In a piece called “Hush vs. Gush,” Variety‘s Marc Graser and Dave McNary describe the thin line that marketers for semi-secretive, big-budget, hot-buzz movies — like Chris Nolan‘s Inception — have to tread.
The trick is to dispense aroma and atmosphere and a few select details that will make everyone drool, but don’t kill the goose by revealing too much. However, “it’s getting harder than ever to keep a secret in Hollywood,” the Variety guys observe.
“The fast fingers of bloggers (professional and amateur), feverishly documenting every aspect of a film’s development and production on websites and Twitter feeds, have made it nearly impossible for studios to surprise moviegoers these days.”
The Hangover director Todd Phillips states the obvious in saying that “the word gets out very quickly now” and “that quick feedback can make or break a movie.”
A marketing exec comments that Warner Bros, marketing honcho Sue Kroll “was actually forced to veer away from the typical marketing campaign because Inception isn’t the kind of film that can be easily reduced to a single catchphrase, although ‘Your mind is the scene of the crime’ and ‘The dream is real’ certainly try.
“‘It’s really a counterprogramming campaign in the extreme,’ the exec says. ‘The studio knows it can’t position this like another tentpole, even though it is a tentpole.'”
I need to say one thing about Inception, and it has absolutely nothing to do with marketing. We all know it contains a big third-act revelation, but I don’t want to see one in which we’re told that most of much of what we’ve seen happen in Act One or Two has been imagined, as if in a dream. I don’t want any of that Dallas crap — please.