I make this point at the end of the full marketing write-up for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom at The Hollywood Reporter, but it’s worth reiterating here just how much the campaign seems completely uninterested in conveying any information about the story. From the first teaser, which didn’t explain the “why” behind any of the mayhem ensuing on screen to posters that barely even included any of the human characters and more, there seems to have been an active effort to keep the story out of view.
Whether or not that’s because someone realized the story was the weakest selling point or they just decided the audience would be wooed by spectacle, it’s kind of extraordinary.
Here are the parts of the recap not included in the THR post.
Online and Social
The movie’s official web presence is as a section on the Jurassic franchise’s bigger site. That section has information like a story synopsis, all the trailers as well as some other videos, a gallery of stills and details on the cast and crew. There are also links to the general Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat profiles for the movies, all of which have been dedicated to this installment over the last year, though there have been occasional references to the previous films as well.
Media and Publicity
Treverrow shared the first glimpse at footage from the movie just before Thanksgiving last year, showing Pratt’s character sharing a tender moment with a baby dinosaur that doesn’t look at all dangerous.
As is par for the course now, the first trailer was teased a few days in advance both with new footage and with clip complications from the earlier films in the series. Some took a more meta approach, showing Pratt and Howard reviewing marketing materials before things get weird. Some were more along the lines of a behind-the-scenes featurette. All that work had the opposite impact of what the studio was intending. Instead of building anticipation there seemed to be an attitude of “Get on with it!”
An EW cover story containing new photos, interviews and other material came out a couple months out from release and was timed to hit at the same time as the second full trailer. Around the same time the movie was a big part of Universal’s presentation at CinemaCon, including cast appearances and the screening of additional footage. In a separate interview, designer Neal Scanlan talked about creating the looks of all the dinosaurs – both old and new – that show up in the story.
As the poster boy for the new non-star movie star, Pratt was given the MTV Generation Award at the MTV Movie and TV Awards.
The studio kept up a steady beat of featurettes like this one, which teased how there were going to be more dinosaurs than in any previous Jurassic movie. Pratt and Howard filmed a short “Funny Or Die” video as a different version of their characters trying to take Blue aboard a plane as a service animal, something that doesn’t go well. Along the same lines, Goldblum appeared as himself in a “don’t talk during the movie” video for the popular Alamo Drafthouse theater. Pratt showed up as a contestant on a popular YouTube-hosted game show.
Pratt, Howard and others shared their thoughts on how the movie fits in with the series as a whole at the premiere. Meanwhile B.D. Wong was interviewed as part of his involvement with the Dorito’s cross-promotional campaign mentioned above about how he views the evolution of his character Dr. Henry Wu.
Goldblum was finally uh given the star on the uh Hollywood Walk of Fame he uh so richly deserves, which gave him the chance to talk about the Jurassic movies, his career and his internet fame. At the same time Treverrow, Bayona and others involved spoke about how they wanted to approach the story and expand the world of the franchise a bit in this and the other “World” movies.
The “Jurassic World Week” NBCUniversal arranged on “The Tonight Show” culminated in appearances by both Pratt and Howard. A bit by host Jimmy Fallon was also used for a paid social media campaign by Dairy Queen, one of the movie’s promotional sponsors.
Aside from the complete lack of story on display throughout the campaign what’s most notable is how Universal just kept hammering on things despite widespread dislike. No one I saw was a fan of the week-long teaser campaigns run in advance of the trailers, yet the studio engaged in that tactic not once but twice. There seems to have almost been a concerted effort to defy public opinion, running a marketing push that was “for the fans, not the critics.”
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.