Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – Marketing Recap

How Netflix is selling its new music competition comedy.

First off: The Eurovision Song Contest is a real thing, an international song competition drawing aspiring singers and performers from across Europe for a chance at stardom.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, on the other hand, is not real, but is a new comedy starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams debuting on Netflix this week.

Ferrell and McAdams play, respectively, Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdottir, two singers given the opportunity to represent Iceland in the annual competition. They’re not anyone’s first choice, in part because they’re older than the usual contestants, but are determined to make the most of the opportunity they’ve been presented with, even if they can’t quite get their own act together.

Netflix’s campaign for the film, which was originally meant to come out earlier this year in connection with the actual show broadcast, is instantly familiar to anyone who’s a fan of Ferrell’s work and a big win for anyone who believes McAdams doesn’t get nearly enough comedic work.

The Posters

“Nobody wins solo” we’re told at the top of the movie’s one poster (by marketing agency Concept Arts), which came out in early June. Lars and Sigrit are both shown in full performance costume, the bright lights of the stage behind them. That’s about all the appeal offered to the audience, as the promise of these two stars in some sort of over-the-top story is meant to be enough to get people interested.

The Trailers

The trailer (1.2 million views on YouTube) was released earlier this month and shows just how clueless and ridiculous Lars and Sigrit – especially Lars – are. They kind of fall into the position of being Iceland’s choice to compete on the show and frequently trip over their own mix of questionable talent, insecurities and other issues as they prepare for the broadcast. Despite intimidation from other competitors and more, they go on to successfully make it to the competition as they never give up on their dreams and are determined to prove everyone wrong.

Online and Social

Nothing here. There wasn’t even much in the way of support given on Netflix’s brand social channels.

Advertising and Promotions

In May a video was released for the song “Volcano Man” by the fictional Fire Saga duo. The song itself was also made available on streaming services.

Media and Press

Ferrell has apparently had this movie, or something like it, in mind for decades. He said as much in an interview a few months ago, and back in 2016 he appeared in character (though not the same character he plays in the film, on “Late Night.” He’s also jumped in on other Eurovision-related events over the years.

The history of Ferrell’s development of the film was also covered in a brief interview that also offered a first-look still.

Overall

It’s kind of surprising there hasn’t been more activity around the film of late, especially given it reunites Ferrell with his Wedding Crashers director. It seems like the kind of crazy-concept comedy he’s known for, one that lets him play some bumbling but well-meaning character with delusions of grandeur who succeeds despite himself as well as the odds against him.

What sticks out for me is the lack of mention of the movie on Netflix’s social media profiles, usually a reliable outlet for at least a few promos. Those have been almost exclusively dedicated to highlighting movies, documentaries and shows from Black filmmakers, starring Black actors and addressing uniquely Black issues. In that way, the campaign for Eurovision suffers because it’s the opposite of timely, seeming at odds with what’s hyper-relevant right now.

So it almost feels like Netflix is simply burning off the movie. It will likely receive some on-site promotion via recommendations, and those are probably going to be powerful enough to get many people to watch the film while doing something else, chuckling along occasionally. But while that might be enough to make it into a decent hit, it’s not what you’d expect given the talent involved.

Picking Up The Spare

Netflix ran some shorter spots as promoted posts on Twitter. 

A clip also came out showing some of the other performers. 

A number of interviews came out after the movie had already hit Netflix. In one, Ferrell and McAdams talked about how they developed their outrageous accents. Others covered the music, including why the songs sound so believable, and how they were written

In an appearance on “Late Night,” McAdams talked about how big the real show is outside the U.S. Similar ground was covered by Dobkin in talking about how he was introduced to the competition. 

Dan Stevens was interviewed about the songs he sings in the film. 
A new billboard shows the two main characters in the midst of their elaborate routine.

Disobedience – Marketing Recap

disobedience posterSet in a strict Orthodox Jewish community outside London, the new movie Disobedience is about forbidden love and yearning passion. Rachel Weisz plays Ronit, a woman who was sent away from the community when she was just a teenager because of a romantic relationship with her friend Esti, played as an adult by Rachel McAdams. When Ronit’s father, a respected rabbi, passes away she returns for the funeral for the first time in decades.

Esti is now married to Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), himself a rabbi, but Ronit’s return reawakens the passion she felt all those years ago, a passion that’s never been matched since. The two rekindle their illicit affair, causing upset in the marriage of Esti and Dovid as well as the community as a whole. Both women, though, are tired of living the lie and suppressing the feelings they had so long ago, challenging the norms they’ve been expected to either conform to or live outside of.

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Game Night – Marketing Recap

game night poster 3Game night in the suburbs, particularly amongst adults, is usually a pretty boring affair unless someone has a bit too much wine. In the new movie Game Night that’s usually the case as a group of friends regularly gets together to have a bit of fun. One night Brooks (Kyle Chandler) says he’s put together a whole mystery for people to solve that will seem super-real. So when he’s actually abducted, is it part of the game or something more sinister?

That’s what the rest of the crew has to figure out. Annie (Rachel McAdams) and her husband Max (Jason Bateman) along with Kevin (Lamorne Morris), Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) and others find themselves pulled increasingly out of their depth as they wind up having to navigate the criminal underworld to get their friend back and avoid getting into trouble themselves.

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