Welcome to Moviepilot's Marketing Spotlight, our weekly look at which marketing campaigns are doing it right. In the world of entertainment, the marketing of a movie or TV series can be as important as the production itself. A good promo campaign can mean the difference between a hit and a flop, but a putting together a smart campaign is harder than it looks.
Here are the great pieces of marketing from the week of November 15-21.
Jessica Jones (Netflix/Marvel)
The lead-up to Netflix's latest original Marvel series, Jessica Jones, which was released this past Friday, has been a slow burn. The oh-so-brief teasers focused not on Jessica's face or voice, but rather on her extraordinary antihero personality. Some grew weary of the extreme secretiveness of the campaign after a while, but it paid off in its last week prior to release.
With David Tennant's villain, Kilgrave, having been buzzed about as Marvel's most creepy and twisted villain yet, fans were eager to see him fully revealed. Last week found Netflix finally releasing the first clips of Kilgrave himself, including his introductory scene, in which he is shot from behind with his face kept in darkness. Only with his second clip was he fully revealed for the first time. The marketing campaign turned him into a boogeyman that existed on the edges of our consciousness, mimicking the way the show shaped him as a twisted urban legend before introducing him fully in the flesh. It was a very smart and sinister build-up to a character that relies so much on operating from the shadows, both physically and mentally.
If "Jessica Jones" trending for four days straight on Twitter and massive buzz the show is garnering is any indication, then the payoff has absolutely been worth the slow burn campaign.
Jessica Jones is currently streaming on Netflix.
Creed (Warner Bros.)
The marketing campaign for Creed, a sequel to the classic Rocky films, has been a fairly quiet, but pointed one. Rather than try and engage the attention of a wide general audience, Warner Bros. has banked on the nostalgia aspect of the Rocky franchise and focused heavily on longtime fans as well as diving heavily into the local Philadelphia scene.
The biggest marketing and PR events for Creed have relied on Philly pride, being held all over Rocky's old stomping grounds: Journalists were invited to Philadelphia for a screening and press conference, which was held at the Front Street Gym, the iconic, old-school gym where both the fictional Rocky Balboa trained and real-life boxers train today. It was actually the second of two screenings held that weekend, with not just journalists, but Rocky superfans also being invited to the screening (words on the street is a chant for the Eagles broke out at one). And, of course, a press and fan weekend for Creed wouldn't have been complete without a photo op with cast members on the famous "Rocky" steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In a nostalgia-driven entertainment landscape, it's exceptionally smart of Warner Bros. to play up that aspect, along with the blue collar idea of hometown pride, as Rocky fans tend to be cut from that same working class cloth.
Creed opens in theaters on Wednesday, November 25th.
The Danish Girl (Focus Features)
Focus Features has steadily been churning out quality films for the past few years, eschewing blockbusters in favor of more personal stories. With upcoming The Danish Girl about to hit theaters, Focus is hoping to recapture the lightning in a bottle it found with last year's The Theory of Everything, the awards season heavyweight that landed lead actor Eddie Redmayne his first Oscar for Best Actor and gave audiences one of the most adorably excited acceptance speeches in recent memory.
To that end, the marketing for The Danish Girl has heavily featured Redmayne, who shares the lead with Alicia Vikander. Vikander is equally as excellent as Redmanye in the film, but is not as well known to audiences. So it's Redmayne's expressive face that's been prominently on display in the stills, the posters, the photo ops, the interviews. The idea is that if audiences loved him in last year's Theory of Everything, they'll be enticed by seeing him in an even more challenging role. Likewise, those who didn't bother to see Theory of Everything, but whose interest was piqued after Redmayne won the Oscar for Best Actor, will be inclined to see The Danish Girl. At the moment, Redmayne is a legitimate star and his name is automatically associated with high-quality, Oscar-contending work.
Reteaming with Redmayne is a smart and successful partnership for a small studio that is becoming increasingly a part of the Oscar conversation every year, and pushing him to the forefront of the marketing campaign is an association with quality that Focus may very well ride to another dominant awards season.
The Danish Girl opens in limited theaters on Friday, November 27th.