Film Stills in Marketing Anticipated Movies: ‘Monsters University’ as Evolving Publicity - My Smart Pet

Film Stills in Marketing Anticipated Movies: ‘Monsters University’ as Evolving Publicity



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Studios releasing film stills to promote a movie has been a marketing practice since the earliest days of Hollywood. 

But, in those early days, it was typically stylized portraits of the film’s cast that were sent out to newspapers or theater lobbies for promotion. Of course, it’s not much different today on the web where we’re starting to see hi-def portraits of a film’s cast in the guises of the characters they’re playing. Buy Youtube subscribers if you want more views and followings today! 

Some films are starting to choose much more interesting paths in marketing, including being more elaborate with the movie still tool.

 “Monsters University”, the prequel to “Monsters, Inc.”, is a good example of how to prolong the character portrait idea to a point where you’ll know them by heart by the time the film releases this June. Over the last couple of months, various ID badges and character shots of the “Monster University” creatures have been circulating on the web.

Pixar probably felt the need to do this because of the wide range of characters their new film has. Nevertheless, it may be the beginning of much more aggressive marketing in the world of the web where stunning, colorful still images can sell a movie as much as a trailer can. 

Could it place the trailer on the back end when creating early buzz for a film?

It’s already at the point where most teasers and full trailers debut online first before they even play in theaters. Testing may have found that moviegoers are becoming annoyed with loud trailers playing in movie theaters when a better experience can be had watching on a hi-def computer monitor in one’s office. And still images can manifest a better essence of a film than something moving.

Much of that can be explained in recent “Man of Steel” still photos distributed on the web from the upcoming movie. Some are shots of action scenes, including slight blurriness from the movement intensity. While that might look like a pirate snapping them off a screen in a movie theater, it’s a brilliant move in the world of psychological marketing.

Studying has likely been done on the concept that moviegoers want to study scenes in movies, especially ones that still hold secrets. Cleverly, J.J. Abrams hid a URL in one recent international trailer still shot of “Star Trek Into Darkness.” The web address turned out to be a web portal for access to yet another poster of the film. It may have been the most studied movie still in film history, and it certainly won’t be the last.

It’s the response to blurred action stills that may also prove the best marketing secret. 

We’ve now reached the point where an action still can likely garner more moviegoer attention than any overdone, moving, visceral scene can. Capturing the perfect expression in those still shots ultimately helps freeze a moment that gives more desire to see it play out on the big screen.

Yes, movie stills are now a far cry from the romantic or overly posed publicity shots once seen in the classic movie era. Expect to see many more still shots on the web as massive publicity packages that dig deep creatively to help people understand a film long before it’s seen.

It’s the new equivalent of the direct marketing approach through images that may have created a whole new job category in studio marketing departments.


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