a good person – marketing recap

How MGM has sold a drama of grief and moving on

A Good Person movie poster from MGM featuring Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman
A Good Person movie poster from MGM

A Good Person, out this week from MGM, sees Zack Braff returning to his dual roles of writer and director.

The story focuses on the relationship between Daniel (Morgan Freeman) and Allison (Florence Pugh). Allison’s engagement to Daniel’s son Nathan (Chinaza Uche) ended when his sister Molly (Nichelle Hines) was killed in an accident while Allison was driving. After strong emotions drive everyone apart, Daniel and Allison reconnect, leading to a friendship that helps both of them move on with their lives.

The movie costars Celeste O’Connner as Ryan, Daniel’s granddaughter who he’s now responsible for raising, Molly Shannon as Allison’s mother and Zoe Lister-Jones as Simone, the woman who runs the AA meeting where Daniel and Allison come back into contact.

Let’s take a look at the campaign that’s been run.

announcement and casting

MGM was reported to be interested in acquiring the film in March, 2021, a month or so after it was announced.

Freeman and Pugh were among the first cast members announced, with Shannon joining them in September of that year. Lister-Jones and Uche were added in October.

the marketing campaign

The story is recapped nicely in the trailer (921,000 YouTube plays), released toward the end of December. We see the “before” times, when Allison was about to join Daniel’s family, including how she was friends with Molly while engaged to Nathan. After the accident Allison spirals into addiction until she finds herself at the same AA meeting as Daniel. The two begin a tentative friendship as they help each other deal with lives that are very different than how they once thought they’d have.

“Sometimes we find hope where we least expect it” reads the copy on the poster that came out at the same time. That’s a fairly straightforward line but the photos that accompany it are a bit odd as we see Daniel staring off into the middle distance alongside Allison riding her bicycle. It certainly shows the two stars, but the copy does most of the lifting in terms of communicating anything about the story.

A profile of Pugh focused a lot on her personal life and personality but also included some talk about this movie, with Braff weighing in on how he wrote the part of Allison especially for her after they had been in a romantic relationship.

There was also an interview with Braff where he talked about the personal nature of the story, why he wanted to work with Pugh and Freeman and more.

Things went quiet until early March when a featurette was released that has Braff and the main cast talking about the story, the characters and more.

Braff and Pugh appeared at the London premiere a couple weeks ago and both talked about working together, the appreciation they have of each other’s talents and how emotionally-draining filming the story could sometimes be.

The first clip features Allison playing piano at a party before the tragedy that impacts the rest of the story.

Later clips show Allison cutting her own hair at the depths of her despair

Pugh promoted the film and talked about working with Braff and Shannon on “The Tonight Show”. Braff covered the same ground as earlier conversations in an “Entertainment Tonight” segment.


A couple initial thoughts:

  • I know people run hot or cold on Braff, but it’s hard to deny he seems to work hard on the stories he feels motivated to tell. Whatever issues people have – and some are absolutely legitimate – Braff has carved out a nice little niche for himself as a writer/director that seems more notable than his acting gigs.
  • It’s too bad that we have to talk so much about Pugh’s backstory, especially all the turmoil involved with Don’t Worry Darling. Even if it isn’t addressed directly, so much of the framing of profiles of the actor wink at it, which detracts from everything else going on.

With those out of the way, the campaign is a little uneven (especially that poster) but overall very nice in a warm and slightly funny way, which is on-brand for Braff as a filmmaker. It surely won’t make much of a dent in John Wick: Chapter 4’s expected box-office domination, but should effectively reach the kind of people who enjoy this type of movie.

cheaper by the dozen – marketing recap

How Disney has sold the latest adaptation of a famous efficiency study.

Cheaper By The Dozen movie poster
Cheaper By The Dozen movie poster

That Cheaper By The Dozen – and the two previous film versions from 1950 and 2003 – is an adaptation of what amounts to a slightly fictionalized version of a real-time study in productivity and efficiency is probably lost on most modern audiences. The original 1948 novel was based on the true experiences of Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth and their brood of 12 children, the latter studied by their parents for how to run a tight, efficient household with so much going on.

Gabrielle Union and Zach Braff step into the roles of Zoe and Paul Baker. After the pair were married they merged their existing families and added to it, resulting in the 12 kids running roughshod over their house, schedules and lives, all while trying to run their own business.

Where the 1950 film with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy remained somewhat loyal to the source novel, the 2003 version with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt played as a much broader comedy, a trend this iteration seems to continue. With the movie about to arrive on Disney+, let’s take a look at how it’s been marketed.

announcements and casting

The project first got started in 2016 when Kenya Barris said he was producing a new version of the story for, at the time, 20th Century Fox. It became a Disney+ original film in 2019 when Disney acquired Fox.

Disney made news of the movie being in the works officially during its presentation to investors in late, 2020. Union’s casting was revealed at that time, with Braff joining early in 2021.

Union and Braff shared a brief video update announcing a March 2022 release on Disney+ Day in November of last year.

the marketing campaign

The trailer (1.1m YouTube views) was released in early February. It opens by showing the size of Zoe and Paul’s family and the logistics necessary to keep everything moving as well as how their unusual family structure is sometimes viewed as odd by those on the outside. The focus here is largely on the antics the kids get into, especially the younger ones, and the often flummoxed reaction of Paul and Zoe to the mayhem unfolding around them, signalling this a “family friendly” comedy being sold.

The poster that came out at the same time sells precisely the premise and little else, showing Zoe and Paul’s faces mashed into a pileup of their kids and pets.

The Bakers arrive at a pool party and in a short commercial released a week or two later.

In early March the advertising portion of the campaign kicked into higher gear with spots that introduced the Bakers, showed how they support each other in public and more.

Disney also released a series of character posters with Zoe, Paul and their kids each getting their own one-sheet, though a couple pairs of twins do share. Even the dogs got their own posters.

The cast tried to explain the story in a dozen words in a little featurette. Union, who also served as producer, is featured in another video talking about how she has approached a blended family in real life and what she’s brought from that to the screen.

Another poster has the whole family lounging in Paul and Zoe’s bed to once again show off how crowded their life and house are.

Both Union and Braff recently appeared on “GMA” to talk about the movie.


As I mentioned above, everything here is “family friendly” in the most widely understood use of the term. It’s being sold as a movie that anyone from three to 89 years old can watch and generally enjoy without fear of being offended at all, unless of course you’re still in the nine percent or so who feel interracial marriage is a bad thing for society.

You can take issue with some of the details, and I know that people’s tolerance for Zach Braff sometimes varies wildly, but this is a generally pleasant campaign for what looks like a generally pleasant movie.

What stands out, if you’re familiar with the source material, is that (at least based on the marketing materials), this new adaptation seems to have jettisoned completely the idea of family/organizational efficiency or any ties to the Gilbreth legacy. Even the 2003 movie had Hunt’s character play an author who had written about the family. Now it’s just a premise and familiar brand.