Brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver, respectively) come from a long line of losers in the new movie Logan Lucky, directed by Steven Soderbergh. They decide they’re going to turn things around, though, and set out to reverse their fortunes by robbing the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600.

The problem is they don’t exactly have the smarts to pull off such an elaborate heist. So they enlist the services of a convicted thief named Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) to help them out. Between the three of them and with the reluctant help of Logan’s sister Mellie (Riley Keough), they execute their scheme. But will they actually get away with it?

The Posters

The first poster immediately sells a heist comedy. Tatum and Driver are at the bottom of the photo, laying in a pile of money that it’s assumed they didn’t get legitimately. Sitting on the hood of a car that provides the only pop of color in the photo are Craig and Keough, her wearing a short skirt and him wearing prison stripe pants. “See how the other half steals” hammers the point home and the title at the bottom looks like a 70’s racing logo and Soderbergh is referenced through a few of his previous movies at the very top.

The final poster might be one of my favorite one-sheets of the year. A collage of squares contains various photos, some one-square, some three and so on. All the main cast are shown off in some way here, all the photos either black-and-white or tinted orange or yellow. Below the title treatment is the copy “They have something to prove…and nothing to lose.” which is a great way to position the story. Honestly, just the color and the overall design here is great. It’s got a retro feel but also seems very modern, which is actually quite representative of much of Soderbergh’s filmography.

The Trailers

The first and only trailer starts out by name-dropping the Ocean’s movies along with Magic Mike, which makes sense given the thematic similarities to the former and the shared star of the latter. The Logan brothers are down on their luck and so Jimmy decides to rob a NASCAR race. To do so they reach out to Joe Bang and plan to get him out of prison. We meet some of the other characters before we’re introduced to newcomer Daniel Craig and get some more insight into how not bright the brothers are.

It’s so good. Really good. It has that light feel that Soderbergh brings to a lot of his movies and shows a fun, funny heist caper. The conceit of introducing Craig is a great choice considering how different this is compared to how we usually see the actor, even discounting the Bond movies.

Online and Social

The official website loads by playing clips pulled from the trailers along with buttons to buy tickets via either Fandango or MovieTickets.

Scroll down and the first sections you encounter are “Trailer” and “More Videos,” which has a clip and a few TV spots. After that are links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles as well as a prompt to sign up for email reminders from Bleecker Street.

A brief “Synopsis” gives only a very high-level overview of the story. That’s followed by a carousel of quotes praising the movie. The site finishes off with a “Cast” section that actually includes full bios of the major players in the film.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

30-second TV spots began running in late June and were used on YouTube as pre-roll ads. The spots, including this one, boil the story down to show a simple heist plot being coordinated by a couple of sad-sack losers who aren’t all that bright. So it’s very much being sold as a comedy, which makes sense.

Media and Publicity

The movie got some instant press when it was announced it was going to be Soderbergh’s first post-retirement movie. Much later a first look still was released along with the news Bleecker Street had picked it up for distribution. That was followed by a first look in EW’s summer movie preview that also featured an interview with Soderbergh where he talked about his retirement, his approach to filmmaking and more.

There was a bit of a kerfluffle over whether or not the credited screenwriter, Rebecca Blunt, was or wasn’t a real person. Not only does she, as a first-time writer, not have any previous credits, but a suspicious lack of press from her and some vague comments from Soderbergh fueled a bit of speculation. Follow-up comments from the director were meant to clear things up but still came off as a bit odd and non-committal.

Also making news in the lead-up to the movie were reports about Soderbergh’s efforts to upend the theatrical distribution model. While not everything he planned came to fruition and he eventually brought Bleecker Street on board, it was revealed he raised the production budget himself and used the money he got from Amazon for the marketing campaign. With all that, he promised transparency into the movie’s financials, including box-office, that’s unlike anything currently offered by studios.

A substantial profile of Soderbergh touched on his “retirement” comments of a few years and what it was that lured him back to the world of feature film, including not only the script but also the idea that he could do it all himself without the meddling of a studio. Keough, Tatum and more of the stars of this and other projects from the director shared their thoughts about working with him, all of which was highly complimentary.

All three of the male leads – Tatum, Driver and Craig – made the press and talk show rounds, though the focus for the latter was on his future in the James Bond franchise.

Overall

Yesterday I took issue with the campaign for The Hitman’s Bodyguard, saying it seemed like it was coasting by on charm and wit without presenting anything all that essential for the audience to latch on to. It seemed slight and fleeting.

Today I’m going to praise the campaign for Logan Lucky for seeming like it coasts by on charm and and a sense of fun. Inconsistent logic? Sure, but let’s look at the difference. There’s much more of a sense of style on display here than in the Reynolds/Jackson action comedy also coming out this week. There’s that undercurrent of energy and vitality in the filmmaking that comes through in the trailer, from the name-checking of Soderbergh’s other movies to the way the entire campaign “introduces” Daniel Craig to audiences. I’m likely grading on a curve because I’m a fan of the director and am inclined already to see this movie, sure. The campaign uses his history and the audience’s awareness of his previous work is a major part of the marketing here, so I’m not going out on too thin a limb here.

That gets to the core of what’s being sold here: A spiffy, well-crafted caper by a director with a more or less sterling reputation among film fans. The overt call back throughout the marketing to the Ocean’s movies isn’t just about being contextual to the heist genre, it’s also about setting this movie up as a counterpoint to that trilogy, shifting the setting from the high-end world of world-famous thieves and con artists to a couple of nobody losers who want a big payday. It may not resonate with everyone, but it can’t be said Soderbergh isn’t continuing to have an interesting, self-directed career. Logan Lucky has been sold, both in the marketing and publicity, as a continuation of that career.

Finally, you have to stand up and applaud a campaign that fully commits to a gag. The continued use of “And introducing Daniel Craig” in the trailer, posters and even on the website is just fun. It’s an acknowledgement that we don’t usually see Craig in a role like this and so tips the audience off to that. This is one of my favorite marketing efforts of the year on that point alone.

One Comment on “Logan Lucky – Marketing Recap

  1. Pingback: Last Week on Cinematic Slant – Chris Thilk

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