Her Smell – Marketing Recap

her smell poster 2Writer/director Alex Ross Perry takes a break from telling stories of privileged but dissatisfied upper class white people with this week’s Her Smell. The movie stars Elisabeth Moss as Becky Something, the influential and innovative leader of a punk rock band who now is trying to get her life together.

Becky finds sobriety isn’t as creatively rewarding as the excess of drugs and alcohol that seemed to power her most successful work. As she struggles to keep the party going she also continues to be terrible toward her bandmates as well as everyone else around her.

The Posters

her smell posterWe see Becky’s face, her tongue stuck out defiantly at everyone, on the poster, which is designed to look like a concert poster from the Bill Graham era of the 60s and 70s. Moss’ name is at the top while the festivals the movie has appeared at are below the photo, again shown like band names would have been in the heyday of early festivals. It’s a nice design that’s appropriate for the subject matter, which is nice.

The second poster is a closeup of Becky’s face with an intentionally ugly expression on it, the kind of thing female artists do all the time to obscure their looks and express a particular attitude. It’s meant to convey how Becky isn’t someone to play nice for the cameras or anyone else but is intent on remaining true to who she is, or who she feels she needs to be. There’s no copy or tagline, just the cast list, the TIFF logo and a pull quote from an early positive review.

The Trailers

Becky seems to be reevaluating her life in the trailer as we see her performing, recording, engaging in all manner of self-destructive behavior and pushing away those around her. It’s clearly the story of someone who is trying to get control of the whirlwind around her, even if that means drugs and violence.

Moss’ performance is really something, even just in what we see here. It’s evident this isn’t a sanitized look at a lifestyle or anything but one that allows the actress to explore all sorts of emotions and behaviors.

Online and Social

The official website has the usual barebones information on it, including the trailer and a synopsis. There are also profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Those profiles were often used not just to promote the movie but also to celebrate the influence of real-life female punk and rock singers, something that’s nicely contextual with the story.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve been exposed to or come across.

Media and Publicity

The movie had its big coming-out at the Toronto Film Festival, where it earned pretty enthusiastic word of mouth and positive buzz, mostly for Moss’s performance. The actress gave various interviews like this while there, talking about the process of making the movie and so on. A similar tone was struck in a joint interview between Perry and Moss and the frequent collaborations between the two were part of this profile.

It was eventually acquired by Gunpowder & Sky, news that was followed a bit later by the debut of an exclusive song from the movie.

There hasn’t been much of a press and publicity push offered. What interviews Moss did do were often dominated by conversations about “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which she stars in, and other projects or topics.


I mean…where’s the four-song EP of Becky Something tunes? Seems like it would have been a great tactic. If Into the Spider-Verse can do it, seems like a nature tie-in for a movie that’s actually about the music scene.

Aside from that, the strongest element the campaign has going for it is simply Moss. She continues to show she has a range that would be the envy of just about anyone and fully inhabits the characters she plays in a way few do. Most interesting, there’s little to no redemption story for Becky that’s on display here, so the message sent is that this is a flawed, troubled woman who may not pull out an upbeat ending, something that’s fairly rare.

Picking Up the Spare

More from Moss and Perry on the film’s themes and inspirations here. 

Some of the cast were filmed as they experience a movie-themed escape room filled with clues related to the MCU as a whole and this film specifically. 

Perry was profiled on his own, as was Moss and the unique choices she’s made throughout her career. The two were jointly featured on their efforts to recreate the grunge era the story is set in. 

There were a number of additional profiles of Moss that came out following the movie’s release. 

Also some getting attention was the design of the movie’s retro album covers. 

An official video for one of the songs featured in the movie was released. 

Hearts Beat Loud – Marketing Recap

hearts beat loud posterThe disconnect between parental aspirations and offspring aspirations forms a big part of the story of Hearts Beat Loud, the new movie from writer/director Brett Haley. Nick Offerman plays Frank Fisher, the owner of a local record store and father of daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons), who’s just about to go off to college. He’s reluctant to see her go but she’s also anxious, as kids are, to break free and go out and form her own identity.

Frank, a devoted music lover, has long harbored notions of he and his daughter starting their own band. When they upload one of their regular musical collaborations to the web it takes off and becomes a hit after being added to some popular playlists. That unexpected popularity makes Sam think there could be something to explore after all, even as she still wants to get away and live her own life for a while.

The Posters

That the story is primarily about music is the main message of the poster. Clemons and Offerman are shown each playing a different instrument, clearly having a good time jamming together. The background for that is a shelf of LP spines that are all generic, not for anything in particular, but which help convey that we’re deep in music nerd territory here. That’s reinforced by the copy “Music runs in the family.”

The Trailers

Dads are so embarrassing and annoying, we’re reminded as the trailer opens and we see Frank trying to convince Sam that it’s time to make some music instead of continuing to study so she can get into med school. It’s clear their lives revolve around music as they not only make it together but he owns a record store that is about to go under. He encourages Sam to keep writing songs and start a band with him, which she’s reluctant to do until one song they created becomes a streaming hit. She still wants to go to college and all that but he wants to give music a real try, leading to tension but also bonding between the two.

It’s hard to feel anything other than joy at the light, effortless performances Offerman and Clemons seem to be offering here as well as their chemistry together. That’s the spark that makes the story sizzle in the trailer, watching them play off each other and act out the dynamic between father and daughter that’s changing as each one tries to seize a moment they feel is uniquely theirs. It looks like a delight.

Online and Social

The movie’s official website has all the usual information but not much more. You can get tickets, view the trailer, read a synopsis, check out some stills and so on. The front page has links to the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen or can find. There’s likely to be some geo-targeted online advertising done around the debut in NYC and LA, though, that might expand as the movie goes wider.

Media and Publicity

The film was often called out as being one of the most-anticipated of the Sundance Film Festival, in part because director Brett Haley has become a frequent favorite there in the last few years. Offerman and the rest of the cast spoke frequently while they were there about the story and why they joined the project and the movie was soon snapped up by Gunpowder & Sky. After that it was also screened at the SXSW Film Festival.

Unfortunately there hasn’t been much of a publicity push since then, and the few times there were appearances by the cast they were usually asked about other projects or general industry topics. I’m hoping it’s just a case of the publicity coming a bit later, maybe after the movie is already in limited release.


You really can’t beat the shaggy charm the movie is being sold as having. It’s great to see Offerman playing the kind of regular, dorky but still cool dad that allows him to stretch a little. And Clemons looks wonderful as his daughter that loves him dearly but would also like to not be in his shadow for a while. There’s a lot to the movie that we’re not seeing, of course, but what’s shown here reinforces the positive buzz that accompanied its Sundance debut and provides a solid case for audiences who might need a break from big budget action movies to seek it out.


Nick Offerman has done a bit of press in the last few days to promote the movie, which is nice to see.


Great interview at the LA Times with Kiersey Clemons and Sasha Lane about working on the film and representation on screen.
Director Brett Haley talks about the music and relationships in the film.