We’ve seen groups of female friends learn How To Be Single. We’ve seen them embrace the dark side and become Bad Moms. We’ve seen them have a Rough Night. Now we’re going to see them take a Girls Trip. This latest installment in the “ladies behaving badly” genre follows four longtime friends as they travel to New Orleans for Essence Festival, a weekend of music, eating and inspirational speakers hosted by the magazine of the same name.
The four friends in question are Ryan (Regina Hall), Sasha (Queen Latifah), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Dina (Tiffany Haddish), all of who are, of course, at different places in their lives. They all agree to get together for a long-overdue road trip, though. Despite the reservations of some of the group, they all wind up getting loose once in town as they enjoy all the spirits and men New Orleans has to offer.
The first poster makes a very simple sales pitch, showing the group of women who are hanging out ogling a man we only see the legs of. It’s an image we’ve seen repeatedly with the genders reversed and it’s meant to convey that these women are having themselves a hedonistic good time. “You’ll be glad you came” we’re told, though the wink and nudge are implied. That same tagline is used on character posters that break out all of the four women, who are still all placed at the feet of a man who’s only wearing his skivvies.
The first trailer isn’t so much concerned with story as it is with establishing the basic premise of the movie. So we see just how close all four women are and that they’ve decided to go on a trip together. From there on out it’s a chronicle of their journey to Mardi Gras, where they “get white girl wasted” and encounter lots of men to dance with and exchange longing glances with.
Not bad. I wish there at least more effort made to establish the relationship besides simply a few shots of them having brunch and so on, but you get the basic idea of the movie and this looks fairly amusing.
A fairly funny red-band trailer came out shortly after that which was less interested in selling the story as it was showing off all the outrageous antics the group engages in. Smith’s Lisa is being positioned as the uptight one of the group, the one the rest of the friends are trying to get to cut loose over the weekend.
The second trailer again starts out by establishing the friendship between the four and that they are about to embark on a trip together. It’s all about having a good time and getting a bit crazy. The story is minimal here, just the antics that are engaged in on a wild time in New Orleans.
Online and Social
The official website opens with full-screen video that’s pulled from the trailers. On the front page are prompts to “Get Movie Tickets,” “Watch the Trailer” or “Take the Quiz” to find out which of the four characters you’re most like.
If you go over to the drop-down menu on the left you’ll find the first section there is another call to action to buy tickets. That’s followed by an “About” section that has a brief synopsis along with the credits of who it was that made the movie.
If you want to “Meet the Girls” you’ll find all four of the main characters. Click one of their profiles and you’re greeted with short clips and a brief overview of their personality. That’s followed by the “Take the Quiz” section again and then “Videos” has the two trailers and “Photos” has a half-dozen stills.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
A few online and social ads crossed my radar that used either variations on the key art or the trailers along with links to buy tickets. It also seems outdoor billboards used an image that combined the four character posters into one picture.
Media and Publicity
Hall was the subject of an extensive profile that covered not only this movie but also her career as a whole while also asking her inane questions about her own history with girls trips. Smith and Latifa were interviewed together about the first time they met and how long they’ve been friends. Costar Kofi Siriboe, who plays one of Smith’s hookups in the movie, also shared some of the secrets of the sex scene he shared with the actress.
There was a special premiere screening of the movie in Atlanta to acknowledge the city’s role in the story where the cast and crew appeared and talked a bit about it. Smith also appeared on TV talk shows for interviews about her life and career. Hall also shared how the most amusing part of this whole process has been the reaction of men, who are apparently still shocked women can act like this.
I think we’re all well past the “Well gosh, I didn’t know women were interested in sex and drinking and behaving badly” stage. Well…at least I think most of us are. So the campaign can’t really count on shock value to get audiences in. It’s certainly aiming in that direction, but with so many recent examples of movies that have trod the same ground, there’s not a whole lot new to say in this category. That’s not me saying there can only be one type of movie featuring women behaving badly, it’s the same complaint I have about movies starring groups of men that are out of control. They’re all variations on a theme.
So what’s left is the power of the campaign itself. It’s funny enough, making a similar case to that of Rough Night that the friends will reconnect and bring out each other’s wild sides over the course of the trip they’re embarking on. And it hits the subject of female sexuality pretty strongly, showing that these women are unabashedly out to find them some men to use and abuse in New Orleans, to sexy and comedic results. That’s the main message of the campaign and is remarkably simple and straightforward compared to some of the other high-concept appeals for previous “girls night out” films.