Friday, January 16, 2009

Weird advertising campaigns of our times.

I was in London with Reidski a few weeks back when I commented on a poster on the side of a bus which advertised the film Slumdog Millionaire. It exclaimed that it was 'The Feel Good Movie of the Decade!' and it made the film look like something in the style of the American Pie films. My comment was along the lines of 'Well I won't be bothering with that load of shite.' Reidski told me it was a Danny Boyle film which took the winds out of my, already prejudiced against the film due entirely to the poster, sails. He said he had heard it was really good. "Why then" I asked him, "are they designing adverts to make it look really bad?"

So it came to pass that I did go and bother with that particular load of shite, and it bore no resemblance to any American Pie film I have ever had the misfortune to see (I do have teenage sons you know), - except for the bit when our young hero dives into the sewer I suppose. The ending is indeed 'feel good', but I have to say that for the vast majority of the film I was frankly traumatised by the horror that was young Jamal's life experiences.

I would really like to know how much the designers of that poster campaign earnt for what seems to me to be the biggest misrepresentation of any film ever - unless anyone can suggest other candidates for this distinction?


Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Cloud is convinced there was a radio dramatization of this some time ago which NO one seems to have rememebered existed.

Someone actually remarked on the radio yesterday about how the first hour or so of SM is unrelentingly bleak in its portrayal of the poverty of Mumbai (possibly Mark Kermode) and yet, indeed, the film has drawn 'feel-good' reviews. Perhaps because the ending isn't quite as bleak as the beginning.

Bonkers ad campaign though, whatever.

Fire Byrd said...

Haven't seen the adverts. But thought the film was amazing. Mainly perhaps because of the reality of the poverty in Mumbai.It's film to challenge and that's why it worked so well for me.

Jay said...

There have been so many films I've thought that about - they'd have done so much better to be honest about what the film WAS rather than trying to hook people in by telling them what they thought they wanted to hear.

The biggest recent faux-pas along these lines was marketing Sweeney Todd by very carefully avoiding telling anyone it was a musical. Sheesh, people, you think no-one's going to notice when they get in there? All you get like that is the wrong people in the theatres and a lot of negative feedback. LOL!

marc said...

I agree re the strange ad campaign -- really gives one the wrong impression & Mamma Mia it's certainly not. Have to disagree JJ on the film itself tho -- I thought it was a terrific story, given the adversity the kid grows up with to be able to triumph over it by the end. The India reality is bleak in a way that none of us can know & I found the story itself fascinating & fantastical in a bollywood style, how the kid comes to know the answers on the show (great touch there). I don't know what the ad agency folks were thinking but it still is a top film & fair play to Danny Boyle. Plus it's got a killer soundtrack which I've been listening to constantly!

Reidski said...

marc - JJ can speak for herself, but, in the meantime, I think you have misunderstood her words. She also thought it was terrific, but, like me, confused by the impression given by the ad campaign.

Talking of duff ad campaigns, remember this one: "Jaws - if you like fish, then you'll love this!"

Anonymous said...

I remember the radio adaptation! I must admit that I was beginning to think I had imagined it ...

Good Guardian review-reading types (like Reidski) will know what the film is like and will go to see it regardless of the ad campaign, which is aimed at the non-reading masses who, it is assumed (probably rightly), like that Mamma Mia/American Pie kind of thing.

Oh dear, you will rage at me now, bracketing MM with AP! And Reidski will rage because he doesn't read the Guardian!


J.J said...

Cloud can be reassured that Messalina remembers it too!

Fire Byrd - it certainly is an amazing film.

jay - that is really quite funny thinking of the promoters deciding to try to conceal the fact that Sweeney Todd was a musical - barmy!

Hiya Marc - yes, like Reidski says I did think the film was brillaint and probably didn't make that clear with what I wrote. Must download the soundtrack myself. (New i-pod for Christmas don't you know? ;-) )

Reidski - is that really true about Jaws????

Messalina - I would never rage at you dear! I did get to see MM again over Xmas - oh lucky me! Brosnan's singing was just as bad second time around!

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