Open letter to Paramount Vantage marketing: 26 years ago the buzz-phrase that sold Frank Perry‘s Mommie Dearest among urban movie buffs was “no wire hangers!” My memory is fuzzy but I don’t think Paramount marketers got around to using the phrase in its Mommie Dearest newspaper ads and one-sheets until fairly late in the run, if at all. (Was it used for the home video campaign? I can’t remember.)
Thanks to Dave (last name withheld by request) for this illustration
My point is (and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this), you shouldn’t make the same mistake with There Will Be Blood. You need to get on the milkshake train now.
“I drink your milkshake!” is the golden ticket that will sell this thing with the people who are too lazy to read reviews and don’t care that much about awards. It’s simple, it’s viral, it’s primitive…it will travel. Make the “I drink your milkshake” T-shirts, hand out the buttons and bumper stickers, cut the TV and radio ads that emphasize the line over and over, and sell this brilliant but undeniably gnarly film as a kind of half-melodrama, half-hoot.
Selling Blood for what it is will mean, I suspect, not very much business. Even if it wins awards. A milkshake campaign will, in a sense, dumb the movie down, yes, but it will make it seem more accessible to casual moviegoers. The more it gets around, the more Average Joes will say to each other, “Have you seen it? What’s this milkshake thing?”
You should also go with “draaaaaaaiiin-age!” in some way, shape or form.