sake of Having Them.”

Hollywood is definite offender. The American film industry can complain about how nobody goes out to see movies anymore, but Avengers and fine films like Midnight In Paris are proof that audiences will still spend money on GOOD movies. The extra cash to toss away on crappy films has gone away, which means that it is more important than ever to put a thoughtful marketing push behind any given film. This ad is proof that at least one person hanging around the upper strata of Hollywood still does not get it.

movie trailer tuesday – money ball


Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Actually, yes.

What could be more boring than baseball for most folks? Watching a film about baseball.

And, if you want to kick the boring equation up a notch, make the film be about a low scoring, low-paid, low-star power team.

Yet the trailer makes the viewer want to see what Brad Pitt is doing in this Baseball flick.

Even more importantly, the trailer makes the story seem compelling to different types of viewers – folks familiar with the book and story want to see how the film handles it; Baseball buffs want to see how history is handled by Hollywood; And casual passers by are sucked in because of the clever dialogue and created interest through thoughtful, careful use of film footage.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?


Simply because it highlighted the right parts of the product (the film): Brad Pitt, The theory of Money Ball, Aaron Sorkin’s witty writing, and the previously mentioned baseball historical context.

Unlike most film trailers, Money Ball‘s trailer did not tell the entire story. It gave a hint, a taste.

Like great commercials for any product, this trailer gave a look at the interesting, emotional, touching, compelling pieces of the product, without going to far.

Two Bonus Questions (and Two Bonus Answers):

1. Why is Brad Pitt always around the best actor award, and never goes home with it?

He has been a good actor for a long time and has become under-appreciated for that reason, along with his fame and frequent tabloid appearances. He might try waiting a year or two for his next film, then taking another roles like Tree of Life or Money Ball. I bet if we had not seen him for a few years he could have one for either one (or both) of those roles.

2.Will Movie Trailer Tuesday End Now That You Have Analyzed All Nine Oscar-Nominated Films?

Not a chance!

movie trailer tuesday – tree of life



Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?


Tree of Life‘s trailer is an exception to the rule I have been beating like a dead horse every Tuesday.

I did not know many people who had seen this film when I saw it, but I found the trailer irresistible. It is mysterious, thought provoking, even inspirational.

The quick clips, their organization, and the absence of dialogue or narration make it difficult for the viewer to ever really figure out what is happening. There is something aggravatingly fascinating about the lack of a clear story arc and any semblance of a traditional trailer formula.

The emotional, epic music acts as a bed underneath the perplexing and compelling imagery.

The viewer sees faces he or she knows, but a few quick glimpses of Brad Pitt looking stern or Sean Penn looking really tired is the extent of the use of the familiar here. Everything else feels foreign, exciting, and maybe even a little dangerous.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?


Terrence Malick is a one of a kind filmmaker, so it only makes sense that a trailer for one of his films should stand out as being unlike any trailer in recent memory.

And this brings me to an important point about movie trailers: Much like the films they sell, movie trailers are almost all pretty much the same. Unfortunately, trailers for films that are more creative than the average still follow standard trailer formulas. Advertisers that work with many different products (the good ones, at least) seem to push the accepted standard far more often than whoever is making all of these stale film trailers. The trailer for Tree of Life is not overly complicated or mind blowing. It is simply different from the 99% of the trailers around it. Sure, the film being marketed is different than 99% of the films being made (making it easier to make a new feeling trailer), but  I am not proposing anything outlandish here. Instead of telling the audience the entire plot and story in 2 minutes, how about taking a little extra planning time with the material and using the same film footage to confuse and delight the audience?
Why more studios do not work to create trailers that stand out from the crowd is beyond me. But Tree of Life is proof that an unconventional trailer can get people into theaters to see your film.


movie trailer tuesday – midnight in paris

Midnight in Paris is the best movie I have seen in a long time, so this post might be a little biased. I will do my best to treat the trailer as though I do not have a huge crush on the film itself.

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Not really.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?


Like so many films I discuss on Movie Trailer Tuesday, the main reason I saw Midnight in Paris was word of mouth from people I know who’s opinions I trust.

A film as original and exceptional as this one is hard to make into a trailer.

Woody Allen is used to handling films like this, but Hollywood is not. Hollywood is accustomed to making trailers for formulaic movies with predictable plots, mainly sequels and novel-based pieces without an original idea within the entire project.

This trailer is better than many of those made for 2012 Best Film nominees, but it really does not convey the wondrous experience the film delivers.

Quick side note:

The best decision Woody Allen ever made just might be putting Owen Wilson in this film (especially if Allen himself was the other option). Had Midnight been made 20 years ago, it might have been an inferior film because of Wilson’s absence. Wilson is entertaining, energetic, and funny throughout. The “Holy-shit” face he pulls several times during his midnight adventures is one of the best film faces I have ever seen. That one expression conveys more than most actors can put forth with over-animated monologue deliveries and melodramatic emotional breakdowns. As my wife often says, “The best actors convey emotion with their faces and movements, not their words.”

movie trailer tuesday – the descendants


Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

No. Not really.

I ended up liking this movie quite a bit, but I saw it because of what friends told me about it not because of the marketing campaign.

The Descendants ended up being pretty popular and garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Picture (which is why I’m talkng about it here in the first place), so obviously the marketing for the film worked to some extent. But I would not have seen this film based on this trailer alone.

The story is interesting but too much of the trailer is just George running around or pulling faces. The rest of the trailer reveals most of the plot in an obtuse way that usually turns me off.

It is difficult to craft an interesting trailer for a movie like this since there is not much action to go off of. Yet I refuse to believe there is not a better way to frame a heartfelt, thoughtful film like this one for the masses. Perhaps trailers like this are proof that marketers still think audiences are dumber than they are.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

Nope. The effective commercial was the gaggle of people I knew who saw The Descendants and loved it.

I did not like this film as much as some people I know (and I must admit that something must have made them want to see it) but the fact that the commercial, which is supposed to be the hook, failed to capture me says a lot. Mainly, that marketers of films still cannot, generally speaking, make ads that do the film justice.

Good trailers are rare enough that I am frequently scratching my head. Where does all of that money go?

movie trailer tuesday – hugo

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?


The corny music and the chase scenes with Borat made Hugo seem cheesy and childish. I know the film ended up alright, receiving several Oscars and a Best Picture nomination, but if we are strictly talking the trailer here – barf city.

I have not seen the film, but by all accounts it is superior to its trailer.

The trouble is a good trailer is what brings people in to see your film.

According to Wikipedia, Hugo had a “final budget of between $156 million and $170 million,” and grossed about $180 million at the box office. A $10 million profit is not bad, but I cannot help but wonder if the terrible trailer had something to do with a somewhat sluggish box office performance. Of course, having Martin Scorsese’s name attached to the film must have helped counteract the cruddy trailer, as folks were no doubt curious to see how this purported children’s film would take a left hand turn in the second act and transform into a bloody gangster flick.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

No. An effective commercial makes you want to purchase the product on offer. This commercial made me want to watch The Departed.

movie trailer tuesday – war horse



Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?


Steven Spielberg’s name attached to War Horsehelps, but the trailer has something going for it, too.

This trailer was constructed and edited to do one thing: Make you feel.

Right away I could tell that War Horse will do a crazy good job of building a connection between the audience and the horse. Shucks, the trailer creates a stronger bond between the viewer and the main character than most movies.

Why is the horse running? Where is it going? What will happen when it goes back to war?

And the clips we are treated work beautifully to hint at the imagination and delicacy Mr. Spielberg will surely bring to the film.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?


I might be tired or in the middle of a busy time at work or something, but this trailer made me emotional. It caused something to stir, even if just a little bit.

Now, this is not an easy task these days.

Making a film or television show or writing a book or singing a song that makes people pause long enough to really (I man really) connect to it and feel something is harder than ever. Audiences are desensitized and busy and constantly distracted. People hardly have time to see a movie, so asking them to open themselves up emotionally to it is asking a rather large favor sometimes.

This War Horse trailer is effective as a commercial because it sells the idea that going to see the film will make you feel something you want to feel. It is selling me the chance to connect to something in a way I rarely can, and I am ready to make that purchase.

movie trailer tuesday – the help


Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?


I did end up seeing The Help, but not because of the trailer. I can imagine that this trailer was effective on some people, but I remember seeing it and declaring no interest in seeing the film. I finally saw The Help (on DVD) because so many people that I knew liked it so much.

The trailer for The Help is my least favorite type of trailer, and is usually not very effective on me. By “Type of trailer,” I mean the kind that tells the entire story in two short minutes. Those trailers turn me off right away. The film could be about ninjas on the moon battling aliens from the future with martial art AND their intellects, and a trailer like this one would cause me to suddenly lose interest.

I did like that the trailer was sprinkled with humor, which turns out to be one of the best parts of the film itself.

The trailer also gives the viewer glimpses of a potent performance by Viola Davis. If you watch only her clips carefully the trailer starts to become a lot more effective.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

I would say, yes.

Like I said, this type of trailer is my least favorite. But there are plenty of people who can see past a boring trailer to the heart of the story.

I believe the scandal, humor, and subject matter probably attract people at a higher rate than the trailer as a whole repels them.

movie trailer tuesday: extremely loud and incredibly close


I have not seen the film, but this trailer sure made me want to.

Yes, this film came out long, long ago. But I saw this trailer for only the second time tonight before Contagion, and was captivated by the shots, narration and glimpses allowed the audience. I have not read the book and I do not know much about the story. I am not a fan of Sandy B, or even Tom Hanks for that matter. But something about this trailer was really compelling to me.

I think it is just a really neat, concise piece of storytelling. This trailer tells its own story. One that is fascinating, funny, emotional and personal. But the story the trailer tells is incomplete. It is a mystery.

And to solve the mystery, all you have to do is watch the film.

And (yes, there is another “And”) the film promises (according to the trailer, anyway) to provide more of the things you loved about the trailer in addition to answering all of your questions and completing the trailers story.


Note: I happened to be out of the country when promotion for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was in full swing, as well as when the film came out. Actually, I missed the marketing for most of 2011’s Oscar nominated films. So, starting today, I will address trailers from all ten nominees for best picture. I am a little late (ideally, I would have started this ten weeks before the Oscars), but I am still going to plow ahead.

Up next: The Help

movie trailer tuesday on a thursday


I have been sick all week, so here comes a string of make-up posts. Enjoy!

First up: Movie Trailer Tuesday – Avengers Assemble:

I normally use Movie Trailer Tuesday to rant about Hollywood and how bad a movie looks like it will be. Starting this week I will try my best to focus on discussing the trailer and answering questions like, “Does the trailer make me want to see the movie?” And  “Is the trailer effective as a commercial?”


Does this trailer make me want to see Avengers Assemble?

The name of the film does not.

The star power almost does. The casting of Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk in particular does. Between Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Ruffalo they may have finally gotten it  right with the latest attempt at casting Bruce Banner.

If I was fifteen and loved the transformers (I will italicize but refuse to capitalize that particular film franchise) and thought Scarlett Johansson might someday marry me, this trailer would appeal to me. But I, as a closet nerd and comic book fan, have had it with comic book movies. The trailer for Avengers could only capture me if it were able to convey some of the depth and brains the recent Batman installments and the first two X-Men movies exuded. Even the first Iron Man had some redeeming qualities that shined through even in the trailers.

Bottom line answer: Nope.


Is the trailer effective as a commercial?

See above. If the upcoming film has any shred of wit or depth or decent writing, the trailer sure did nothing to relay that to the potential ticket buyer. There is probably a few groups out there, die-hard Avengers and Marvel fans, as well as teenage boys of a certain disposition, for example that cannot wait for this film to come out. I happen to be not in any of those groups.

The trailer, sadly, advertises a film (and probably a genre) that has been gobbled up by the “Action” genre. Comic book movies can be more than just summer explosion fests. The action and adventure of the comic books themselves helped them become popular, but the best, most beloved comic books were loved because of their writing, smarts, and the deeper meaning they often held. Judging by the trailer for Avengers, I would not expect much more than tired one-liners and CG action.

Bottom line answer: The folks who were going to see Avengers anyway probably all got huge boners from this and the other trailers, but everyone else is likely to go do something else this summer.


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