When Movies Are Marketed Poorly

I remember my first feature film

Dear Domestic Marketing Team at 20th Century Fox,

In my (evolving) professional opinion, the campaign of your recent release, “Date Night” is a classic case of movie marketing miscommunication.  I happened to be in NY a month ago in Times Square and saw much of the outdoor space filled with “Date Night” creative like the one below (nice job on the media buy).

Date Night movie poster

But, I wrote the film off because this particular image didn’t intrigue or inform me enough about the film’s plot.  I figured I’d seen Steve Carell in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” so this one might be similar.  And Tina Fay?  What’s she doing not impersonating Sarah Palin? “Whatever,” I thought.

A few weeks later I was watching a rental from Netflix, and the teaser trailer for “Date Night” played and I was so confused—wasn’t that the name of the film I’d seen in NY? The trailer actually looked like something I’d spend money on to see.

My point is, I’m in a committed romantic relationship with a decent stipend I’d be willing to spend on entertainment and evenings out; so why did I not rally my boyfriend or other couples to go see “Date Night”? Here’s why:

May we suggest….more relevant creative?

  1. All fonts should be created equal

You could have really piqued my interest had the type face on the outdoor poster matched the font style used in the trailer.  This copy looks waaay more interesting and action-packed.   And look at the color treatment; gold and black—I’m getting excited.

2. Let the visual reflect the plot

(From IMDB) Plot: In New York City, a case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple’s attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening into something more thrilling and dangerous.

Wow! Really? That sounds interesting. But I don’t get that from your poster with the frazzled couple on a gray backdrop.  Here’s a thought, what if the outdoor ads utilized rotating planks and had one version of the couple all ready for their date on one side—flip the panels—and they’re snazzy threads are singed and explosions can be seen behind them. You’d think, “what happened on that date?! I must find out!”

Case in point, someone got through to the creative department when the DVD cover was being made.  Even Germany managed to convey that something went awry on this date!

3. To be or not to be—is not a tag-line.

Follow me on this one; an ordinary couple finds themselves in an out-of-the-ordinary scenario. How can we condense this down, make it punchy AND tell everyone when to go see it?

One ordinary couple. One little white lie.
(ok…good attempt…but not punchy enough)

Hit The Town. 4.9.2010.
(umm yeah….why am I hitting the town again?)

On April 9th One Night Can Change Your Life.
(now this has potential; its got a date, and  the ambiguity makes me wonder about the twist. I’m hooked…why is that not on the poster again?)

Why didn’t you go with the latter choice, 20th Century Fox?  You may have. But I never saw it, especially upon my initial brush with the creative in Times Square.  I’ll probably rent this film, because I’m genuinely interested, but you lost me for opening day and any chance of a double date to see this movie… I think we all went to see Iron Man 2 instead.

Domestic Total for “Date Night” as of May 24, 2010: $91,014,887 (IMBD.com)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s