Cut the Promotional BS of Movies, Books, Etc.


Have you ever grown so tired of some coined phrase that you have to suppress a scream when someone uses it lest you rip their head off and punt it into next year’s New Year’s fireworks show? If so, then maybe you’ll join me in a little emotional therapy. [We’ll get to that in a moment. But, first, ‘a word from our sponsors.]

I know it’s probably just one of those things you should accept and let slide, but, if you see your share of commercials for movies like I do, maybe you’re also tired of the inflated enthusiasm intended to lure you into paying more than necessary for a look at something “new” (whether that costs you time and/or money). [And, while we’re at it, I’ll throw in the latest trials at TV series and any books with pages of “blurbs” from magazines and newspapers which fail to sound witty.] Some people, like my dad, reduce their selection of viewings to who’s starring in it and how many stars it was given (as if one chosen person’s stars meant more than those of any other critic or survey taken from a wide range of people who ruefully already paid the price). But, obviously, there is some sect of humanity–of which I am oblivious–who like to hear the words “best” and “ever” every time something comes to the theater. [I’d say “every time something NEW comes to the theater,” but we all should know by now not everything just released is any fresher than leftovers you reheat five times before tossing them out or that gift you received years ago before wrapping it to give someone else.] TV show hosts these days of “reality TV” boast how this season is the best ever. And, every season–but particularly every summer–there’s at least one stinky slug of a movie that gets slapped with those pungent, inane words.

“It’s the best movie you’ll see this summer!”

BULL…[Wait for it.]…CRAP!

And, who buys this crap? I’m betting on pre-teens and teenagers who still press their parents for permission to see movies at the latter’s expense. Even if that movie is of an adult nature, it might get tagged with the repugnant bumper sticker of give-me-a-friggin-break-you-recycled-excrement.

You know what will be the best movie ever? The one with the trailer that neither hides nor shares everything it has to offer, the one that teaches viewers to sit patiently (and quietly) for three hours and enjoy every minute of the well-written and staged story (without any over-priced snacks making a mess of the place), the one that doesn’t have the latest heartthrobs and last year’s Oscar winners thrown in for fun to play parts they clearly do not fit, the one that isn’t “leaked” online or “pirated” by some internet-savvy punks who think it’s funny or some form of revolution they’re starting (only to be the Nth in the line for those who already tried that), the one that doesn’t have its stars airbrushed or gym-molded into centerfolds of “entertainment” magazines like some PG-rated version of Playboy, the one that isn’t designed to resemble the video game already in production before the movie reaches theaters (so you will buy the game to play the movie scene for scene), the one that doesn’t push kids (and parents) to fill their homes with memorabilia they really don’t need (which goes from today’s treasure to tomorrow’s rummage sale), the one that doesn’t cost more than a trip through the fast food drive-thru to see…


Now…for that emotional therapy. You may pick from the following methods:

1) You can scream into a pillow (pressed over your mouth with both hands…provided you have two hands).

2) You can run outside and dance in the rain (provided it’s raining outside your door).

3) You can paint or draw a relaxing image of something that makes you feel happy and/or at peace.


4) You can try one of the methods I’ve seen on film. Either take a deep breath and exhale to the word “GOOOSEFRABAAAAH!” or repeat the phrase “Serenity now” and pray there’s no insanity, later.


As Garfield once said in an animated Christmas special, “It’s not the giving. It’s not the getting. It’s the loving.” I’m not sure where the loving fits into any of this. But, the quote came to mind. Now, go on. Get out of here.




2 Responses to “Cut the Promotional BS of Movies, Books, Etc.”

  1. 1 elmediat
    July 29, 2014 at 2:19 am

    You are quite right in suggesting there must be a target audience that responds to the buzz of the big new. Advertising methods work or they would not be used. Most advertising is most effective when it emphasizes emotions and beliefs. The ideal ad campaign will somehow manage to push all the emotional buttons connected to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

    What bothers me is when a film, television show, or book is marketed to the wrong audience. Most often it is the young audience you described. The particular piece of media then fails to live up to the hype because the wrong audience buys it If lucky, it may find its audience in spite of poor marketing choices ; that doesn’t happen often.

    • July 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Who says they work? 😀

      I keep picturing these hectic board rooms of advertising execs trying to figure out what WILL work and picking tactics at random, maybe even playing Twister to decide.

      I am not sure I’ve heard Maslow’s HoN.

      All I know is the typical ads push all the wrong buttons with me. Either they give away too much or they try to make everything like a car commercial where stunts are pulled that no normal driver should ever need to use. Anyone who’s actually sat though the Star Wars movies (for example) know the last one to come out was not the BEST EVERRR!!! But, if people continue to drill these phrases into young minds, attention spans will just continue to go out the window with impulse shopping mistakes. Last week’s new will be old faster than lunch meat sitting out of the fridge.

      In ancient times, kings and emperors would execute or exile what didn’t amuse them.

      And, if young audiences are targeted by these ads, why bother with what is generally adult material? It’s like selling cigarettes to kids because adults got wise to the problems or something similar.

      So, sure, the tactic might work if you consider the numbers of sales a success story. But, the results of such action still stink.

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