Advertising and movies work hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly, or mashed potatoes and sausages swimming in gravy. You can’t have one without the other. Even those low-budget and indie films need a bit of ‘umph’ to get them going. There are lots of reasons for this, and the film/trilogy of choice I will use as an example, Mockingjay Part 1 of the Hunger Games trilogy.
1) Make people know you’re coming
Of course, how are people to know the film premise, the release date, who stars and co-stars and so on without putting the news out there? Movie studios pour ridiculous amounts of money into advertising, the bigger the blockbuster, the more ads and press. With Lionsgate’s Mockingjay in question, this is to get the fans geared up for the event, to give them a date to circle on their calendars, to let them know who’s starring in it, present cast and newcomers. This also works for those who have no idea what the film or trilogy entails.
2) Tease, tease, tease
Depending on the movie, genre, studio and where it’ll be released, the advertisment canon can vary, from very little teasers to plenty of them. These could be in the form of character posters, video trailers, social media artwork, countdowns, soundtracks, interviews, press releases and so on. Lionsgate have even played with the Hunger Game universe and made teaser ads as if it actually were ads live from the Capitol (after which are hijacked by the rebels, see video below).With Mockingjay there have been lots of little teasers (even teasers for the teaser trailer) with a few big ones but not as many compared to its predecessors, The Hunger Games & Catching Fire. Maybe it’s because the tone of this film is more darker and less flashy and ‘Capitol’. Maybe because they don’t want to give too much away. Maybe it’s because the PR department to their sweet time dragging their feet by only releasing ONE official full trailer at only 1.48 (standard for full movie trailers is between approx 1:30 – 2.30). For the fandom, it feels like it wasn’t enough, but one thing is for sure, people WILL be turning up to see the film, fans and non-fans.
3) Promotional products and sponsorship
Perhaps the biggest sponsorship collaboration with the Mockingjay P1 film is Samsung, having dealt with their promotional material, websites, Samsung released the teaser trailer on their Galaxy Tab®S product exclusively, presented the ‘Mockingjay Experience’ at Comic Con and other collabs. Previously Lionsgate had teamed up with Subway, CoverGirl and even themes and anecdotes from the film, such as the fashionistas of the Capitol, had birthed the fashion-oriented site ‘CapitolCouture.pn (even the costume designer Trish Summerville has released a Hunger Games themed collection exclusively with Net A Porter). There was even rumours flying about for a theme park….*shakes head*.
(Top left to bottom right: Outside the Samsung Mockingjay Experience building, the exclusive trailer viewing room, holographic photoshoots, Peeta’s bakery)
In a nut-shell with blockbuster films like these, the sphere for advertising is almost limitless. Sometimes it can be too much and too brash, ill-timed or tacky. Considering the book’s stance on how the games are glorified and advertised, it’s like life imitating art. But advertising nowadays has a way of creating a sort of ‘brand experience’. The kind that opens you to an almost alternate reality, where both the real world and the fantasy film world (in this case, the novel Mockingjay) meet and collide. To give people, particularly the fans, more than just a movie. My only question is…..is it November yet??