|Why I won't be adding The Wolverine trailer to this blog (aka. Get off my tits, Hugh Jackman)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Saturday, 13 April 2013 11:48|
It’s been 17 days now since The Wolverine released its “tweaser” and the fanboy hype has died down – the perfect time, then, for
But why should it matter when I write about The Wolverine’s trailer anyway? After all, a trailer is not a film. It, in itself, is not an event.
But that’s exactly what we are being taught to think. Just as the Superbowl has turned into a showcase for new adverts, studios are trying to turn every new trailer into a high-profile calendar date. Teasers to promote upcoming teaser trailers started last year. In October, I remarked that trailers for trailers for trailers would be the next natural step – along with blurbs of blurbs for the latest books. Hollywood, depressingly and predictably, didn’t get the joke.
And so, within six months, we've had our first teaser for a teaser for a teaser trailer. This time, 20th Century Fox had a new weapon in its arsenal: Vine, Twitter’s make-your-own-semi-GIF video service. So it released a six-second highlight reel of the film, looped on Vine, which promoted a longer, 20-second teaser, which, in turn, trailed the full-length teaser trailer for the film. “What a great use of Vine!” social media experts proclaimed, hailing the film’s bold marketing strategy and adoption of new technology.
I'm all for innovation with new platforms - but that's not what Fox were doing. Releasing a trailer solely on Vine, lasting only six seconds. Now that would be a great, bold marketing tactic. But instead, what could've been the world's first Vine trailer was relegated to become a teaser-teaser-teaser, playing over and over with pixelated CGI like a pirated version of a longer trailer someone half-recorded in the cinema. They even published it on YouTube as well, completing negating the point of using Vine at all.
(A quick Google reveals some analytics tools for Vine, but YouTube presumably offers a more detailed way of tracking audience impact.)
So why write about all of this again? Because they keep on doing it – and people keep encouraging it. And it’s really getting on my tits. (Note to Hugh Jackman: You're welcome to get on my tits at any time.)
The problem partly stems from our current obsession with finding out everything about a film as soon as possible - from unofficial set pictures to endless trailer screencaps, today’s frenzy of marketing has led to a culture where we are determined to spoil things for ourselves before we can enjoy them. It's borderline perverse. Sure enough, The Wolverine's "tweaser" led to tons of blog posts analysing a frame which featured one particular character. Not even covertly; the character's name was included in article headlines, determined to mention it for everyone to see, even if they had no intention of watching the video. A random example from The Huffington Post: "'The Wolverine' Teaser Spoils 'X-Men' Cameo -- Or Does It?"
Is that really news? And in what way does reading it improve your viewing experience of the final movie? And yet why, still, is there that niggling urge to click on it and read it anyway?
A few people I know have now taken the stance of avoiding trailers altogether to prevent things being ruined - the good folks over at TheShiznit.co.uk have even decided to omit any coverage of Man of Steel's publicity due to the endless drip-feeding of marketing gumph - and I can understand why. Because studio marketing departments are creating, then feeding, this crazy audience demand, which websites are encouraging (look at the question in that HuffPo headline) just so they can get traffic. After all, if they don’t share the latest teaser of a teaser or, if things keep heading in this direction, a photo of someone watching the teaser of a teaser, the studios might turn around and not let them into a screening. Disaster!
Some sites like Den of Geek have already seen sense (they’re good like that) and stopped posting trailers for trailers. Even then, loads of film blogs/bloggers/journalists are still tweeting about trailers the week before, telling us when the latest trailers will be arriving. In a way, it's just as bad - an advert for an advert that turns the trailer launch into an event, keeping the find-out-everything-as-soon-as-possible circus alive. Would you want the RadioTimes to give you a heads-up about a new advert coming up during an episode of Coronation Street? No. Because it’s bonkers.
But that's the kind of thing we now get - and expect - from film websites. It's sad because I love trailers. They're one of my favourite things about going to the cinema. Many trailers (A Serious Man, for example) are a work of art in their own right. But marketing campaigns like Cloverfield, which was one of the first to herald this new trend of trying to go viral with everything, worked because there was no trailer for the trailer. It just arrived, unexpected, on the big screen. Now, there has to be a string of announcements leading up to the big reveal.
"The new Man of Steel trailer has been rated and should be coming soon! We're not sure if it's accurate, but it's listed as 3:05 long," tweeted SuperHeroHype the other day. Why? I have no idea.
Obviously, me ranting about all this changes nothing. So instead, I’m trying something else: I’m not putting The Wolverine trailer on this blog at all. I don't just mean the trailer for the trailer for the trailer. Or even the trailer for the trailer. The actual trailer itself.
It’s nothing personal against The Wolverine - it looks good from what I’ve seen and I look forward to watching the final thing - but until 20th Century Fox release a trailer without a teaser in front of it (or, even bolder, a standalone Vine trailer), I’m not being part of this silly hype machine bollocks. And that goes for any other future film that does the same thing.
"Who cares?" one of my 12 regular readers might say. It's a fair point. But imagine if every other site did the same thing. What would happen then?