Ode To Joy – Marketing Recap

ode to joy posterMartin Freeman is, of course, no stranger to comedies, having starred in several over the years. Morena Baccarin has been funny in a number of roles, but hasn’t had the chance to do much straight comedy. That changes in this week’s romantic comedy Ode to Joy.

Baccarin plays Francesca, who one day meets Charlie (Freeman), a man who has cataplexy, a form of narcolepsy that causes him to pass out when he feels strong emotions, including joy or happiness. That makes him dating Francesca – or anyone else – kind of difficult, so he encourages her to start seeing his brother. But the connection between the two is strong, even if Charlie is reluctant because of his condition.

The Posters

It’s a pretty traditional rom-com image used on the poster, which shows Francesca leaning in to give Charlie a kiss. But we get the sense there are complications through the copy that reads “Charlie has never been happier. And that’s the problem.”

The Trailers

It’s a charming little story on display in the first trailer. We meet Charlie and see his particular narcolepsy is triggered in moments where he feels joy or happiness. So he’s always falling asleep at the worst times and making things weird, which negatively impacts his dating life. When he meets Francesca he realizes she’s someone special but is afraid of what happiness will do to him, so he sets her up with his brother. That relationship turns out pretty well, but the connection between Charlie and Francesca never completely goes away, even as he starts dating Bethany.

Online and Social

There’s not a whole lot of information on IFC Films’ page for the movie, just the standard stuff. The studio gave it a bit of support on its brand social channels but was primarily focused on promoting other recent releases.

Advertising and Publicity

Nothing I’ve seen on this front.

Media and Press

The press activity here has been pretty light as well. IFC hosted an L.A. screening of the movie that featured a Q&A with the writer and director and some of the cast did a few interviews.

Overall

Given it stars two exceedingly charming and funny actors in a story based on an episode of “This American Life” I’m surprised there isn’t more attention being paid to the release. The lack of discernible press campaign means Baccarin and Freeman aren’t out there telling funny stories and ginning up interest, which hints to me there’s some reason IFC is letting this one go out with a whimper instead of a bang. Too bad since the movie looks breezy and entertaining and, let’s face it, I’ll watch these two in most anything.

Cargo – Marketing Recap

cargo posterDirectors Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke, the latter of whom is also the writer, are the creative forces behind this week’s new Netflix feature film Cargo. Martin Freeman stars as Noah, a survivor in the outback of Australia of a plague that, as these things tend to do, turns its victims into zombie-like creatures after a 48-hour incubation period. A violent attack by the creatures has killed his wife and left him infected, with the clock ticking.

He goes on the run with his daughter to find someone to take care of her after he’s gone, encountering various other survivors with their own motives and concerns along the way. Eventually he finds a young Indigenous girl who might be his best hope but who has her own journey she’s on.

The Posters

Andy is walking toward the camera with the baby girl on his back on the poster, a sunset in back of him. Looming in the background is also a hand that’s literally reaching up from the ground, threatening to grab the two travelers. That it looks somewhat decayed and craggly is the only real indication that this is meant to sell a zombie story. “The future is fragile” helps convey the stakes, namely that keeping the baby alive is important for the survival of everyone, not to mention personal.

The Trailers

At first the trailer just makes it look like Andy has been in an unfortunate car accident. When we see “save her” written in blood on the inside of the other car it’s clear something more sinister is happening. He interacts with a few other people who are surprised to see someone who’s still human and get the idea that he has about 48 hours before he succumbs to the infection transferred when he was bitten by, it seems, the baby’s parents. Some other people are using the end of the world to indulge their worst tendencies but he’s determined to save not just the baby but an aboriginal girl some rednecks were about to kill. That girl offers to get him medicine but he may not have the time or opportunity to get there with her.

I can’t very well say this does anything wholly original with the zombie genre, but I appreciate the way the trailer shows the stakes are very personal and unselfish for Andy. Freeman also shows he has a range that would surprise some people, playing a fully dramatic character here that is just trying to retain what humanity he has for as long as he can.

Online and Social

Nothing here. There were some social pages setup by the production company for the theatrical release the film seems to have received in Australia but nothing from Netflix domestically in the U.S.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nope, goose egg here too.

Media and Publicity

Netflix brought the movie to the Tribeca Film Festival to help accumulate some buzz, which was very much the case, most of it positive. Director Yolanda Ramke also spoke while there about the story and making the movie with Freeman.

Overall

It’s strange to me that there wasn’t more done on the publicity front given there were appearances on at least a bit of the festival circuit. Freeman is pretty hot right now given his role on “Sherlock” and his high profile thanks to a few appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so he could have helped sell it. As it is, the campaign sells what seems to be a slightly original take on the zombie movie genre, with the focus on familial responsibility.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.