The Trip To Greece – Marketing Recap

One last excursion with food and passive-aggressive friendship.

the trip to greece posterIn the annals of cinema, director Michael Winterbottom’s decade-long The Trip series stands alongside Richard Linklater’s Before films as an incredible example of improvised yet structured collaboration between filmmaker and talent. Both sets of movies use the conceit of occasional check-ins with a couple characters to see how their relationship has evolved since we last saw them, while the actors themselves are responsible for knowing their characters so completely that the directors just point the camera and let them do their thing.

This week, Winterbottom’s series continues with The Trip To Greece. This fourth time around once more features slightly fictionalized versions of stars Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan setting out on a road trip, ostensibly so Coogan can write about the food and culture they experience in a given European location.

Both stars are funny in and of themselves, but the humor of the films comes from seeing just how competitive they become while spending so much time together. They enjoy the food and locations along the way but also spend much of their trip sniping at each other or maintaining a thin veneer of friendship as they try to one-up the other in some manner.

As with the previous three films, this one is being sold based on the ability of Coogan and Brydon to riff off each other against some of the most beautiful backdrops a country has to offer.

The Posters

Anyone familiar with the previous films will recognize the looks on Coogan and Brydon’s faces on the poster, released in April, as indicative of their personalities throughout the series. Brydon looks like he’s having a great time while Coogan looks more weary and resigned, but those expressions run counter to which of the comedy/tragedy masks they’re holding. The Greek cityscape can be seen behind them as food from the country is placed on the table in front of them.

Two different elements convey to audiences that this is intended to be the last film in the series. At the top a pull quote praises it as “A beautiful note to end on” while below the title we’re told this is “The final course.”

The Trailers

The one trailer (115,000 views on YouTube), which came out in early April, has everything fans have enjoyed about the series to date. We see the pair of travelers eating and driving their way through Greece as they engage in Roger Moore impersonation battles, make pointed comments about each other’s careers and lots more. Everything here is in-line with what’s come before and is therefore assumed to be attractive to the target audience.

Online and Social

Just the basic information on IFC’s page for the film.

Advertising and Promotions

It wasn’t surprising when, in late 2019, the film was acquired by IFC Films, the same distributor that had handled the previous three entries in the series. It was scheduled to screen at April’s Tribeca Film Festival as well as the SF Film Festival.

The first clip was released in mid-March showing Brydon and Coogan engaged in some of their trademark banter.

Short spots like this were released on social media and were likely used in limited TV advertising as well.

Not surprising that another clip from the movie featured even more bickering as well as an attempt to see who has the better Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.

Media and Press

An interview with Winterbottom had him talking about how despite the potential for ongoing trips this one felt like the last to all involved.

The two stars were interviewed jointly about working together, this recent movie and reaching the end of the road for the franchise. Those same topics were the focus of many other interviews and profiles either of the pair or one of the stars on their own.

Overall

The campaign, like that of several recent films, clearly communicates to the audience that this might very well be the last time we encounter these two, so let’s savor it.

As with the previous three films, this one looks like the same kind of fun and silliness. Brydon and Coogan are such talented performers that asking them to play off each other is like asking the wind to blow. And I’m admittedly a sucker for just sitting back and watching a couple guys yank each other’s chains for 90-odd minutes, so this is right in my wheelhouse.

The Trip to Spain – Marketing Recap

It’s hard to believe that an unassuming, largely unscripted movie that started out as a BBC mini-series about two frenemies eating good food across Great Britain would spawn a legitimate comedic franchise. But that’s where we are as we look to this week’s release of The Trip To Spain.

Once more Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, both playing slightly fictionalized versions of themselves, are pairing up and heading out for a road trip. After first tackling England and then Italy, they now take their bit to Spain. Once more Coogan has been asked to review restaurants as part of the publicity for an upcoming movie and recruits Brydon into that trip. And so they set out for long drives, incredible food and conversations that include their careers, sniping at each other in a (mostly) friendly way and sharing their dueling impressions of other celebrities.

The Posters

The poster doesn’t do a whole lot, but it doesn’t need to. Coogan and Brydon are shown at a big oak table with a handful of exquisitely-crafted food dishes in front of them, Brydon pouring a bottle of wine. That’s it, that’s the entire premise and the entire message that needs to be sent to the audience. There’s a quote at the top that praises the movie and copy making it clear “The two amigos are back” but otherwise the image of the pair is all we really need.

The Trailers

The first teaser didn’t show much but it presented everything audiences might be wondering about. It’s just Brydon and Coogan in a car driving along the Spanish coast while beatboxing and freestyle singing. That’s it. There are some title cards that place this in the context of the first two movies as well as positive pull quotes from critics, but that’s about it.

The first official trailer starts off by immediately setting the premise, which is that Coogan wants Brydon to engage in a trip to Spain. We see them engaging in their usual banter, including their dueling impressions, as they eat incredible food against amazing backdrops.

What else needs to be said? It’s fantastic, promising just what we love about this series of movies only in a different section of the world. Perfect.

Online and Social

Not much on the web for the movie. IFC has a page on its site that has a synopsis, the cast and crew list and the studio gave the movie some promotion on its own social channels but that’s about it.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve come across. It’s likely there’s been some advertising done overseas for the BBC series, but I don’t think anything happened on the paid front in the U.S.

Media and Publicity

The studio knew exactly what it was doing, starting off the campaign by releasing a clip featuring Brydon and Coogan doing impressions, including another excuse to do their dueling Michael Caines.

The movie was one of those announced as screening at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. There doesn’t appear to have been a big round of press or anything else, though, meaning the studio is relying mostly on word of mouth and familiarity with the first two movies to get people motivated.

Overall

It’s absolutely understandable that this marketing campaign doesn’t rise to the level of other summer releases. It’s about as small-scale as a film can be, with just two stars that U.S. audiences will mostly tag as “Oh, that guy who died in the opening 10 minutes of Tropic Thunder” and “The other one.” The story revolves completely around food and conversation and, if the previous two movies are indicative, very low stakes.

But it succeeds by very specifically telling the audiences that have enjoyed those other two movies that this is more of the same, just slightly evolved. The premise is the same but the characters have changed a bit since we first met them. Not so much, though, that we’re not going to get more cracks about Coogan needing the best room and making his career seem bigger than it actually is. And Brydon will be there insisting his impressions are better and more than happy to take his friend down a peg. That’s the formula that’s worked so far, so the existing fanbase is being told it won’t be tinkered with too much here.