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.

it’s just not breakfast without it

“Got Milk?” is one of the greatest advertising campaigns of all time.

Without going into the history of the campaign too much (which I promise to do between now and my 200th post), I want to point out the longevity of such a simple idea.

This print ad, featuring Selma Hayek and 1/3 of her daughter’s face, for example, is pretty stereotypical, dull, expected, and just generally uninteresting.

But the milk mustache, the presence of a star, and a simple tagline keep the campaign alive (and well).

Imagine a brand tagline that could last almost 20 years, including a total lack of effort over the last 15. That is incredible.

I am not bringing up this Selma Hayek ad to be a hater or to bemoan the lack of interest from the add agency (Goodby, Silverstein & Partners) and California Milk Processor Board.

My intentions are quite the opposite, actually. The truth is that add campaigns this amazing do not come along very often.

Step outside the marketing realm for a minute. The “Got Milk?” question has grown larger than almost any slogan and has outgrown the advertising world. What two words in the English language that are not the name of a celebrity, a multi-national company, or Jesus Christ ring a bell with almost every American in the same way as “Got Milk”?

The “Got Milk?” campaign evolved into something new way back in the 1990s.

The fact that the campaign needs only an occasional presence online, on TV, and in print is an astounding feat. In other words, “Got Milk?” ads exist to keep the “Got Milk?” brand alive, not the campaign.

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), butĀ  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.”

more stupid

Embassy Suites hired Roman Coppola to help them with their integrated campaign “More of More” at the beginning of last year.

I decided to lead with this fact because I feel like they could have spent less money on a nobody director and received similar results. Maybe even better since newbies often have more to prove.

I like the concept behind these ads (more of more is never a bad thing), but after watching more of these “more” commercials, the only more I feel like Mr. More has has brought to my life is more stupid.

These spots are dull, stale, and lack imagination. I do not say they make me feel more stupid because it is the best insult I could come up with. I say that these commercials make me feel more stupid because as I watched one after another they got dumber and dumber and I really did begin to feel more stupid (for wasting my own time and because of the tired, lazy jokes).

And the only thing more stupid than more of Mr. More is spending more on a director who’s name and work means means less, not more.


I haveĀ  more problems with Embassy Suites $15 million ad campaign:

1. These spots are another lame knock off of the original Old Spice ads. Embassy Suites apparently thought a fast talking, kooky spokesman would do for them what “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” did for Old Spice. Happily, that is not how things work any more. Hard work and original ideas are starting to count for more again, thank goodness. Old Spice did it better and they did it first. I cannot figure out why companies keep trying to copy their ads instead of copying the thing that made those ads successful: Digging deep and creating something new, clever and risky.

2. More money (once again) failed to achieve better results. It is post 2008. I thought we were supposed to be doing more with less? Although, I have to admit that Embassy Suites spending more and getting less does fit their campaign in an odd, ironic way.

Credits: The More More campaign was created for Embassy Suites by ad agency BBDO-Atlanta.

movie trailer tuesday – the artist


Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?


The trailer for The Artist is proof that music and visuals can be moving on their own. I have not yet seen this film, but apparently the entire production is a testament to this point as well.

I get easily frustrated by people who say there is not anything original out in the world any more. People are creating interesting, compelling pieces of art all the time. Some places, like Hollywood or Detroit, have a lot less of this going on than they used to. But original art still exists (Midnight in Paris is another great example in film).

Sadly for Hollywood but happily for The Artist, this trailer had more originality and magic than most films.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

Yes, again!

I never saw this trailer while the film was in theaters. Had I had the opportunity, I would have seen the film within days. As a commercial this trailer is engaging, curious, and filled with question-creating and imagination-igniting moments.

The Artist is currently only available to me by pirated download from the internet. If there was a legal way for me to watch it right now I would be doing that instead of sitting here writing about it. The trailer is that well done.

But a trailer this good raises a question I have posed before: Does a good film make it easier to make a good trailer?

Another, broader, way to ask this question is: Does a good product make it easier to create a good marketing campaign?

marketing to be wary of


The question I hope consumers are able to ask when faced with an elaborately constructed marketing image is, “Will the product or service I get reflect to wonderful story being portrayed here?”

I would like to pick on Ally Bank for a second, if I may.

Ally Bank is the phoenix that rose from GMAC’s ashes. GMAC was the banking arm of General Motors. And when GM went down, so did GMAC.

Arguably, both companies got burned because of irresponsible business practices. In GMAC’s case, irresponsible lending practices helped bring about their demise, along with many other American banks.

Ally Bank now advertises itself as being a new kind of bank. See here, here, and here for specific examples.

To me, Ally Bank represents a company that put a shiny new facade on the same old banking system.

Ally is the perfect example of brilliant marketing to be wary of. Lower rates, no fees, and customer friendly ATMs are all marketing decisions. Ally may mean what they say in all of their marketing materials, but there is no evidence that there has been a fundamental change.

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?

get to know kevin durant

I promise that the posts about Kevin Durant will stop today. But I need to squeeze in one more, making a total of four for the week (initially I was going to do five because I am so inspired by him).

Check out KD’s interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live from the end of March:

Part one.


Part two.


A few things about Kevin worth noting after watching his Jimmy Kimmel appearance:

1. He is only 23. 23!!

2. He is kind of weird and awkward.

3. He is a fun guy, and likeable after you get a hand of his quirkiness.

4. He is only 23!!!!(!) And, he is finishing up his fifth NBA season.

5. Once he matures, he will truly be a marketing force to fear. He still seems a little unsure of himself and answers questions a little timidly. But he did great on a national television program (did I mention he is only 23?)!

6. He himself commented on his competitiveness.. Whether monopoly or basketball, he plays to win. Any professional athlete who says any different is either lying or a loser (as in will never win a championship or anything else meaningful).



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