Friday, 27 January 2012

'Shame' - Another Masterstroke in Movie Marketing

2011 may not have been the greatest year for film, but it was a fantastic year for film marketing. Between Melancholia, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, We Need To Talk About Kevin and Shame, we have seen some of the very best in poster design, trailers and other marketing devices. I ranted about Melancholia a few months ago, about Dragon Tattoo for the last year on a continuous basis, about We Need To Talk About Kevin last week, and today it's Shame's turn. I already picked the poster as my favourite of 2011, and the trailer as the "best stirrer of deep seated emotions", but two new pictures made me realise again just how excellent Fox Searchlight has been at marketing this film. Pity some of that genius didn't rub off on the Academy before they picked the Oscar nominees this year. Hit the jump.

 NC-17: the root of it all

For those who don't know, Shame is a movie that deals with sex addiction. It should therefore come as no surprise that it (apparently) contains graphic scenes of sex and nudity, including full frontal Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. With such content comes the possibility of that notorious NC-17 ("No Children Under 17 Admitted") rating. The problem with NC-17 is that certain companies don't market films with that rating, some video stores don't stock the movies and the stigma associated with it is just a general marketing nightmare. In 2010, Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating caused a major uproar (from Harvey Weinstein of course), an appeal and an eventual R rating. 2011 saw Shame receive the rating too.

However, instead of bitching about it, distributor Fox Searchlight Pictured called it a "badge of honour" and decided to use NC-17 as a marketing tool of sorts. Basically they were saying, this is a movie about sex addiction and we aren't going to pretend it's anything else. It's adult subject matter, it has the rating to prove it, and don't watch it if you aren't prepared. National Association of Theatre Owners president John Fithian had this to say:

"It would have destroyed [Shame] to cut it down to an R rating… Too many filmmakers and too many studios do that, and I applaud Steve McQueen and Fox Searchlight for sticking to their guns. This is the kind of film that the NC-17 is designed for, and I think we need more bold filmmakers and distributors to make content appropriate for the rating and release it that way."

Whether aforementioned marketing tool worked is another question all together, but it has resulted in some pretty interesting advertising. Only the two most recent images really seem to make use of it though. Lets have a look.

The Posters


A little heavy on the photoshop, but otherwise an excellent poster.

Not as photoshopped as the last one, but somehow it doesn't work as well.

The very best poster of 2011.
And, here is the one (via Ropeofsilicon) that sparked this entire blog post. I made it small on purpose. Click on it for a larger image. When viewed quickly or in the smaller size, it seems obvious what the writing and the little shadow above are (or maybe I got a dirty mind). However, if you look at the bigger picture, it's all innocent. Brilliant marketing, but it probably won't go down well in most places (you see, it's European). I can't imagine seeing it at Sterland in Pretoria or Loch Logan in Bloemfontein....

The Trailers
(which I have posted and discussed before)

Green Band

Red Band:

The Best of All

How brilliant is this newspaper advert? It's not only the way it is printed, but also the location in the paper. Genius I tell you.

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