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Misleading marketing of movies

SweenyTodd.jpgI thought this might be a perfect time to discuss the marketing of films, how you feel about pre-film hype and if you've ever been duped by the marketing of a film into believing it was something else...like good.

There are two films just recently that have brothered me in regards their marketing, that's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Cloverfield.

For Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street the UK marketing material is working hard to not convey the fact that the film is a musical. Television adverts I've seen don't have a single moment of music, singing or dancing, instead it is being sold as a dramatic, gothic Tim Burton film.

The UK trailer I've seen before films has just one line of song in it, and it's more spoken in delivery in a hushed tone than anything.

Now this isn't just my belief that it's being mismarketed, there have been a few reports of people leaving the cinema after finding out what it really is.

Of course that in itself is nothing new, people often leave performances because they don't like the film or sometimes because they are in the wrong one, but the difference here is that the marketing is taking a deliberate slant that way.

Cloverfield is also playing around with its marketing. A couple of the viral marketing pieces have what can be best described as cheap CGI in them, and that's not being picky, they look downright awful. There's the video of the oil rig collapsing and one of the latest shots of a tanker erupting.

They look awful and make the film seem really quite cheap in the effects department when in fact the film effects look pretty damn good.

There's no word if these are straight from the marketing company or if they are second unit shots for the television or perhaps to be obscured by shaky cam, the result is the same, the marketing gives a different impression of the film.

While I don't think that the Cloverfield example is anywhere as near as bad as the misrepresentation of the Sweeney Todd advertising, they are still both examples of mismarketing of films.

I also remember someone telling me that they had been mislead by the marketing for M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, a film which they had been led to believe was as big in scope as Independence Day and not the small, introspective family view it turned out to have.

Now do be aware, I'm not making any statement about the final, complete film here, what I am talking about is the marketing, the impression of the film being sold to the general public - by general public I do not mean the more informed film fan like your typical Filmstalker reader.

How do you feel about the marketing of films? Do you often feel that what you've been sold doesn't represent the final article? Has there been anything that has totally taken you in the wrong direction with its marketing and blindsided you when you went to see the film?

How do you feel about the more subtle marketing and advertising of films, should they really use any method to get you into the cinema, or should the marketing companies ensure that they deliver the same feel and tone of the film they are selling?



Sweeney is Coming ... It's no bad thing. The fact that this converstaion has been brought up at all shows what they are doing is working ... The whole "Really?, yu didn't know it's a musical" gives people a reason to talk about it, the focus being ... people talk about it.

I cant wait to see Sweeney Todd and we have the same trailer over here Richard, one line of song thats more spoken. Again I can assure you theres no bad CGI in Cloverfield, its a class act all the way. One thing I do hate about movie trailers though is when they show a scene that isnt even in the final movie and at the end of the movie you wonder well what happened to those scenes that are in the movie according to the trailer but not in actually the movie!

Here in Mexico they're Marketing the Orphanage as a Guillermo del Toro film and not a single mention that it's Spanish or the name of the director. It's insulting.

I was lucky enough to get free tickets for Lost in Translation and went along to the film knowing nothing about it. I'm really glad I did as I enjoyed the movie for it's quirkiness and it's pace.
Pity the poor people who saw the adverts for it and thought it was a Bill Murray comedy. In fact I know a few people who went to see it and were subsequently really disappointed.
Appreciate that Marketing Managers have to do their best to sell a film but it is a bit insulting to the audience to 'dupe' them into going to see certain movies

Is it just me, or does every single horror or kung fu-type movie appear to be "Presented by Quentin Tarantino" now?

It does James. Totally there with you.

What I sort of found insulting is the DVD for "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" has stamped upon it "Cinematically Perfect - Quentin Tarantino" ... as though people need to hear this from him to know.

I wouldn't have a bad word said about most of Tarantino's work (I still haven't seen Death Proof though), but people still talk about him like he's the second coming and as if his taste is somehow greater than that of someone else. Regardless, to date he has only made 5 features (6 if you class Kill Bill as 2 seperate pictures).

But I guess a lot of people consider him to be "cool" and unfortunately will see a film off the back of his name being flashed on the advertisement.

Much the same as the latest spat of comedies (40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad). While they are all entertaining films in their own right, I can't stand the way each one gets advertised off the back of the other. And not just "Directed by.....", but trying to sound über-cool, hip and "street" with "From the guys who brought you *insert movie title here*..."

That really annoys me.

Tremendously educational thanks, I'm sure your current readers would probably want a whole lot more items like that continue the excellent hard work.


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