MOVIE MARKETING MADNESS: ELEKTRA

Jennifer Garner is hot. Jennifer Garner looks really hot while kicking ass.

The first statement above is an empirical truism. The second statement is something we have all come to learn through three seasons of “Alias” and from watching 2003’s big-screen adaptation of Daredevil. In that she was but a supporting character, second-fiddle billing-wise to Ben Affleck’s title character. The role wasn’t that much of a stretch from her TV persona Sydney Bristow, but she did a good enough job there to warrant a spin-off.

The Posters

All of the posters play on the above mentioned point: Jennifer Garner being hot. The first two just showed Garner as Elektra, now decked out in her signature red outfit, clearly differentiating this from Daredevil, where she wore a black leather outfit (which I had absolutely no problem with). The second poster showed some of the movie’s villains, all glaring and looking very much villain-y. Perhaps the marketers and filmmakers became concerned Garner wouldn’t be able to open the movie on her own and so threw in some more comic book based goodness to get the geeks talking?

The Trailers

Quick cuts and more, oh so much more, of Elektra in skimpy red leather outfit. None of the trailers, teaser, theatrical or international, make the movie look like anything remotely original so I have to believe the marketing department has made a conscious decision to go on name and character recognition alone with this one.

The Website

In my 2004 Wrap-Up I said that it was the first year studios really started paying attention to their websites. Not so much with “Elektra”, which features one of the barest sites I have seen in recent memory.

First up, the Intro to the site plays exactly like the teaser trailer, a wasted opportunity in my opinion. The trailers and posters are supposed to drive traffic to the site. So when you open it up with something they have already seen, you’re tipping your hand that the creativity was not exactly flowing in any of the meetings regarding the site look and feel.

Once you get past that, there is very little on the site itself. “Trailers and Video” contains the theatrical trailer (but not the teaser for no good reason I can think of), a martial arts featurette and three or four clips of director Rob Bowman talking about the production. All of these are presented exclusively in QuickTime format, a decision 20th Century Fox continues to make and which I continue to disagree with. All they’re doing is forcing people without QuickTime to hit Google with requests for other versions.

“About the Movie” isn’t bad even if it isn’t stocked very well. The Synopsis contains some of the worst writing I’ve seen lately and was obviously a task given to Skippy the Intern who must have failed his/her English classes. Production Notes fair a bit better. Most of the comments from the cast and crew touch on the Elektra mythology from the comics and how hard Garner worked to train in order to appear believable in the movie. Cast/Characters and Filmmakers have brief bios on the players. Half the Cast bios are not yet on the site and it’s less than a week before opening day. Buy a Day Planner. Use it.

If you want to you can “Elektra-fy Your Desktop”. Get it? Electrify is now being spelled “Elektra-fy” in order to play on the name of the movie! That’s going to get me a lot more excited about Wallpapers, IM icons and a Screensaver! Feel my heart pounding. There is also an extraordinarily lame “Ninja Assassin Game which, after 15 minutes of frustration, I gave up on. I’m just not a gamer.

Talking about the section labeled “Sticks and Tats” could get me in trouble with the FCC so I’ll leave that alone.

The soundtrack of course has its own site where you can listen to clips of the songs and visit the official sites for the various bands on the record. There are also lots of opportunities for you to pass the word about the soundtrack. More effort seems to have gone into this site than the movie’s.

Overall

Everything about this campaign reeks of a studio toss-off in the post-Christmas wasteland. They seem to just be releasing it for the sake of releasing it without putting any real effort into it. This may be because they are counting on the (substantial) allure of Jennifer Garner’s impeccably toned abs with the perfectly centered belly-button drawing out eyes to the picture of a gorgeous woman wearing what amounts to very litt…. Sorry. Kind of got off track there. They’re either counting on Jennifer Garner and the Elektra character to bring in the fans or they think they’ve got a bad movie on their hands and just don’t care.

All of the press materials draw attention to this movie coming from the makers of “X-Men”, despite the characters association with and introduction to the movie world in “Daredevil”. They’re obviously trying to distance themselves from a critical misfire and attach themselves to the more successful comic franchise currently residing at Fox. It’s a good trick. I just don’t think the campaign is very successful at appealing to comic fans or outsiders familiar with Garner from TV.

As moviemaking costs increase, the pressure to successfully market those movies becomes greater. In an attempt to show how marketers are trying to put the most hinders in the theater seats, Chris Thilk breaks down why some movie campaigns work and some don’t. The posters for “The Rocketeer” and “Unforgiven” remain two of his all-time favorites. For Chris’ ongoing movie journal and other various musings, visit his Movie Marketing Madness blog.




Posted on January 12, 2005 in Features by
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