Movie Marketing Madness: Wedding Crashers

I’ve written before in various places of my belief that the comedy clique the stars of this movie are part of may be unprecedented in movie history. Don’t get me wrong, no one’s ever going to replace the Ritz Brothers, Marx Brothers, Abbot & Costello, Arbuckle and Keaton, etc. I mean the overall quality and the depth of the bench. The main group, Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Owen and Ben Wilson and Will Ferrell has turned out a consistent string of doubles and triples and Anchorman was almost a round-tripper. Add to that group the sidemen: Jason Bateman, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. Eight guys who consistently enjoy working together and are capable of turning out funny movies and I say that’s a cinematic milestone.The latest movie in their group resume, “Wedding Crashers” looks just as funny as anything they’ve done before. Two guys spend their spring and summer each year making the rounds of local weddings, getting free food, drinks and bridesmaids. Let’s check it out.

The Trailer

Vaughn and Wilson look like they’re having fun, and that’s to be expected. We get a pretty good introduction to the plot and a look at most of the supporting characters. It’s a fast-paced but surprisingly long trailer for a comedy. I expect most comedy trailers to be shorter, so as not to ruin all the gags. The fact that this one is longer means either they did, in fact, include all the funny lines or that the movie is so packed with them that they could afford to spoil a few more than usual. I’m leaning toward the latter.

Two more things: 1) Christopher Walken is in this movie, meaning there’s a better than even shot he’ll threaten someone, which really is all Walken should do in a movie. 2) Rachel McAdams is almost impossibly cute while still looking attainable by an ordinary guy. Not an easy trick to pull off.

The Posters

What does the general public, i.e. commuters standing in a bus shelter, need to know about this movie? The name and that it stars Wilson and Vaughn. In that regard it succeeds very well. Vaughn gets the most to do by striking a pose that would cause me to seek traction while Wilson sets up his character by looking like the slightly more sensible of the two.

There were also a couple character-centric posters with just the faces of the stars above one of the movie’s taglines. My favorite was the Vaughn one with “Dance like you mean it” but there are a number of others.

The Website

The Trailer kicks off the online offerings but seems to run a little slower on the site than if you streamed it from Yahoo! or Apple’s sites. There’s a Gallery with some good photos, mainly images lifted from the trailer but also some new ones. The Soundtrack lets you play clips from the songs appearing in the movie, including a track by Vaughn and Wilson. Check it out.

Production contains the cast and crew biographies, production notes and a story synopsis. The layout is that of a manila file folder with keywords – the name of the movie and the stars – highlighted. At first I didn’t care for it but after surfing around for a few minutes it grew on me. You can find all sorts of goodies in Downloads. The usual wallpapers, e-cards and screensaver are all there. There are also some cool unique items. First, you can sign up to get ringtones delivered to your cellular phone of sound bytes from the movie. There’s also something called “iPod Babes”. Basically this is a compressed photo gallery of the hot chicks from the movie specially designed to be put on the iPod Photo. Both the ringtones the “iPod Babes” are very cool and it’s great to see New Line embracing new technologies like this.

There are two fun parts of the site. First, Crasher Kit is a briefcase full of items designed to help you bluff your way (and forgive my bluntness) into a girl’s pants. Tips on how to fake adventure photos and such will get you laid, apparently (which I’d known that in college). Secondly Quail Shoot is an online game that’s actually fun to play. It’s a point and shoot game but occasionally you “take a daiquiri time out”. A little daiquiri glass on screen goes down and all of a sudden both your targeting crosshairs and the quails you’re trying to shoot get a little blurry. This keeps happening the more you drink.

I was afraid that one online aspect that had gotten a lot of press wasn’t anywhere to be found on the site. The “Crash This Trailer” viral campaign allowed internet users to upload a picture of themselves or their friends and have their faces replace those of Vaughn and Wilson in the trailer. You then forward the finished product to your friends. That’s a great way to involve the audience and create some buzz. Don’t worry, it is on the site’s front page so if you want to find it it’s there, just not labeled.

Overall

Great campaign that especially excels online through the use of interactive and entertaining content. The posters, when all is said and done, are not that exciting or creative but they barely need to be. The trailer is very funny. It’s the website, though, that really shines through. They’ve integrated conceits from the movie into the online experience to create a site that really contributes something to the movie. Good stuff and bravo to New Line for not ignoring their online audience.