As I write this, I am waiting on what will hopefully be a new Dark Knight trailer to make it’s debut online. Since early this afternoon (Eastern Time) the viral marketing machine which WB has been using quite effectively to promote this film has been in high gear with a really cool way of introducing fans to the trailer.
Fans were led to various locations through the whysoserious website where they were met with instructions to go to nearby theatres. They were then given raffle tickets and shown the newest trailer for the Dark Knight. Very cool. Cooler still was the raffle was for the actual reel of film that the trailer was on.
Uncool, however, was the security in the theatre for the trailer. Apparently they had people watching the audience with night vision to insure that no one was recording the trailer to place on youtube or some other website.
Why is that uncool? Well, I understand studios preventing piracy of movies. I understand cracking down on people who would try to profit off of films and keep those involved in making the films from being able to profit off of their own work. But consider this line of thinking…
1. A trailer is a commercial.
2. As a commercial, a trailer is meant to promote the film that it is previewing.
3. Normally, advertising costs.
4. If someone were to make a crappy home video of the trailer they are watching in a theatre and post it on the internet, thereby creating more buzz for a film that seems to me to be free advertising.
5. I thought studios liked free advertising.
Put it all together, and you’ve got one confused Big Honkin Steve. I’m not complaining mind you. I just would like it explained to me why it’s a big deal for the studios to have a free commercial on the internet. I honestly don’t think anyone can.
Maybe they see the benefits of free advertising. Apparently, the official trailer is coming Sunday, but this was first shown to me at around 1am. 9 hours later, it’s still there. Interesting…
And it’s gone….
As I continued pondering the above query, I can only come up with one answer. Best I can figure, WB wants to put geek butts in the seats when they release a film. So, if they tell us that a movie is gonna have a trailer attatched to it, if people see it online first, they may not go see the movie to which the trailer is attatched. For example, I went to see The Incredibles because of a Star Wars trailer. I enjoyed The Incredibles, but probably would have waited to see it on DVD. So, I guess I’m ok with companies not releasing their commercials online until they’re in theatres. BUT!
(There’s always a big “but.”)
The marketing gurus at WB did fans a disservice last night as everyone got in a frenzy to jump through geurilla marketing hoops only to be told….wait ’til Sunday. Granted a few thousand got to see the trailer and a handful of lucky people won the actual film reel of the trailer, but the truth is, there were thousands more people who were online, getting clues and racking their brains attempting to unlock the online secret only to get another advertisement. I’m not gonna whine too much, (there’s plenty of that going on)but it wouldn’t have hurt them at all to have things come to fruition late Thursday night and go ahead and post the trailer.
So, I guess that’s it. Nothing to see here, move along. Move along. (Star Wars reference)