The Dirt – Marketing Recap

the dirt posterThe excesses of early 80s rock and roll come to life in the new Netflix exclusive feature The Dirt. The movie tells the story of the early days of heavy metal hair band Mötley Crüe and how its members embodied the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” lifestyle to an outrageous degree, setting the standard for bad boy behavior while also creating some of the era’s defining music.

This is hardly some scandalous version of the band’s history, though, since it’s based on the biography authorized by its members. Still, there’s plenty of dirt (so to speak) to dig up that illustrates just how over the top and destructive the behavior of those in the band really was on a personal and professional level.

The Posters

Everything about the poster looks like it’s pulled from an album cover circa 1984, from the gritty black and white photography used to capture the band to the typefaces that look like words that have been cut out of a magazine or newspaper and then pasted on posterboard. There’s heavy usage of words like “infamous,” “unbelievable” and “notorious” to play up the level of the band’s antics. Mostly, though the design works hard to visually evoke the era the story takes place in.

The Trailers

The trailer was released in mid-February and starts off by showing the early days of the band, including how it’s made up of a collection of misfits. They’re determined to give the fans a show they won’t forget, though, and start out living lives of excess, drama and tragedy. In between setting hotel rooms on fire and such we see them go through internal conflicts and personal upheaval, but the focus is always on the larger-than-life approach the band had. Even when they’re going down, they’re doing so in flames.

Online and Social

Nothing here, as usual.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Outdoor billboards used the key art to make sure passers-by knew the movie was coming soon to Netflix.

Media and Publicity

This is yet another project that originated years ago at Paramount and has bounced around to different studios and with different casts before Netflix acquired the rights to it a couple years ago.

The band produced a handful of new music to coincide with the movie, the first it had put out since it called it quits a few years ago. That occasion warranted a profile of how the song came to be and how the band reacted to getting back in the studio as well as what it was like adapting a memoir that includes such outlandish, hard to believe events and personalities.

A behind-the-scenes feature story recounted the movie’s production, including how members of the band were often on set seeing their lives and antics recreated in front of their eyes.

Because the movie, like the book it’s based on, has the band’s blessing, all the members of Mötley Crüe engaged in a number of promotional activities to get the word out. That included appearing at a recent NASCAR event, participating in various interviews and lots more. Machine Gun Kelly, who plays drummer Tommy Lee, was also interviewed about his work and love of the band.


It’s easy to quibble with little parts of the campaign, but the whole thing isn’t really about selling anything other than a dramatic retelling of Reagan Era debauchery. The trailer isn’t all that great at setting up the story and the poster, while interesting in a throwback way, is also kind of bland and not engaging.

One big problem is that because the band is involved in the movie’s production, there’s zero chance the story goes deep into anything they still want to remain off limits. It may be able to deliver on the promise of sharing what made the band “notorious” during its heyday but it likely won’t be anything more than superficial when it comes to other topics. Most notably, it’s not clear if the movie deals with the modern-day fallout of what made the members “infamous” or reconsiders their actions with the benefits of 30 years of hindsight.

Picking Up the Spare

Kelly was interviewed about why he worked so hard to play Tommy Lee while the direct spoke about how he tried to get in the band’s head.

The reason Motley Crue was so heavily involved in promoting the movie was they were hoping for just the kind of sales, streams and social media bump they just got.