Movie Trailer Tuesday – Endless Crap, er.. Love

It’s bad enough that Romeo and Juliet has been redone a billion times. It’s even worse the amount of times Hollywood ties to sell us on a romance with a guy from the wrong side of the tracks falling in love with a rich, but sensitive girl. We’ll laugh at their awkward first meeting as poor guy tries to look tough, but shows rich girl he’s a millionaire when it comes to compassion. We’ll get angry when one dimensional, sinister rich guy rival or overbearing, conservative parent uncover the hero’s checker past and force the girl to rethink the whole thing. Then, we will finish with small tears of joy when the two are reunited and either get married, ride off into the credit covered sunset, or embrace and lock tongues in a very slow fade out.

Yeah, this is one of those movies. The whole thing plays out in front of you inside of this trailer, so unless there is some weird twist, (ie. poor guy has an evil twin, girl has a small child with someone else), that has been left out, there is nothing to compel me to the theater for this rehashed, blah plot line. It’s so lame that its scheduled for release on Valentine’s Day, because any other day of the year and the ticket sales wouldn’t even cover the body oil waxed onto these actors to give them that nice sheen for all the risque sex scenes shown in the preview. In fact, the only thing this trailer does right is show a bunch of skin to entice some horny boyfriends that have run short on good date night ideas.

So, yeah, Endless Love, a movie you’ve seen a hundred times before really setting the bar to below ho-hum right out the gate. Seems like when you have a predictable movie like this you should not go through with the two minute trailer, but I guess the producers are doing us all favor so there is no confusion as to the blandness of the picture they’re promising us. If it didn’t have such a built-in, beyond apathetic audience, I’d question why this didn’t go straight to Netflix.

– Words by Stuck

Movie Trailer Tuesday – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug


One of my favorite conversations to have about films these days is about weather movies based on books should follow the original strictly or not.

It can hurt to see the story and characters go a direction you do not like when you have a connection to them because you loved the book version so much. It is frustrating to have another person’s adaptation not measure up to your vision.

But the thing is that it takes courage and passion to make a piece of art bold and grand enough to take beloved characters and stories and make something new.

I did not see the first installment of The Hobbit and I have no idea if I will see the any of them. But this trailer goes a long way toward making me want to check out the franchise, and I have to tip my cap to the brave mind and remarkable vision of Peter Jackson.

Words by Jeff


Movie Trailer Tuesday – The Book Thief

After discussing the headline-grabbing New York Times ad ran by The Book Thief yesterday, I wanted to look at the trailer for the film and determine whether or not it is in-line with their Words are Life campaign.


I really like the line, “I never knew the meaning of the word ‘Hope.'”

The trailer used beautiful imagery and quick bursts of emotion to pull me all the way in – I was reaching for my wallet to buy an advance Fandango ticket. That is until the “We really want an Oscar nomination” trailer narrator voice inexplicably interrupted around the 1:30 mark.


The mood, emotion and connection the first minute twenty nine seconds built up were thrown out for a few seconds of narration – I think a total of three or four lines.

If words really are life, a few less might have kept this trailer from a grim, Hollywood-induced death.

– Words by Jeff

A World Without Words

Words are life

The Marketing team in charge of promoting “The Book Thief” film has done something marvelous.

So often ads are just there. Companies have marketing budgets and they know they need to advertise. They know the rules (repeat your name/product/service; brand, brand, brand; be entertaining) but their end result could be an advertisement for anything.

The Internet allows us to make things personal, and now we expect personal across all media platforms.

The new film, “The Book Thief” caught headlines last week with a blank two-page ad in the New York Times.

Not only were those blank pages – and the guts it took to pay for two empty pages in The Times – perfectly matched to the film they were meant to market, they were refreshing.

I can imagine upper-level executives saying things like, “Why would we pay to not print words in a NEWSPAPER?!?”

The ad was a lot of things. Beautiful. Smart. Engaging. But, most of all, it was personal.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, the sixteen characters – – that ran at the bottom of the second page are worth infinite pictures.

– Words by Jeff

Movie Trailer Tuesday – The Grand Budapest Hotel

The day the trailer for the newest Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, came out, I read descriptions like “Wes Andersony” and the like.

Wes deserves such descriptions, but it’s hard to argue with excellence.

A few of his films (I’m thinking about the time we spent 2 hours on a train with Adrien Brody, in particular) feel like Wes but do not deliver. But, when Wes is on, there are few better movie-going experiences.

Most importantly, you know what you are going to get: an adventure of the most whimsical, fun, awkward and well-acted sort. I will be honest, it is nice to have something as reliable and remarkable as a Wes Anderson film in an age when products – and even services – are no longer made to last or to delight, but to suffice.

– Words by Jeff

What Works?

Last week, the below spot from Grey New York for Canon won the Outstanding Commercial Emmy. Let’s watch it and discuss what “works” about this commercial and why.

Some elements that “work” in this fantastic spot are obvious. Passion, creativity, ambition, dedication and hard work are all traits each and every one of us desires to embody, and they are all exhibited by the photographers. Simple and brief. Maximum impact with zero fat. No extras and no filler.

Any Mad Men fan will tell you about another element of this ad that “works.” They put the correct music for the mood alongside the right images and topped it off with killer copy. That formula is still the same, for sure.

But with the two examples above I would argue that while they “work” they do not make you stand out from the rest of the noise. There are a lot of things this ad does successfully that are not particularly artful or difficult for the industry. There are a million ads that can do most of what makes this ad “work.” But it’s that extra 1 per cent, that additional effort that builds tribes, creates lifelong users and wins advertising Emmies.

Canon and Grey managed to incorporate the things we love about full length films and other long forms of storytelling into 61 seconds. First, the audience sees people doing ridiculous, risky, scary things with their cameras. Instantly, we start forming questions and answering them. How will this end? What will the photos be like? We start imagining and longing for the end of the commercial, just like we do with a great book or film. We are invested in the characters and the outcome (no small feat for 61 seconds). And just like the best book you ever read, you are rewarded for investing your valuable time and energy in the story (and the product). The payoff are the incredible photos at the end of the spot.

This is not the only advertisement to achieve this effect, but we rarely get to see this done so efficiently with the core of the spot still being the product. You would be surprised at how lost one can get in the journey from concept to execution, even for a 60-second story.

This “Inspired” advertisement truly is. Above all things it is an excellently told story. After all, that is all an advertisement is: A very well-told, focused story with the goal of getting you not to invest in a human’s personality (like your favorite friend’s incredible yarns are), but to get you to invest in a thing as if it were a person. Great storytelling gives life, regardless of who or what the storyteller is. Canon wins because they made their audience feel.

It is not very hard to pay a great video person and fantastic lighting and editing team to make your product look good. Showing your product to your audience is the easiest part. Instead, you should be thinking about how to make your audience form a relationship with your product (brand, service, startup, band, painting).

So the answer to the question “What works” is simple. Putting in time and effort and really (no, really) caring about what you do and who connects with it has always and will always work.



Technology is opening up opportunities all around us, all the time.

it is possible to see these changes as doors closing (ask the music and print industries), but do not be fooled: doors are only opening.

Could an American been convinced in 1995 that Blockbuster would be challenged as the movie rental king, falling from the top of it’s market, to hardly relevant, to bankruptcy in the next 10-13 years?

It is amazing to think that not too long ago Netflix was it. Netflix was the top of the movie rental pyramid very recently – renting movies had been revolutionized, thanks to technology, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings.

Mobile computing devices quickly made the web technology that made Netflix less relevant, and out of nowhere came Redbox.

It is difficult for most people to imagine what will come along next to dethrone Netflix and Redbox. It might be 15 years, or it might be 15 minutes.

The key is to understand new technologies and where they are going. Otherwise new ideas become another person’s catapult and all of the marketing dollars in your war chest cannot keep you from joining Blockbuster on the island of forgotten toys.

$6 and up


Yesterday at a local AMC theater, I saw this gem of an advertisement. $6 and up for a morning movie. People already think movies are overpriced.

Why would anyone think putting the words, “and up” on this poster was a good idea? How about, “Starting at $6”? Why include language that makes folks think about paying more money?

Come on guys, put a little thought into your marketing. Otherwise, why bother?

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 – ted

Since I finished commenting on trailers for 2011 best film nominated pictures last week, I figured writing about a brand new trailer for a movie no one expects to get nominated for anything would be a good direction to go.


Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Kind of.

I love the premise.

The story of the kid and his favorite toy, or intimate best friend, that magically comes to life was just waiting for a clever twist. The first 37 seconds of the trailer made me enormously excited. Unfortunately, the following 2 minutes deflated my hopes almost entirely.

The 2 minute 30 seconds of TED Universal has chosen to show me lead me to believe that much of the film will be a lot like Family Guy. The motel fight scene is a gag used in FG no less than 346 times. As is the schtick on the couch with the trashy girls. Oh, and Ted humping the cash register makes me think of Brian getting drunk and acting out, another tired gag from the show.

The premise has promise, but it is hard to imagine from the trailer that it will follow through.

Regardless of Ted‘s success, expect a South Park spoof soon. Mark my words.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?


This movie is not for me.

I do not watchFamily Guy anymore. I am not seventeen. And I do not smoke pot.

This trailer was made for people (mostly male), who fit at least two of the three requirements above.

I think the film will do well and I might even see it on DVD at some point or with my brother (who does, by the way, fit two of the three requirements above).

But, disregarding how I feel about the film based on the trailer, I think the trailer does a good job of baiting the hook for the right audience. And the scene where the bear is driving did make me chuckle. I do not think this movie will be devoid of laughs, I just think it will disappoint me.

Good marketing, and good products and successful films, is not about making something everyone will love. Not anymore, anyway. It is about making something that as many people as possible will love. If you try to make the product and the ad for it entice everyone in the whole world, you will fail. If you try to make the product and the ad for it appeal to folks you know are likely to like what you have on offer, your success rate (obviously and naturally) increases.

The Ted trailer is effective as a commercial because it does not try to get stuck-up, pompous, crotchety grumps who hate laughter and having fun like me to spend money seeing it because that would be a waste of time. Instead, it (smartly) targets mostly male stoners, who thinkFamily Guy is funny between the ages of 17 and 25 (whether in actual years or in maturity).

Side Note: This movie is not brought to us by a Fox-owned studio or affiliate. Hmmmmm…..

%d bloggers like this: