Sony has finally released the full theatrical trailer for The DaVinci Code, the anti-Catholic screed inspired by the devil himself in an effort to overturn religion on Earth.
Wow, have I been reading the wrong websites.
Seriously, let’s remember that the book the movie is based on was, while very popular, not very good. It had a very thin plot that necessitated the repeating of a handful of points over and over again in order to meet the author’s agreed upon page count. It was certainly suspenseful, but about as filling intellectually as a McDonald’s cheeseburger.
That being said the trailer is pretty effective. Readers of the book will instantly recognize certain situations, settings and characters. Tom Hanks is, truthfully, about ten years too old for this part, as the character he’s playing is supposed to be a gentleman in his late thirties or early forties and Hanks is about to turn 50. I’ve no doubt he can play the part effectively but I had in my head someone younger while reading it. Let me go on the record as saying I have no problem with Audrey Tautou in the role of Sophie. Just the right age and just the right mix of brains and beauty. Spot-on there.
There are two new websites hidden at the end of the trailer as well. SoDarkTheConOfMan.com simply redirects to the official Sony site for the movie. SeekTheCodes, though, goes to what appears to be a character blog. It looks like it’s supposed to be some amateur cryptologist/iconographer who is getting into DaVinci, his codes and the rest of the romantic era arts and sciences. You all know how I feel about character blogs so I’m not going to get into that again. Still, it’s an interesting effort on the part of Sony. At least they’re trying.
Absolutely breathtaking trailer for the new Warner Bros. film Poseidon, a remake of the now much hokey-er sounding Poseidon Adventure. The film features Andre Braugher, Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas and others aboard a cruise ship that falls victim to a gigantic (and in this case completely CG) wave that capsizes the boat. The survivors must then fight for survival.
It’s a really good trailer for one important reason: It follows a linear narrative. It begins by setting up the situation and presenting everyone feeling comfortable and having a good time. Then the tension builds as crew members sense something is wrong and then all hell breaks loose. That’s how you sell an effective trailer, folks.
Paramount Pictures reportedly got into the AdWords game to promote three of its recent films. By using the Google Site Tool, a utility that lets advertisers know which sites would best fit their needs, they bought keywords relating to the recent movie Hustle & Flow. Paramount found 170 sites displaying AdSense ads that they felt reached a niche audience well enough to influence ticket buying behavior.
While the point of the story is great – that niche targeting can influence the success of a product whether it’s a movie or a toaster – I do take issue with the following statement by writer David Utter:
Unless the movie features Tom Cruise or Will Smith standing in the middle of things exploding, the film needs all the promotional help it can get.
Where has this guy been for the last three years? Cruise and Smith, much less big action films, are no longer the surefire blockbusters they once were. Here’s an idea: Get a writer who has paid attention to the film industry in a deeper manner than subscribing to Entertainment Weekly to write your movie stories. At least get him to read MMM.
I have to admit that, despite living near Chicago – where the musical revival of Mel Brooks’ The Producers debuted prior to the Broadway run – I didn’t see it. Believe me, I wanted to, it was just a combination of time and money that prevented it from happening. The original movie (which was not a musical for those just coming into this) is a bona fide classic of film comedy. Brilliant and career-making performances from both Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel, combined with one of the sharpest scripts Brooks ever produced, make this movie a laugh riot.
The genius of the film made me wary of the musical, but I was reassured by the fact that Brooks himself was overseeing it. The idea of making a movie out of the musical – essentially bringing the story full circle via a hexagon – seemed a little odd to me, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Whatever qualms I had were put more or less to rest by the fact that stars Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane were returning and were being joined by Uma Thurman as Ulla the secretary and Will Ferrell as Franz Liebkind, the writer of the play within a play “Springtime For Hitler.”
I have to admit to being a little surprised to see Thurman on the one-sheet for the movie. Not that I’m complaining – I think she should be on the poster for every movie, even ones she doesn’t appear in – but Ulla in the movie was a pretty small role and mainly consisted of dancing in a mini skirt. This may by where my ignorance of the musical is to blame since it’s possible the part was expanded on stage. Other than that the poster is very deco-ish, which confused me slightly. The movie is set in the 60′s but everything about this poster screams early 50′s. What period is the movie set in? Am I thinking too much about this?
Lane and Broderick certainly seem to be having fun and have what seems to be an easy chemistry in their roles as partners in swindling. That’s not completely surprising considering they worked together for years in the play. There are a number of the musical numbers that are highlighted as well as a good amount of screen time for Ferrell and Thurman. It’s a fun trailer with only one weak point I could find. The moment where Broderick’s Leo Bloom shouts “This is it!!” at the back of the theater on opening night is too much of a Gene Wilder impersonation for me. It’s a minor qualm but that’s why I’m here, right?
One thing about the website that’s for certain is that it is painfully slow. I mean really friggin’ slow. I tried it on both a cable modem and a T1 connection and it took forever to load, and that’s only when I didn’t give up and close the window out of sheer frustration. My other main complaint with the site is that there’s one song, sung by Nathan Lane, plays repeatedly whereever you go and however long you’re there. There’s nothing wrong with the song, but considering the slowness of the site you can hear that one song three or four times over the course of waiting for one section to load.
Once I got there and sat through the tortuous process of waiting for everything to load, I discovered very little about the site that was engaging or interesting. The usual fare lie inside the “The Story”, “Videos”, “Cast & Crew”, “Downloads” and “Images”. The best part of the site is called “Bialystock’s Big Ones,” which is a tour through the professional history of Max Bialystock. We get posters and script snippets to his past productinos “The Kidney Stone”, “This Too Shall Pass” and others.
Do you need to be a fan of the stage show in order to enjoy the movie? Probably not, but it obviously wouldn’t hurt. I’d say it’s just more important that you be a fan of Mel Brooks. Overall the campaign is pretty good, but almost seems a little light and insubstantial for a movie that could have a huge impact this late in the year. Rent, unfortunately, proved that you need to do more than count on appealing to the same audience that loved the play to be a success. I don’t, though, see Universal trying that hard to reach beyond that core group with this campaign.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the finale to the fourth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, Larry David’s hit HBO comedy. The entire season had been built around David’s fictional self being cast as Bialystock in the stage production of The Producers. The finale, then, showed that everything had been a setup to a punchline that literally left my jaw agape. I’m not going to ruin it because everyone should do out and see it. I really couldn’t believe it. It’s not shocking but it is funny in a way that just left me in tears.
Earth got all used up, so we terraformed…
Wait. That might be something else.
Welcome to Bacon’s Blog, brought to you by Bacon’s Information here in lovely (and cold) Chicago, IL. My name is Chris Thilk, a Senior Digital Media Specialist at Bacon’s.
Bacon’s Blog is designed and intended to be our voice in the conversation that’s going on in the PR/Marketing/Communications world. Believe me, you should keep reading all those other blogs and sites since they all do their own particular brand of voodoo very well. I’m hoping, though, that Bacon’s Blog can add something to your day and to your knowlege base.
While this is a blog from Bacon’s Information it will not be a corporate blog, meaning I’m not just here to talk about how fantastic Bacon’s is and such. Will I talk about Bacon’s? Sure, but only when appropriate and always in a manner that is upfront and honest. I’m here to get in the conversation, not just be a corporate communications outlet.
The final thing you might be asking yourself is, “Why this guy?” Good question. Over the course of the last few years I’ve gone from being a blog neophyte to a heavy blog reader and user. Personally I’ve run and have written for a number of blogs over the last few years. I’ve also been tapped by Bacon’s to travel across the country (and boy are my arms tired) speaking on blogs and their place in the communcations mix to a number of PRSA chapters, an experience that has been invaluable to my education. If you recognize my name it’s likely from either one of those blogs (including AdJab and Public Relations Ramblings) or one of my speaking gigs.
If you have any other questions they will probably be answered in the About section to the left (above the logo). Other than that sit back and visit often. And please, don’t judge the blog (or the company) by the photo on the left. Yes, that’s me. Sorry.
It was a scant two weeks ago when Google launched Analytics, a service allowing web publishers to track their visitor traffic. Since then the service has received more critical coverage than just about any of Google’s free services (I’m purposely excluding Google Print since it’s not a service but an initiative). Bloggers like Shel Holtz and others took the service to task for slow performance and eventually you could no longer sign up for it. I was lucky enough to get in while it was running pretty well and sign up for my personal blog. For me the service has been alright – a little slow but it’s not my primary source of visitor information.
The reason I bring this up is that over the weekend I got an email from Google regarding Analytics. It basically explained that yes, they were aware of the service being slow and that the speed was caused by an unexpected and overwhelming response. They simply didn’t have the capacity to cover the demand. This is the first such email I’ve gotten from Google despite being a user of at least four of their online services (Gmail, Analytics, Talk and Reader). As TypePad recently learned, the best public relations move is to be open and honest with users. For a normally closed-mouth company like Google this had to be painful but it’s a great way to maintain loyal users by just sending a simple email with a heads-up message. Good on them for biting the bullet and hitting “Send”.
I love so many things about this new PR list, moderated and organized by Constantin Basturea. Not only does it allow me to point people to one place when they ask me “where do I find a list of good PR blogs” but there’s also an OPML file to download of the entire list. Fantastic work. If you want to read some background on this, Constantin wrote about it on his blog.
I’m a bit late in talking about this, but TypePad really has done a great job of confronting the recent illwill generated by constant outages and slowness. As Katherine Stone of Decent Marketing notes, the blogging company contacted its users about free extension to their contract and let the user decide how much was appropriate. “Do you feel you deserve 15, 30,45 or no free days of service” was the gist of the response. They probably got off pretty ease since most people who aren’t power users weren’t that affected and so opted for a lower payback. Even those that might have been inconvenienced probably felt bad picking a higher amount and so went with 15 or 30 days. Most of all, it played into the whole idea of empowering the user base and not making them accept a dictate from on high. Well done.
In case you’re still new to the wonderful world of RSS (I seriously don’t know how I read the web without it) MarketingProfs has beginner’s course geared toward corporate usage of the technology.
The first step, and one that proved vital in my own education, was to approach RSS as an end-user. If you try and just dive in to how to use it for business you’ll probably come at it from the wrong angle. By using it first you can see how you like to receive, organize and ultimately read your RSS subscriptions. That at least gives you a starting point when you try and integrate them into your corporate communications strategy.
After that you can figure out what you’re going to push to RSS, how you’re going to do so, how to publicize it and then measure the results. As you go along and brainstorm on this – as well as getting feedback from users – you’ll discover all sorts of uses for the technology.