Dumplin’ – Marketing Recap

Recapping Netflix’s marketing campaign for the original movie Dumplin’.

dumplin posterThe last few years have seen a popular reconsidering of the wonder of nature that is Dolly Parton. She went from being a corny attraction to being seen as the powerful, uplifting voice of positivity the world was in desperate need of, someone who could provide inspiration to those who were feeling like they weren’t worth much.

That’s the attitude conveyed in the new Netflix original Dumplin’. Written by Kristen Hahn and directed by Anne Fletcher, the movie stars Danielle Macdonald as Willowdean Diickson, the daughter of pageant-queen legend Rosie (Jennifer Aniston). Constantly lost in her mother’s shadow and unable to replicate her success, Willowdean eventually finds inspiration in the words of Parton’s music and discovers her own way to express herself and

The Posters

Mother and daughter are both in their own spotlights on stage on the poster, a nice illustration of the relationship and aspirations of the two characters. The main selling point, though is up in the right hand corner where it explains the movie features new music from Parton.

The Trailers

Willowdean, we see in the trailer, has long lived in the shadow cast by her beauty pageant queen mother Rosie. She’s not as conventionally beautiful as her mom but is still full of life and spirit. So she decides to follow in those maternal footsteps, but her first attempts don’t go as planned. Eventually she discovers a way into the spotlight, by being true to who she is and having fun, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Online and Social

It doesn’t look like Netlfix has done anything online or on social media for the movie, focusing its efforts on some of the season’s other releases.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

No online ads I’ve come across.

Media and Publicity

Netflix bought the movie in mid-September and announced it would be released before the end of the year. At the same time lots of attention was given to the news Dolly Parton and Sia had collaborated on a song for the movie, a remake of an old Parton tune that’s given a new twist.

Parton officially entered the Oscar race when she performed “Girl In the Movies” at a press conference for the movie in late October. How she wrote the song with Linda Perry was covered in an interview around that same time. Another interview had her talking about why she got involved in the movie and how it connected with her, ultimately leading to the new song.

The singer continued to be the focal point of the publicity, making appearances on “The Today Show” and “The Tonight Show,” the latter of which created a number of additional headlines because of her brashness and which also included a performance of her new song. She also did other interviews about working with Aniston and what drives her to keep working and trying to improve herself.


It’s actually a pretty bold proposition for Netflix to make Parton the public face of the campaign for the movie given that, while she’s certainly back in the spotlight in recent years, she’s still your mom’s favorite singer. Despite that, she’s the reason being provided for audiences to stream it when it becomes available later this week.

That focus, though, is largely in service of a positive and affirming message about self-worth and finding what matters to you. The story being sold looks uplifting, with strong performances from both Aniston and Macdonald.

Picking Up The Spare

Another interview with Parton about the soundtrack and how her music inspired the story. Meanwhile Macdonald and Aniston made some late night appearances.

Netflix released a featurette with Parton talking about how she wrote “Girl In The Movies” with Perry and how she felt it took her musical game up a notch. Later on it put out a video of a bunch of drag queens singing Parton’s “Jolene.”

Author: Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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