I FINALLY got round to watching Mockingjay Pt 1 the other weekend at home and I noticed a something during the film. The political campaigning that took place on both opposing sides, was quite evident in the movie. I probably only realised this subtext more on screen than reading the book. But it’s quite an interesting subtext that plays throughout the film. How the rebelling districts try to rally the undecided to join their cause and decry the Capitol’s atrocities. In turn, the Capitol tries to fend off the rebels by classic authoritarian means. That included prohibition of anything Mockingjay related, killing dissidents and trying to maintain order in the districts.
There is a lot of the political campaigns and manoeuvres from both sides, some of which are done through TV marketing during the film. Known to fans as ‘propos’ (short for propaganda clips), you see each side giving the country their side of the story, their vision and their warnings. Having the burden of being the face of the rebellion, the heroine of the story Katniss has to accept her role as the Mockingjay, doing her part to bolster the rebellion.
Like any political campaign, you will have those who are more than willing, and those who have little to no choice. Katniss is oscillating somewhere in-between. She’s still reeling from two Hunger Games in a row and had her home district completely annihilated. Don’t forget, this is a war movie with a lot of political agendas at play. Between what you see on the screens and what you see behind the scenes, you get a visual idea of how these characters (in the book & film) play their roles when you look at it from a marketing POV. Each side tries capitalise upon the situation and try to promote their own causes to the public at large, trying to shift the war in their favour.
With the General Election coming up in May here and the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election in the US, you’ll see numerous ‘propos’ being thrown into the mix. Each side promoting themselves whilst denouncing their opponents. The propos in the Mockingjay film gives me shades of what we’re kind of seeing now with the current elections. Just goes to show how even in films, how advertising is so necessary. Not only that, but how it can be so much more than just promoting oneself or criticising others. It’s a medium that creates the opportunity to voice what needs to be said. Sure, sometimes there’s a lot of crap that smothers the real message in advertisements. But regardless, it’s getting that message across that is key.
You even see Lionsgate’s marketing team capitalising on the ‘propos’ angle by actually creating real propos for the rest of us. Poster, video clips, character shots even viral marketing in the form of ‘propos hacking’. All of this campaigning from both the Capitol & District 13. It’s like the recent Valentino catwalk that promoted Zoolander 2. It’s like being a part of the story/film! It’s adding a new dimension to the THG world and making us, fans and non-fans, being able to participate and become more integrated in THG universe. Here’s some propos ‘from the Capitol’.
See what I mean about the propo hacking? You can see another example of District 13 hacking one of our adverts below. Just like in the books.
Here’s a clip of what happened when the camera crew who follow Katniss into a warzone, captured her on camera saying this in the aftermath. (SPOILER ALERT)
Sidenote: That is a great example of impromptu advertising. Katniss couldn’t perform with scripted copy, she had to be out there in the mix. I would post the clip here but I can’t find it. Watch the film!
District 13 used Katniss as the face of the rebellion and rightly so. She IS the embodiment of the nation that is in peril and has had enough. But interestingly is how The Capitol responded, by using the one person who has the power to bring down the Mockingjay. Peeta. (SPOILER ARLET)
It’s ironically funny and cruel how both sides are using Katniss and Peeta against each other in a bombardment of propos. The Capitol even tortures poor Peeta in order to derail Katniss. Because without the Mockingjay, the rebellion won’t win. The Capitol’s president Snow has a line in the film that is harrowingly true. “It’s the things we love the most, that destroy us”.
Marketing, just like words and actions, has the ability to uplift a nation or drag it under. And on a personal level? Well just look at Peeta & Katniss.