Posts tagged “promotion”

How glitz (so easily) becomes failure

If Steve (sans glasses) was a Simpsons character

The blogosphere is abuzz today (in the post-iPhone, post-Ratatoullie, post-Transformers frenzy) with the launch of 7-11 stores converted into Kwik-E-Marts to promote the Simpsons Movie. The nearest Kwik-E-Mart is an hour away, but we walked to our local 7-11 to see if they were carrying the promised set of Simpsons-themed merch. We walked through the entire store and were just on our way out when we discovered the display. Yep, we’re enough off the grid here in Pacifica that what we get is just another messy shelf of crappy products. Perhaps life imitates the Simpsons, once again?


We’ve gotta get these MF butts in the MF seats.

We saw Little Miss Sunshine on Saturday (highly recommended) in our first visit to a theater in months and months. The guy in front of us (English likely being a second language) asked for tickets to Snacks On A Plane (good luck, buddy, snack boxes are $5 now).

Anyway, at the risk of adding to a heavily crowded blog-topic, “Snakes on a Plane,” the wildly hyped high-concept movie, turned out to be a Web-only phenomenon this weekend, as that horror-comedy starring Samuel L. Jackson took in just $15.2 million at the box office in its opening days. The article runs through the history of the film and the hype and the marketing and the buzz pretty nicely, but did any of us expect it to do well? It seems like there’s some confusion between irony, post-irony, and post-post-irony…okay, that’s a lot of bullshit, but my way of saying that it can be fun to be involved with something that you know is crap, but that’s a very different sort of loyalty than, say, Harley-Davidson owners with company-logo tattoos and wardrobes that consist entirely of HOG-branded t-shirts.
Update: shortly after posting this I see on BoingBoing that a guy did indeed get a SoaP tattoo – I don’t think this changes my thesis, but it is ironic.

Studio sez: Hey, here’s a bad movie.
We say: Hey, that is a really bad movie. Ha-ha! We can’t believe how bad it is! You should, oh, I dunno, add some more cursing into it, heh heh, it’s soooo bad. It’s bad. A bad movie. Heh.
Studio sez: Yeah! It’s a BAAAAD bad movie. Here’s some more cursing. And more over-the-top bad stuff. We know you know it’s bad.
We say: Hey, they put more cursing into it! It’s pretty silly and funny and bad. It’s a bad movie.
Studio sez: You know that we know that you know it’s bad.
We say: Yeah, it’s a bad movie. Snakes on a plane, yo. Heh.
Your mom sez: Are you fellas going to see this snake movie?
We say: Hey! Bad movie! Snakes on a plane!
Studio sez: Here it is! The movie you have been talking about.

[crickets chirping]

Come on! How much appeal is there for crap, compared to the appeal of making fun of crap? Just because the studio got in on the fun, doesn’t mean anyone was really persuaded or had much intention. I guess a Rocky Horror cult particpation thing could have emerged (and still could; it’s early days, some of these films take on second and third and beyond lives), but it didn’t seem likely.

And as I posted before, the meme definitely jumped the shark. I don’t know if they talked about the movie on The View, but I wouldn’t be surprised. If being ironic is supposed to be cool, I don’t want Barbara Walters or Parade Magazine in on the joke with me.

Strange promotion

sunflower seeds.jpg
I received a jar of sunflower seeds in the mail today, as part of some promotion for a market research company’s new website. Or so I think. It’s very confusing. The jar is filled with what seem to be “beer baked” sunflower seeds, with their own brand name, and the label alternates cheesy references to this brand and the different brands and URLs for the company. It’s a mess, it seems to have no relevance. Yeah, I looked at the website of the company (and I’m very deliberately not mentioning any specifics here because why give ’em the juice if they don’t really deserve it) but would I want to do business with them over a poorly executed gimmick?

I don’t know if this counts as a Purple Cow or not (supposedly a good marketing thing to do) but I find it strange and inappropriate, more than anything.

Steve Portigal, we have a special gift in store for you.

I received a Verizon promotion recently, the text on a white box over pale gray stripes on the background of the card (think of a linen suit that Gatsby might have worn). Flip it open and it reads

Come into your local
Verizone Wireless Communications Store
and leave with a Loyalty Credit.

New 2-year agreement required

This cracked us up around here; it reads like a typographic version of the ad speak so beautifully parodied by SNL and the Simpsons, where a smarmy announcer trumpets a ridiculous claim and a fast-talking serious voice denies that claim immediately: Blammo will Save Your Life!saving-of-life-not-guaranteed.

I’ll get a Loyalty Credit (? turns out that means $30) if I sign up for two more years? Nice to be offered the chance to demonstrate my loyalty in order to get some reward. The presentation suggests I am being rewarded for actual loyalty, something that has already happened, but in fact, they are rewarding for future loyalty, because that’s what a company actually cares about! What have you done for me lately!

When life imitates art, things get blown up

Recently we had this story from Ohio

Five teenage girls from Portage County face potential criminal charges after attempting to play a real-life version of Super Mario Bros.

The Portage County Hazardous Materials Unit and Bomb Detection Unit were called in to downtown Ravenna on Friday morning after seventeen suspicious packages — boxes wrapped in gold wrapping paper with question marks spray painted on them — had alarmed residents.

And now, a few weeks later, comes this one

A newspaper promotion for Tom Cruise’s upcoming ‘Mission: Impossible III’ got off to an explosive start when a county arson squad blew up a news rack, thinking it contained a bomb.

The confusion: the Los Angeles Times rack was fitted with a digital musical device designed to play the ‘Mission: Impossible’ theme song when the door was opened. But in some cases, the red plastic boxes with protruding wires were jarred loose and dropped onto the stack of newspapers inside, alarming customers.

Times officials said the devices were placed in 4,500 randomly selected news boxes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in a venture with Paramount Pictures designed to turn the ‘everyday news rack experience’ into an ‘extraordinary mission.’

Thanks, Dirk!


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