Movie Marketing Madness: Terri

What’s the most fundamental thing you can think of for any human being? The most fundamental need? We all just want to be understood, don’t we? We need someone – anyone – to really make a connection with and be someone who *gets* who we are and what we are trying to say about ourselves, our world and the situations that we find ourselves in. When we find that person we tend to latch on for dear life.

The title character of the new film Terri is in search of just such a connection. Terri (Jacob Wysocki) isn’t fitting in at his high school. He’s overweight and likes to wear pajamas out and about because they’re more comfortable. His behavior starts to spill over into other aspects of his academic life and eventually comes to the attention of the schools vice principal (John C. Reilly) and the two, through a series of circumstances, begin to bond as they find they each fill some need in the other.

The Posters

The movie’s one poster isn’t anything special or particularly unique. It just shows the two main characters sitting across a table from one another, Terri in his pajamas and the principal with a stern but compassionate look on his face. That shows what the movie is primarily going to be about – the two characters talking to each other – and combined with the “We’ve all been there” copy that’s on the one-sheet does a decent job of explaining what audiences can likely expect from the film.

The Trailers

The main device used in the trailer is a meeting between Mr. Fitzgerald and Terri, where the vice-principal is expressing his disappointment over the recent behavior that has landed Terri in his office. We see that Terri has begun to be seen as having an attitude problem. But then we see that the two form a friendship of sorts that has the two confiding in each other and spending more time together. There are also hints in the trailer of a budding romance between Terri and a girl at his school, something that likely holds the key to the rest of the story.

It’s a calm and focused trailer that knows to put the majority of its emphasis on the interplay between Mr. Fitzgerald and Terri, since it’s in that interchange that most of the plot will be driven by. it doesn’t try to be something it’s not, it just makes the case that if the dialogue and acting look interesting here – and the insertion of critic’s quotes playing up those elements certainly helps – you’ll likely want to check out the film.

Online

The official website opens by playing the trailer, which is absolutely worth rewatching.

Kicking off the main navigation at the top is “Synopsis” which has a great write-up of the story’s outline and the film’s credits. “Videos” has the trailer and an extended scene of the two main character’s first meeting. There are nine stills in the “Photos” section. “Theaters & Showtimes” lets you know if the movie is playing near you and when.

“Cast & Crew” contains career overviews of the talent in front of and behind the camera, “Press” has quotes from some of the film’s early reviews and “About” has extended articles covering the movie’s production and casting processes.

There are lots of updates on the cast’s promotional appearances, the release of new marketing materials and more on the film’s Facebook page along with multimedia assets like videos – including more extended clips – and photos.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing here that I’ve seen or am aware of.

Media and Publicity

The movie went into its 2011 Sundance Film Festival debut as one of the most anticipated titles that were appearing there. At the festival director Jacobs was interviewed (Filmmaker Magazine1/18/11) about the themes of the movie and how he was in the relatively comfortable position of already having distribution secured. The appearance there did build up some positive buzz, with at least impression of it being that it had echoes to the work of the late John Hughes (Los Angeles Times, 1/29/11). Later appearances would include the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAT, 5/3/11).

Overview

It’s a nice little campaign that’s even smaller in scale than this week’s other “minor” release, Larry Crowne since there’s no advertising support and the different wattage of star power means press coverage hasn’t been nearly as pervasive.

For what it is, though, it works quite well. The target audience here is fans of small, independent character-driven movies and, given the movie’s word of mouth coming out of Sundance and the presence of Reilly there’s a lot for that audience to latch on to. Well worth checking out based on this campaign.

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