Run – Marketing Recap

How Hulu is selling a psychological mother-daughter drama.

There are too many real life stories of parents abusing their children in some manner. The new movie Run, debuting on Hulu this week from writer/director Aneesh Chaganty, is about just that kind of situation.

Sarah Paulson plays Diane Sherman, a mother who has cared for her chronically ill daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen) throughout the girl’s life. The two have a good relationship, but now that Chloe is a teen she’s worried her mother is doing too much. Diane’s assurances that she’s fine, Chloe begins to find evidence that her mom may not be as loving as she seems and may in fact be actively keeping Chloe sick and dependent on her care.

The movie was originally set for theatrical release in March from Lionsgate, but that studio pulled it from the schedule because of the coronavirus. Hulu then acquired it in August. Since then it’s run a campaign that has sold it as a psychological thriller, albeit one focused on the mother-daughter dynamic. It also has an excellent 96% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Posters

The first poster (by marketing agency P+A) came out in February when Lionsgate still had control of the film. Its design strongly evokes the work of Saul Bass for the films of Alfred Hitchcock, with the figure of Diane looking up the staircase at the figure of Chloe. The vibe here is kind of great, with the tension of the story communicated not only by the distance between the two but also the copy “You can’t escape a mother’s love.”

That same tagline is used on the second poster, also released in February. This time, though, the image is a photo of Diane looking slightly worried with a smaller photo of Chloe placed inside of Diane’s head to show the strange connection between the two.

The Trailers

The first thing we see in February’s first trailer (13.6 million views on YouTube) is Diane looking at the tiny body of Chloe hooked up to tubes and instruments as she lies in a NICU incubator. Cut to present day and Chloe is a grown teen in a wheelchair and living with her mother, who does everything for her. But Chloe, worried she’s not doing enough, begins to become suspicious her mother is hiding something from her. Turns out that might be a great many things, including what her real name is. Not only that, it’s implied Diane might be keeping her daughter sick and needing her aid, leading to some tense and dangerous situations.

A new trailer (170,000 views on YouTube) came out in late October that establishes the drama of the story quite nicely. It starts by showing what seems to be a loving relationship between Diane and Chloe, but which soon evolves into something much more dangerous. As Chloe becomes more aware of what her mother has been doing, Diane’s actions become more desperate and all the more terrifying because they are being done out of what she considers to be “love.”

Online and Social

No stand-alone website that was easily found, but there were some social profiles to share promotions and other updates on the movie.

Advertising and Promotions

A “date announcement” spot came out in late September when Hulu finally put it on the calendar.

Further short video promotions came out on social media over the next couple months.

Some of those were used as pre-roll ads in the weeks leading up to release.

Hulu announced a watch party accompanied by a Twitter Q&A for the day after the movie was scheduled for release.

A drive-in premiere was held in L.A. earlier this week.

Media and Press

A first-look photo came out just before the trailer was released, including comments from Paulson and Allen on how they got involved in the project and what drew them to the material.

Not a whole lot of other press activity in the immediate lead-up to the movie. Most of the interviews with Paulson in particular have been about her roles on the latest iteration of “American Horror Story” or on Netflix’s “Ratched.”

Overall

The subject matter of the story is certainly disturbing, that’s beyond dispute. But the marketing offers the promise of an interesting and revelation-filled journey to find out just how disturbing things get and what exactly is happening. There are some moments in the campaign that make it seem as if Diane is not doing what it seems, showing that it’s worth the audience’s time to check it out and see what the truth of the matter is.

Ocean’s 8 – Marketing Recap

oceans 8 posterSeveral years ago comedian John Mulaney joked that a female Ocean’s 11 couldn’t happen because there’d be no actual coordination. Two of the crew would, he said, would split off to gab about the other nine and the planning would devolve into passive-aggressive sniping. You know…like women do. Little did he know that Ocean’s 8, out this week, would be exactly that, only without the sexism implied in the bit.

You can read the core of the marketing recap for the movie at The Hollywood Reporter, while below I share some of the additional online and publicity beats not included there.

Online and Social

The “main” trailer plays when you load up the official website for the movie, so take a couple minutes and watch that again. After that the main page features the red curtain-themed key art with links to buy tickets or connect with the movie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As far as the rest of the site’s content there isn’t a whole lot. “Cast” just has the characters posters for each member of the team along with the name of the actress that plays her. “Videos” has the first two trailer and the “Gallery” has a handful of images. Finally, “Partners” just has information on the Cartier partnership detailed elsewhere.

There was a Snapchat filter created back in December timed with the release of the first trailer.

Media and Publicity

Outside of casting announcements, some of the first press was an interview with director Ross as he talked about working with Soderbergh over the years and more. It was a while then before the first production still was released.

Through 2016 and 2017 there were a few publicity pops here and there, including Blanchett talking about about why only eight women are involved here, Paulson shooting down the idea that all-female sets are filled with “cat fights” and more. Basically the cast spoke briefly about it while they were promoting other projects.

After the second trailer was released the publicity kicked into gear a bit, including this interview with members of the cast and the director where they talked about getting the vibe of the first three movies to come through here as well. There was also a profile of costar Awkwafina in EW’s summer movie preview that probably brought her to the attention of a lot of new people in the audience as well as a similar profile in the Los Angeles Times and then in Buzzfeed. Those stories came at the same time WB was presenting the movie to CinemaCon attendees as part of its upcoming release slate.

Later on there was an interview with Bullock and Kailing where the two talked about the unique opportunities afforded by working on a set filled with other women, something that doesn’t happen often as most of the time they’re the lone female around. At a press event hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art the whole cast talked about working together and how they all worshipped and adored Blanchett and showed off their fashion.

The press tour more or less started with Paulson showing up on “The Tonight Show” and talking about being starstruck by the cast she was working with. Kaling did likewise on “Late Night” as did Hathaway on “The Late Show” while Bullock hit “Kimmel.” There were a few instances where there was a group effort by all or most of the cast, including things like this game of “Never have I ever”, Rihanna making her costars uncomfortable and more. Kaling also showed up on “Ellen” to talk about working with all the other ladies.

That didn’t mean there weren’t individual efforts such as this solo interview with Hathaway, a feature profile of Kaling, a similar profile of Bullock and one for Rihanna. That being said, there has been a strong focus on selling the whole assembled star power. There was also a conversation with screenwriter Olivia Milch where she talked about the challenges of writing the movie, including introducing a bunch of female characters to a predominantly male universe and what that meant in terms of audience expectations.

Paulson and Blanchett gave a hilariously off-the-wall joint interview on “Today” that included more jokes at each others’ expense than information about the movie. Bullock also talked more about the movie, her career in general and the sexist behavior she’s been exposed to over the years.

AMC announced a special advanced “Girls Night Out” screening at select locations to help get the buzz going, an event that was open to all genders despite the name.

Overall

In addition to what I shared at THR, I just want to point out that this movie *feels* like an installment in the Ocean’s franchise. It has the same sizzle and energy as the trailers for the first three movies and that’s a big chunk of the heavy lifting that needed to be done. While the campaign doesn’t make the connection to the earlier movies overt, it gives off the vibe of being part of the same world and featuring some of the same character types, which is very much a good thing.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

There were multiple interviews with Sarah Edwards, the movie’s costume designer, as she talked about outfitting all the actors for the fake Met Gala they attend. How that event was filmed was also the subject of a behind-the-scenes profile.

 

Get the details on the Touissant Necklace that is the object of the heist.

 

Given that James Corden has a supporting role in the movie it’s only natural the cast would stop by his show to have some fun.

 

Gary Ross, the movie’s director, spoke about what cameos from the first three movies did or didn’t make the cut for the finished film.

 

More from Anne Hathaway and others in the cast here about how they hope the movie will help burst the myth that female-led movies are question marks theatrically.
Another quick profile of breakout star Awkwafina here. And Helena Bonham Carter is finally getting some attention with a profile where she talks about how fun it was to work on a light caper movie.