Monday, July 1, 2013
Dear Disney: It's got Johnny Depp. It will make a billion dollars. Now please, stop this crap.
I'll let my loyal readers determine for themselves which of these examples of cross-promotion fails more hilariously.
Seriously. I get that movies are expensive to make, and if you can get some tie-in promotions to cover some of the bill, you're going to do that. But when ever other freaking advertisement playing on ESPN during the Yankees-Orioles game is an attempt to link a very modern product (cars, Subway sandwiches, etc.) with a film which is supposed to take place in the Old West, it just comes across as really stupid and almost desperate.
It gets even worse when you recall that the company willing to whore out this film to anyone willing to throw a few bucks into the till (never mind that the tie-in makes zero sense to anyone watching) is f--ing DISNEY, which has raked in roughly 800 billion dollars on the Once-Cute, Now Totally Ubiquitous Pirates of the Caribbean franchise alone over the past decade. Disney needs more money like I need more good looks.
I do believe in the existence of a phenomenon I like to call Marketing Fatigue. It works like this: a long-discussed film is about to be released. There's a lot of buzz about it, and a built-in audience that is very interested in seeing it. About two months before the Big Release Date, we start to see teaser clips for the film. These wet our appetites to see the flick, mission accomplished. But then we start to see these promotional tie-ins. Lots and lots of promotional tie-ins. Suddenly the film we want to see is being associated with SUVs, Happy Meals, Credit Cards, and a whole lot of stuff we really don't give a damn about. We start to see a lot of non-actors who populate advertisements hyping the film while eating at Wendy's or drinking Miller Lite. And we start to get beaten over the head with reminders to somehow "celebrate the release of------" by ordering PapaJohns pizza or dropping in a Seven-Eleven for a Slurpee.
Eventually (my theory goes) we get so bored and insulted at the constant hammering away that our appetite for the film we thought we really wanted to see fades away, and when it finally does show up at the local Multiplex, we greet it with a shrug and a yawn and a strange sense that we've already seen the film and don't have to plop down $10 for another viewing. Maybe we do go see it, maybe we don't, but certainly the excitement is long gone. Certainly the idea of waiting for the DVD release is no longer an inconceivable notion.
Now, I'm quite certain that this movie will make a buttload of money (see the title of this post.) But that just makes all this unnecessary and annoying cross-marketing that much more off-putting. If we see any of the main characters sell a car or eat at Subway during the film, it will make a little more sense. Otherwise, this is just really, really pointless.