A couple weeks ago Sony Pictures, to promote the upcoming home video release of Venom, dropped a new promotional spot that recut footage to make the movie appear to be a romantic comedy, something it very much is not.
For several years fans and others have been recutting footage from popular movies into new trailers that change the tone of the film. So The Shining becomes a comedy, Elf becomes a psychological thriller and so on.
Now studios are jumping on that bandwagon, just like they’ve recently embraced fan reaction videos. Before Sony got going, Netflix in October released fake trailers that made both To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing Booth into horror films.
The hope appears to be to create more moments designed to get people talking in new and different ways, a core tenant of content marketing.
These sorts of remixes and recuts are the studios having a bit of fun, tweaking their own noses a bit. It’s self-referential and has the potential to become overly cloy, but that’s a risk they’re apparently willing to take in the interest of encouraging more buzz about their movies.
What these videos, either official or fan-made, show is that there are a lot of ways marketing influences how we perceive the products being made available, be they movies, toothpaste, power tools or anything else. We often talk about how a movie’s campaign misrepresented some key elements of the story or characters, all of which comes as the result of the marketing decisions made regarding tone and presentation.
Intentionally pulling back the curtain and turning the dials in strange directions does, on some level, risk creating more distrust in the marketing process. They show that anything can be presented in any way possible, so long as it meets the needs of the company doing the selling.
It’s fun to change the tenor of a relationship or character dynamic by selectively choosing to include or exclude footage, but it can’t be forgotten that effective marketing is based on a certain level of trust. Having too much fun threatens that tenuous trust in ways that can’t easily be repaired once broken.