Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar – Marketing Recap

How Lionsgate is selling a comedy about…well…something, I’m sure.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a movie that’s been in development and pre-production for a number of years, back to shortly after Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo had a hit in 2011 with Bridesmaids. Now it’s finally coming to PVOD via Lionsgate.

Mumolo and Wiig star as Barb and Star, respectively, two lifelong best friends who finally embark on a long-planned vacation to Vista Del Mar, Florida, where they expect to have lots of fun in the sun. Instead, in true comedic fashion, they get mixed up in a criminal plot to kill everyone in town and other hijinks.

Given the pedigree of those involved, let’s see how Lionsgate has sold the long-gestating film.

The Posters

The two friends are seen only from the neck down as they descend from the bright blue sky on the first poster (by marketing agency Leroy and Rose), released in mid-December. Of course it calls out the fact that the same team brought audiences Bridesmaids.

On the second poster (by marketing agency P+A), released in January, we still don’t see the faces of the main characters, who this time are sitting in a giant clamshell, surrounded by pink flamingos, leaping dolphins and other decorations that scream “Florida!” Copy at the top reads “The friendship we all want. The vacation we all need.”

There are even more sea and beach items scattered around the design of the final poster, released later last month. We finally see Barb and Star’s faces this time as they ride a giant shrimp while they happily hold fancy cocktails, the resort where the story’s action takes place in the background.

The Trailers

The first trailer (153k views on YouTube) finally came out in early January. Labeled a “teaser,” the spot takes a meta approach, centered around Barb and Star discussing how much they love movie trailers. Only a few scenes, none of which show the faces of the two leads, are shared, but you still get the very pastel vibe of the film.

The next trailer (5.6 million views on YouTube), released at the end of January, starts out by having a bit of fun with a “Stranger Things” vibe, right down to the title treatment font and music. From there we see just how awkward the two are, though they’re very comfortable with who they are and the choices they’ve made. There’s not much story on display here, it’s just about the laughs, which works just fine.

Online and Social

You’ll find information about the movie and where to rent it on the official website, but not much else. There were promos and other updates shared on the social profiles created by Lionsgate, including stickers and GIFs on the movie’s Giphy channel.

Kristen Wiig Heart GIF by Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar - Find & Share on GIPHY

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Lionsgate released the first photo from the movie in early July, 2020 to get conversations started. Things remained quiet until January, when the studio announced a mid-February PVOD release.

A short while after the teaser trailer came out a “Fashion Video” was released showing a number of women wearing some of their finest vacation outfits on a picturesque beach.

That was followed by a clip of Barb and Star checking into their hotel room, which is super-exciting. Additional clips, including one sharing a…provocative…song that’s played at the resort the pair visit, followed over the next couple weeks.

A short video purported to be a Zoom call between some of the characters.

TV spots like this started running in early February that, like the trailers, don’t worry about the story, instead selling the movie as just a good laugh from the Bridesmaids creative team.

Additional spots took a similar approach.

Finally, Lionsgate put out a comedic instructional video on how you can watch the movie.

Media and Publicity

An interview with Mumolo and Wiig included them talking about the script, the creative origins of the characters and more, including the story behind the long delay in getting the film made.

Trayce Gigi Field, the movie’s costume designer, was interviewed about creating the unique fashions worn by the two main characters as well as the rest of the cast.

Dornan spoke about the film when he appeared on “Kimmel.” Wiig then appeared on “The Late Show” to talk about how long she and Mumolo have been working on the film and how much fun it was to finally film it.

That same topic was covered in a feature profile of the two collaborators.


There are a couple things worth calling out here.

First, it was a bold move by Lionsgate to not only keep the faces of Barb and Star hidden for the first half of the campaign, especially considering that campaign only launched in earnest a couple months ago. It’s not like the studio is hiding how some beloved pop culture figure will look, but it did create a sense of fun that works here.

Second, the constant reminders that it took Wiig and Mumolo the better part of a decade to get the film made after scoring such a big hit with Bridesmaids should serve as a reminder of how much Hollywood distrusts women, especially comedians. Meanwhile, Adam Wingard, who’s made one successful movie and runs a fetish Tumblr blog, directed the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong.

Finally, if the state of Florida hasn’t already adopted the poster designs and other graphics in its official tourism campaigns I’m not sure what we’re doing here.

A Private War – Marketing Recap

a private war posterReal-life war correspondent Marie Colvin’s story is being told in this week’s new release A Private War. Rosamund Pike plays Colvin as the movie follows her relentless drive to report from whatever front lines were available at the moment. That means leaving behind relationships and other connections as she seeks to tell the stories of those being marginalized around the world.

After years in the field she and photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) set out to Syria to cover the civil war in that country. That assignment puts them in one of the most dangerous and unpredictable situations they’ve ever been in. The movie is based partly on a Vanity Fair story from years ago about Colvin.

The Posters

The tagline on the poster is one that should be emblazoned on every street corner: “The most powerful weapon is the truth.” That’s the mission Colvin is on, we can assume as we see a photo of her seeking shelter behind sandbags while someone close to the camera holds a rifle.

Another poster was released just recently showing Colvin from behind, with “PRESS” labeling her flak jacket, something that clearly shows she’s in dangerous territory.

The Trailers

The lengths Colvin is willing to go to for a story are immediately laid out in the first trailer, just before we see her fall from an explosion. When she embarks on yet another story she brings a new photographer along, one she has to assure when the insanity of war becomes too much. “Our mission is to speak truth to power,” she says as we see her seek to tell the stories of the people impacted by the decisions of governments. Things get even more dangerous than usual when she heads to Syria, but her determination to tell the story means she can’t stop putting herself on the line.

Online and Social

Not much happening on the official website, which just has the barest of informational bones.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I haven’t seen any paid efforts of any kind, but it’s possible there will be more coming soon as the movie moves beyond limited release.

Media and Publicity

A first photo showing Pike that included comments from her about how the movie came together was filmed really kicked off the publicity efforts. A bit later it was announced as the opening feature at the Mill Valley Film Festival. The movie benefited when it took the place of Galveston as one of the spotlight screenings at the Toronto Film Festival.

A recent discussion about Colvin and the movie was hosted by The Washington Post, with a panel that included Pike and others from the film as well as Colvin’s sister. Similarly there was a reevaluation of the role female war correspondents have played in history, pointing out how they’ve often been overlooked and put to the side.

Famed singer/songwriter Annie Lennox spoke about how she was approached to write an original song for the movie and how she was reluctant do so, even given her personal connections to Colvin.

Just before release, Pike was interviewed about how she and director Matthew Heinmann worked to capture the real story of what happened and more.


There’s some good stuff here, particularly in how the campaign highlights how vital the bravery of journalists is to democracy, safety and simply doing what’s right when many people aren’t. It’s also a showcase for Pike, who hasn’t been given very meaty roles recently. With those two elements called out not only in the marketing but also the publicity it adds up to a decent push.

Picking Up The Spare

Another interview with Pike covered how she sees the movie as bringing attention to the threats faced by crusading journalists. And Lennox spoke more here about returning to songwriting for the movie.

Stanley Tucci wasn’t a big part of the formal campaign but he was still sent to “Late Night” to talk about the movie.