Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing. – great words were once spoken by Mike Volpe, a famous start-up investor and CMO at Cybereason. While this holds true in the corporate domain, it also finds its way into the world of movies.
Nowadays, the marketing of a movie forms the backbone of any movie. Be it, a low-budget, hand-held short film or a multi-million dollar blockbuster starring famous B-town (H-town for Hollywood) celebs, every movie requires a commensurate marketing strategy to expose the content to a wider audience. A meticulously planned and carefully executed marketing strategy can do wonders for the movie, as some schemes fetch a portion of the capital that you’ve invested even before the movie hits theatres (read Kabali). On the other hand, some end up on a disastrous note. We take a look at some of the marketing gimmicks that failed to hit the right chord.
Indecent tweet – The Birth Of A Nation
While the movie received applause and accolades, its marketing strategy was widely criticised. The studio's official handle tweeted a picture of President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton side by side with a text on it which read “The Birth of a Nation” and “in theatres October seventh”. The tweet also read “Hil and Don know what’s up”. The tweet was heavily criticised as a dumb move, given that rape allegations against the director, Nate Parker resurfaced at the time.
— Fox Searchlight (@foxsearchlight) September 28, 2016
Geographical inaccuracy – Arrival
Marketing Arrival, Paramount Pictures left no stone unturned. They released a series of posters showing an alien orb hovering over each city. What they didn’t anticipate was the ire of Hong Kong citizens. One of those posters depicted an orb above Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor. Photoshopped in the foreground was the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, which is part of China. It wasn't just the geographical inaccuracy but the fact that Hong Kong and Shanghai aren't on the best of terms, politically. Outrage poured in with citizens with the hashtag #HongKongIsNotChina
Oh Sarah – Forgetting Sarah Marshall
In the movie, Jason Segel’s character is unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend of five years. Heartbroken, he tries to move on with his life but it becomes excruciatingly difficult for him once she shows up with her new beau.
Sometimes, the best way to get through a bad break-up is to start hating the person you’re no longer dating. With that thought in mind, the makers of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, decided to implement a unique/‘hatke’ marketing scheme. The makers designed posters which read “You suck, Sarah Marshall” and “You DO look fat in those jeans, Sarah Marshall”. What they didn’t consider was the fact that Sarah Marshall is rather a pretty common name. Soon, Sarah Marshalls over the globe found themselves to be the subject of ridicule and they weren't very thrilled about it.
Trailers that spoil – Terminator Genisys
The whole point of a twist is to keep the audience second guessing at every turn. That’s the basic concept of a plot twist. The makers of Terminator Genisys failed to grasp that. The second trailer of the movie revealed the surprise that John Connor was now indeed the bad guy. With that, they shot themselves in the foot. Now, why would you bother buying a ticket if you already know the big reveal? *Sigh*
Fake endorsements – Taken 3
Ever used Linkedin? If yes, then you probably know about the concept of ‘endorsements’. To the unaware, Linkedin is a professional networking website where you can interact with other real world professionals. You can build your resume, endorse people, apply for jobs and showcase your skills. As for the movie, Taken 3, the filmmakers used this to their advantage (rather a failed attempt). Liam Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills, boasts about his ‘particular set of skills’ and since Linkedin lets you add your skills…you know what we mean. A fake account was set under the said name and a contest was held. The winner of the contest would get a fake endorsement from a fictional character who kills a lot of people, not really appealing to person’s potential employer.
These were our picks for the top five marketing fails. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.