Chris Reed
May 21, 2014

Does film marketing make any difference?

It seems like every week a new blockbuster film from a famous franchises is being unleashed into cinemas. Transformers follows X-Men follows Godzilla follows Spiderman. Is it the brand name that’s selling these films or clever marketing? Does the marketing even matter?

Does film marketing make any difference?

It would be interesting to see whether any of the marketing behind these iconic names has made any difference to the sales. Is Hollywood’s new safety-first film schedule all about a franchise from Marvel or Disney or a recognisable brand name like Godzilla?

Does the marketing even matter? If you just went out with informative adverts saying the new Transformers is here would the same amount of people go? Probably.

All the big blockbuster film’s promotional trailers are virtually identical. Spiderman 1 looks like Spiderman 2. Transformers 4 or is it 5, I’ve lost count, looks exactly like Transformers 1 and 2, complete with regulation Linkin Park song.

X-Men has released so many films before, during and after they were created that everyone has lost track including I think the directors. Several commentators have pointed out that the last two X-Men Wolverine films actually contradicted each other.

Where does film marketing fit within this? The genre’s creativity has always been criticised for being boring and unimaginative. The format of a trailer is expected, there are no surprises. You basically put all the action sequences together in 2 minutes and bang that’s another blockbuster sold.

If it’s a comedy you put all the laughs in because it’s more important that people come along to the film and are disappointed than don’t come along because the trailer had no laughs in. It’s never rocket science.

Is anyone actually doing any creative or interesting marketing around film releases? Or does the marketing now match the films? Everything’s safe and predictable. You put one of ten trailers on YouTube. You tease and create excitement over a year in advance and build up tens of millions of views. Then people eventually see it and because it can never live up to the hype go “is that it?”

Two years later you do the whole thing again and people forget how bad the last one was and how they vowed never to go back. Maybe that 10th trailer tipped you over the edge. You say to yourself it can’t possibly be as bad as the last one. You fool yourself into going.

You have a spare night and think what the hell I’ll give it a try. Then you come out and think what a waste of money, I’ll never go again to that franchise. Just like women having babies forget the pain they go through to have more, you go back next time and next time.

The new Star Wars is a great example of a franchise that has had so much hype that there is no way on earth (or even outer space) that the film can possibly live up to expectations. Remember The Phantom Menace anyone?

All those years of anticipation, editorial hype and pre-awareness.  Then Jar Jar Binks came along and you went, really? Are they serious? It never recovered.

Just like the last time when you still went to see the 2nd and third ones you will go and see the new one in 2015. The hype will be unbearable. However unless JJ Abrahams does more of his Star Trek magic and less of his Super 8, Cloverfield and TV work you will still come out of the theatre and wonder why you did.

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