MOVIE MARKETING MADNESS: MISS CONGENIALITY 2

Sandra Bullock is done. Has been since about five minutes after “Speed 2″ opened. Her career since then reminds me of that old Borscht-belt joke: This woman died six months ago, but no one has remembered to tell her. So Bullock’s career is dead, it’s just that no one has had the heart to tell her.

(Brief addendum to the above statement: The trailer for “Crash”, directed by Paul Haggis and starring Bullock and a raft of others looks very cool but even it can’t compete against “Two Weeks Notice” in the karma category.)

Interestingly “Miss Congeniality 2″ marks only her second sequel along with the aforementioned “Speed 2″. Let’s hope it stays this way since the world just can’t be prepared for “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 2: Back in the Hood”.

The Trailer

It’s Sandra Bullock in the role she was born to play, as a tomboy FBI agent who has just finished playing beauty queen. The trailer relies heavily on Sandra’s charm which is exemplified by her using the word “sistah” when talking to her new partner, snorting while laughing (Guys: Tell me a girl who did this wouldn’t send you running to your car right through whatever walls happened to be in the way like Wile E. Coyote) and such.

Ernie Hudson (eternally known as “the fourth Ghostbuster”) gets a brief amount of screen time, enough to pay the rent for a few more months but that’s about it. Other highlights of the trailer involve trying to figure out whether William Shatner is so large he now has his own gravitational pull and the possibility Regis Philbin gets hit in the groin, something which really should be part of every movie.

The Poster

The teaser poster featured a woman (presumably) in an outlandish Vegas showgirl style outfit adjusting her shoe on one leg while the other leg had a holster and a work boot. As a teaser I thought it worked pretty well in that it hinted at the movie to come and didn’t try to just use Bullock’s face, despite the fact her name was at the top in 1,420-point type.

The theatrical version takes the exact same image – the exact same image – and alters it only slightly so that instead of the top of a headdress it’s Bullock looking at us in a mischievous way. I don’t even consider this a new or different poster since it’s simply a Photoshop-ed teaser image. There’s no work that’s been done here by anyone except a likely frustrated former graphic design major.

The Website

Much like Sandra Bullocks’ bra, this site has been padded to within an inch of its life. Usually Warner Bros. can be counted on for quality websites but this one must have been delegated to Skippy the Intern as a project over his winter break.

“Meet Agent Hart” serves absolutely no purpose as it contains a biography and FBI internal review for Bullocks’ Gracie Hart character. It’s a nice primer if you are completely unfamiliar with the first movie, but how many people are going to be checking out the website for this movie that aren’t already fans?

Really (and I mean really) long Production Notes, cast and filmmaker bios can be found in “About the Film”. I was barely even reading the Prod. Notes and it still took me almost five minutes to scroll through the whole thing. There are subject headers, but it’s not broken up into manageable chunks like it should be for something this big.

The trailer (I don’t think there was ever a teaser) can be found under “Trailer” along with a video of Bullock being reprogrammed by Willow Rosenberg after she started acting a little strange. Can’t say as I was actually that surprised to find out Bullock was a robot. Oh well. “Photos” contains about 15 pix but isn’t organized into any single gallery. Instead you just have to scroll through them all.

“Downloads” contains the usual assortment of wallpaper, poster downloads, Buddy icons and a screensaver. “Games” takes online versions of Texas Hold ‘em poker and Blackjack and dresses them up to fit in with the movie. A complete list of websites (most of which are regional TV stations) participating in a sponsored contest can be found under “Sweepstakes” and “Partners” links to two promotional partners, one of which is the same sweepstakes previously mentioned.

Despite the content not being too exciting, the layout of the site is kind of neat, if needlessly flashy. First off, WB continues to offer a non-Flash site where most, if not all the content can be accessed. The Flash site is laid out like a tabloid newspaper and at first seems pretty cool but after a few minutes of trying to navigate it you realize all the clever little naming conventions for the content is just confusing and frustrating. There is a sitemap table of contents but even then it can be hard to figure out how to get to what you want to view.

Overall

Light, fluffy and as horrible for your cinematic diet as a Hostess Twinkie is for your physical diet. There are moments where the campaign, especially the trailer, makes it look like the movie has something serious to say about friendship and commitment but when you follow it up by having William Shatner mugging for the camera it kind of loses its edge.

I can’t say the campaign doesn’t hit the right notes because for what it’s trying to do it does. It’s just not for me. Say goodnight, Gracie.

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 March 23, 2005 in Features by
Buffer


If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
Popular Stories from Around the Web

Tell us what you're thinking...





Comments are governed by the Terms of Use of this Site. Click on the "Report Comment" link if you feel a comment is in violation of the Terms of Use, and the comment will be reviewed appropriately.