>Failed Marketing

>High Fidelity is a good movie. There are a lot of layers to it. It isn’t the deepest story I’ve ever seen, but it goes beyond the average—especially within its category. It is fair to call it a comedy. It is also fair to say it has a love story in it—perhaps it’s even “romantic.” However, it is not a “romantic comedy!” Why then, does the trailer make it look like one?

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=fitmedia-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B002CLBJV4&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrFight Club is a good movie. Like High Fidelity, it connects with something deeper—and in this case, darker—in a man’s soul. Fight Club is very violent, but it also possesses a humorous edge. The main character’s struggle to find himself, is something that resonates with men trying to do the same. It is a cathartic home, if not a pathway to healing. It is especially valuable for a person seeking a solution use as a platform for discussion with a mentor. It is not, therefore, a simple action-flick. So why does the trailer make it look like one?

The answer is that there is no way to promote the sophistication of a given story in a short trailer. Never mind the fact that film marketers have little interest in or understanding of story depth, the medium of a trailer is more suited to the delivery of emotion than of rationale. Compounding the problem is the current MPAA rating system, which is a great system for gauging explicit content. It just is not equipped to gauge sophistication.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=fitmedia-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B0007DFJ0G&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrWhat I mean is this: a movie’s rating is rarely left to chance. If they know what they’re doing at all, then the producers have a target audience in mind for the production. If they want a broad audience, they will often plan to make a “PG-13” film. This eliminates the younger crowd, but still maintains a rather tame film (content-wise). However, because the rating allows those who are 13 to attend, the story must be crafted in such a way that 13 year-old can understand. This puts a limit on sophistication.

If a producer wishes to talk about deeper, more adult themes (story-wise), then he must work in several “F-bombs” or perhaps a contrived nude scene in order to achieve an “R” rating. This higher rating would eliminate “kids” from the theatre (supposedly, but that’s another subject). However, the “R” rating does not ensure higher sophistication, it merely enables it. Therefore, when a trailer focuses on one-liners and violent images, there is no way to tell whether or not it is a “smart” film.

If the story is good enough, then it will eventually gain fans, win awards, and go mainstream. There is a big difference between violence, language, and nudity that serves the story and those that simply serve “entertainment.” However, these smarter films suffer from a sleepy start because no one knows what to expect, and few stop to understand the value long enough to pass it on. I think many gems go needlessly unrewarded as a result.

What I propose is an additional “sophistication” rating. For example, if a person dislikes “R” rated content, but is dissatisfied with the lack of intellectual challenge in “PG-13” movies, that person should be able to select “PG-13” content with an “25+” story. By contrast, if a person has a high tolerance for “R” content, but isn’t looking for a challenge, he should be able to select a movie with a “13-17” story.

This system would effectively liberate media creators to cater to either intellect or emotion. The natural flow of the market would prove which is more profitable or sustainable.

High Fidelity – Based on the book by Nick Hornby, this movie tells the story of Rob Gordon, audiophile and record-store owner, whose understanding of women is phenomenally dull. His intense emotions over a recent breakup lead him to examine his life, arriving at a simple yet profound understanding of relationships.
Fight Club – Based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk, this movie follows the meltdown of a frustrated corporate professional, who meets a soap salesman named Tyler. Together, the two found “Fight Club,” an underground organization for men of similar ilk to vent their frustrations on one another, and eventually on the corporate world as a whole.


0 Responses to “>Failed Marketing”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Get Involved

Promoting art on television starts with you. Take the Varolo user tour, and become part of the change!




"For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction."

- Kahlil Gibran

"All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?"
- Nicholas Johnson, author:
"We need the media to be presenting pictures of possibility not just continuing to be prophets of doom and gloom."
- Kevin Kelly, Wired

"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."

- Adam Smith
"And the science is overwhelming that for creative, conceptual tasks, those if-then rewards rarely work and often do harm."
- Daniel Pink, author: Drive

"I wish we had a Problem-Solver Party because we have very big problems that need solving. And I think a lot of our attention is addressed to the wrong problems."
- David McCullough, author: 1776
"The goal shouldn't be to have a lot of people to yell at, the goal probably should be to have a lot of people who choose to listen."
- Seth Godin, author: Tribes
"The role of the media is to disseminate information, highlight important current events, and to essentially stand as a witness, an observer of cultural, political, community, and educational events. A healthy media provides a check on the government and increases the political astuteness of republican citizens."
- Stephen Palmer, The Center for Social Leadership
"Advertisers and politicians rely on a half-educated public, on people who know little outside of their own specialty, because such people are easy to deceive with so-called experts, impressive technical or sociological jargon, and an effective set of logical and psychological tricks."
- Robert Harris
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
- John Adams
"I know no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education."
- Thomas Jefferson
"Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise--as priests, prophets or philosophers are wise. Specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine."
- Allan Bloom, author: The Closing of the American Mind
"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
(Proverbs 13:20)
"If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all."

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"I learn a lot from TV. Everytime someone turns one on, I go in the other room and read a book."
- Groucho Marx, comedian: Duck Soup
"There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."
- Charles Kingsley

%d bloggers like this: