Greed – Marketing Recap

How Sony Pictures Classics is selling a story of hubris among the obscenely rich.

greed poster

Director Michael Winterbottom has worked with Steve Coogan on a number of occasions, notably The Trip series, which has a fourth entry coming later in the year. This week sees the release of Greed. In the movie Coogan stars as Sir Richard McCreadie, a billionaire who made his fortune in the fashion industry. McCreadle is about to celebrate his 60th birthday and wants to do so in a suitably opulent manner.

Part of that includes a profile being written about him by Nick (David Mitchell), who has been assigned the story by his editor. Nick is then witness to both the disaster that is the planning of the party, much of which is supervised by Richard’s wife Samantha (Isla Fisher) and to the fact that such gaudy displays of wealth are in stark contrast to the conditions of the workers in McCreadle’s empire.

The marketing for the movie has been relatively short but certainly sells a dry comedy of class warfare and the bubble that comes with success.

The Posters

“The devil is in the retail” says the copy on the one poster, hoping to emphasize the story’s setting in the retail industry as well as the fact that McCreadle isn’t a good guy. He’s shown smiling broadly, his golden tanned skin and sunglasses making it clear he’s lounging somewhere luxurious. It’s an utterly ridiculous picture of someone blissfully unaware of how he looks.

The Trailers

January’s first trailer (4,300 views on YouTube) opens by introducing us to McCreadie, an obscenely rich individual who is having his life chronicled by Nick. McCreadie’s fortune, we see, wasn’t made in what could be considered consistently ethical ways, though, and he and his family are preparing for some image rehabilitation. Some bad press means that isn’t going to go according to plan, but he thinks the bigger the show the less such things will matter. It’s a clear satire of the super-rich and looks hilarious.

Online and Social

The page for the movie on Sony Classics’ site is just a placeholder, a place for the studio to have the trailer, since that’s about it.

Advertising and Promotions

The movie was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics in September, right around the time it was debuting at last year’s Toronto Film Festival.

Media and Press

There were some interviews with Coogan where he talked about the story of the movie and more, but many of those went off-topic and started getting into updates on The Trip and so on.

Exclusive clips offered to Empire and Yahoo Entertainment provided looks at select scenes to show more of the story.

Overall

I want more. That’s my main takeaway from the campaign: that it’s not enough.

What is there, though, is clearly designed to appeal to fans of Coogan’s, especially his previous collaborations with Winterbottom. The story is relevant to today’s news as we debate income inequality and other topics, but viewed through the lens of dry satire.

That’s going to be very attractive for some in the audience, myself included.

Picking Up The Spare

Missed this clip of the family at the center of the story having a very privileged conversation.

An interview with Coogan had him dismissing concerns that the real life subject being parodied might be offended by his portrayal. An appearance on “The Tonight Show” covered the movie as well as Coogan’s knack for impressions.

greed online ad.png

Additional online ads have been run that use the key art image of Coogan’s bronzed and smiling face.

Sony put out an  extended preview shortly after the movie was in theaters. 

The Beach Bum – Marketing Recap

the beach bum posterThe logline for The Beach Bum is simple and to the point: “A rebellious stoner named Moondog lives life by his own rules.” The rest of the marketing of the latest movie from writer/director Harmony Korine shows it really is that basic but also a bit more complex than what you might think based on that.

Matthew McConaughey stars as Moondog, a stoned layabout who just wants to enjoy his life, man, and not follow the rules laid out by anyone else. He’s surrounded by a group of friends and others who have similar goals, seeking little other than drugs, booze, sunshine and freedom. Isla Fisher, Zac Efron and Snoop Dogg costar.

The Posters

The first poster is a psychedelic trip, with the faces of all the characters arranged in order of billing, with Moondog shown at the bottom below the collage, splayed out on the beach. Swirling lights and bright colors hint at drug-fueled story filled with exotic characters and bold personalities, a theme that’s reinforced through the copy “You gotta go low to get high.” The design is similar to what can be found on the posters for super hero films like The Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok and others, all of which place a main character at the center of an assemblage of other, minor characters. So the audience is certainly getting the message that Moondog is the focus of the story, kind of a hero in his own way for those around him.

The Trailers

The first teaser trailer sells the movie as something like The Big Lebowski meets Spring Breakers, showing the kind of crazy antics Moondog gets into on a regular basis, all while maintaining a steady high and having a lot of fun. Another teaser hits largely the same tone.

The next trailer, a red-band version released in January, is all over the place but completely, insanely enjoyable. Moondog is someone who drifts from one epic situation to the next free of concerns but always with a steady high going. When he gets in trouble with the law he decides it’s time to publish the novel he’s been working on for a long while, but that’s just incidental to the hijinks he’s shown as getting into on the regular.

Online and Social

NEON’s website for the movie contains the usual mix of trailers, a synopsis and links to buy tickets. “Social Assets” actually takes you to a Box folder where you can find GIFs, photos and other information, but it’s not presented in a very user-friendly way like it is on other sites. There are also links to the movie’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve been made aware of, but it’s entirely possible there have been paid social posts and online ads that haven’t come across my radar. I would expect there would be something, especially given Korine has a number of fans based on his previous film Spring Breakers.

Media and Publicity

Indiewire hosted the first look still from the film. Much later it was announced the movie would screen at SXSW, an appearance that included a red carpet and other promotional events, including scratch-and-sniff cards that smelled like weed being handed out to people there. A photo shoot featuring McConaughey showed the actor in all his hippie slacker glory along with an interview where he talked about working with Korine and more.

Moviefone hosted an exclusive clip showing Moondog talking with a sketchy dolphin-seeing tour captain, illustrating the kind of people he hangs out with but also his non judgemental nature.

Korine was interviewed about the movie and his general creative sensibilities, including mention of the “Young Twitchy” art show featuring his work that happened in New York City. There was also a profile of Stefania LaVie Owen, who plays the daughter of McConaughey and Fisher’s characters.

Overall

As I half-mentioned above, Korine has a good number of fans who were drawn to the crazy, nihilistic, sun-drenched rebellion in Spring Breakers a few years ago. So the campaign is smart to make him a focal point, particularly when it comes to the press and publicity work. His is the creative vision that has garnered the interest of so many people who want to follow his work, and this is an opportunity to do so.

McConaughey, of course, is also front and center in the marketing. The #mcconaugheysance that was in full force in the first half of the 2010s has faded recently due to some off-kilter choices. So the campaign here sells audiences on a return to his bongo-playing form, promising a movie whose main theme is that the sun-drenched actor is just hanging out and having a good time. Though it’s likely deeper than that, there’s nothing wrong with that simple selling point either.

Picking Up the Spare

McConaughey and Snoop made a joint (not sorry) appearance on “Kimmel,” with the former going out in the street for a stunt.

There were also further interviews with Korine where he talked about working with McConaughey and what he wanted to do with the story. Costume designer Heidi Bivens shared just how many thongs were required for production.

Given he’s in the movie it’s only natural McConaughey would talk about how Jimmy Buffett inspired part of his character. The subject of Efron’s hair also came up.

Tag – Marketing Recap

tag poster 2Movies based on true events often tell outsized or “important” stories, ones that either tell some essential story people need to know or which are somehow meaningful to the human experience. The new movie Tag is not one that would fall into any of those categories.

Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress, Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms and Jake Johnson play a group of guys who gained prominence years ago when their decade-spanning game of tag came to the public’s attention. The game has kept them connected to each other even as they’ve gotten married and gone about their lives. One thing has eluded them, though: Jerry (Renner) has never been tagged. Isla Fisher, Leslie Bibb, Rashida Jones and Annabelle Wallis costar.

The Posters

tag posterThe teaser poster really hits the core selling point of the movie – that it’s based on a true story – by stating that outright and even emphasizing it by including “We’re not kidding.” That’s the very definition of “trying too hard.”

A second poster is the same thing, only with the faces of the leading cast at the bottom looking at the camera with various bewildered or amused expressions on their faces.

The Trailers

The first – and only – trailer is preceded by Renner as himself filming a video while in the middle of playing a game of tag with his costars. Once the footage actually starts we get the backstory, that this group of friends has been playing the same game every May for 30 years, with it being the thing that’s kept them connected over all that time. Of course that’s really weird for outsiders, but whatever. Everyone is gunning for Jerry, who’s never been tagged in all that time.

It’s funny enough, certainly appearing better than some of the recent films by the people here. Seeing Renner in a comedy is nice as he’s not usually allowed to be funny, but I’m going to throw flags on the criminal underuse of both Hamm and Isla Fisher. And we’re going to stipulate that the story is only a slightly more socially-acceptable version of hyper-competitive toxic masculinity, no matter how cute it’s dressed up.

Online and Social

The movie’s official website opens with the trailer, also accessible via the “Trailer” button on the splash page and along the top content menu. Also there are sections with a “Synopsis” and a “Gallery” but that’s about it. Strangely, they’re not listed or linked to on the main site but there are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

The movie was one of the first to be advertised via Snapchat’s recently-unveiled unskippable six-second video ad units.

Media and Publicity

AS the filmmakers were more than willing to point out repeatedly, this is based on a true story whose history was revisited in features like this on several occasions. That theme was reinforced with a short promo video featuring the real life members of the gang that has kept the game going and showed them watching footage from the movie where their lives are being depicted.

Hamm hit the publicity circuit to talk about the movie, including commenting on Renner’s broken arms and how production accommodated that. The story of Renner’s injury provided a significant hook for the publicity cycle as stories circulated about how CGI had to be used to bring them back to life and the actor himself shared the details in his appearances. Even Fisher had to comment on it while she was doing press. Thankfully Buress was able to avoid the topic when he showed up on “Kimmel.”

For little apparent reason other than there’s a wedding in the movie, the cast crashed a real-life wedding, causing all sorts of chaos and hilarity. The advice Hamm gave Johnson and the rest of the cast to make that work came up at the movie’s premiere.

Overall

I’m wondering who the studio thought the audience for this movie would be. All the actors here are very funny in their own right, but a story of a bunch of overgrown manboys who can’t let their childhood game go while letting that game bleed over into every other part of their lives seems….out of touch with the current cultural conversation.

It’s not that the movie doesn’t seem funny; it honestly looks like it has more than a few laughs. But when the only two talking points for the press cycle are “It’s based on a real story” and “Here’s how Jeremy Renner broke his arms,” the underlying weakness of the premise is exposed.

Finally, how do you make a movie with Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb and Isla Fisher and not have them as the focal point of the entire film, much less the marketing? I want to see the movie that has them as the leads.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

Jeez, even Annabelle Wallis has been forced to talk about Jeremy Renner’s broken arms during her portion of the publicity cycle. Hamm and Helms have also done a bit more publicity.

 

A clip from the movie was played in an episode of Machinima’s “Inside Gaming” to try and reach that crowd.

 

Nice profile of co-star Jake Johnson here at GQ. And there’s more from Hannibal Buress as well as an interview with the comedian.
Star Jeremy Renner’s broken arms are part of this interview with director Jeff Tomsic where he talks about all the challenges he had making the movie.