Movie Marketing Madness: A Little Help

When someone turns out to be something other than what we expect them to be or have come to believe them to be we can have a number of potential reactions. It can fall off like water off a duck’s back and we can write it off or we can mightily freak out and feel betrayed. Certainly the depth to which we relate to that person – are we casual friends or are we married to them – influences how strong our reaction is going to be.

In the new movie A Little Help one person suffers the ultimate betrayal before needing to drastically change how they live their life. Jenna Fischer plays Laura, a wife and mother who finds out her husband Bob (Chris O’Donnell) has been cheating on her. Shortly after being confronted with the fact that she knows he dies of a heart attack and leaves her and their son to fend for themselves. While he deals with things by lying to his classmates that his dad actually died in the Word Trade Center on 9/11/01 she just tries to keep things afloat. The movie, then, is about how they try to pick up their lives and move on in new and stronger directions.

The Posters

Pretty basic, the movie’s one poster just shows Fischer laying in bed with the covers wrapped around her like she’s protesting the world and staying in bed that day. Fischer’s association with “The Office” is what’s called out in the copy at the top that praises her performance, a decision clearly made to make sure audiences could recall where they knew her from.

The Trailers

We start off simply enough in the trailer, with her picking up her son instead of her husband, who’s “working late.” Later on she confronts him about all those late nights and it’s revealed that he was cheating on her, something that comes out just before he suffers a fatal heart attack. But Dennis thinks it’s cooler to tell his classmates his dad died in 9/11. So the movie is clearly about the two of them coming to terms with each other in this new situation.

The trailer is kind of great. Fischer seems to give such a natural, effortless performance that, based on this, it’s easy to see her as a put upon mom who wants to be cool and can see her son’s point of view but who also needs to be an authority figure. She’s of course given a new romantic interest (the biggest cliche is that he’s someone who had a crush on her in high school) but continues to muddle through her job, which comes complete with annoying talking bird. It’s funny, light-hearted and emotional and I like this a lot.

Online

The movie’s official website (built completely on WordPress from what I can tell) is actually quite a nice affair for such a small, low-budget movie.

“About” has a Story synopsis that goes into quite a bit of detail on the film’s plot and then very nice Production notes and Filmmaker information. Next there’s the “Cast” section which gives brief bits of background on the primary cast members. And “Director” has a message from Michael J. Weithorn on what inspired the film and more.

“Video” has a ton of material, ranging from the trailer to all sorts of interviews with the cast and crew on different aspects of the production and so on.

You can find out if the movie is playing near you in the “Theaters” section and then in “Links” there are links (natch) you can use to buy tickets and find the film’s social network profiles.

“Soundtrack” has snippets of the songs from the movie you can listen to as well as information on buying the record. There are also sections on “Accolades” that lists what film festivals it has appeared at and what it may have one there and, finally, “Press” that just has pull quotes from some early reviews of the movie.

The movie has a pretty decent Twitter profile with updates on what’s happening on the official site as well press the cast has been doing. Many of those updates along with some media can also be found on the Facebook page along with conversations with fans about when the movie would be opening near them and so on.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing that I’ve seen.

Media and Publicity

Mostly this has been Fischer doing a small bit of media interviews on TV and on the radio but that’s about it. No big press coverage to speak of.

Overall

While there are certainly shortcomings – though those are understandable considering this isn’t a huge film and is coming out in-between massive blockbuster releases – I quite like this campaign. Mostly that’s because it capitalizes on the strongest asset it has – Fischer’s charm and likability. So the marketing makes sure to put those characteristics on display as much as possible and, while it’s certainly not going to be on everyone’s To See List it should resonate with people who come across the campaign.

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