8 Idiotic Movie Promotions

Some publicity really is bad publicity…


Tom Hanks has apparently been invited to switch the Large Hadron Collider back on at the Cern laboratory as part of a promotional stunt for Angels & Demons.


You’ll likely remember that the Collider – a particle accelerator designed to help unravel some of the universe’s biggest physics mysteries – had to be shut down due to… er… faulty wiring last year.

And given that part of Angels’ plot involves someone out to destroy the Vatican with antimatter pinched from Cern, it must have seemed logical to someone.

According to the Telegraph, the scientists have assured us all that the Collider won’t create black holes likely to suck the Earth and anything close by to its doom, but how do we know Tom Hanks won’t end the world?

Which got us to thinking about some dodgy movie stunts of the past – the ones that created more grief than glee and never helped at the box office…


1. News Blast

The Film: Mission Impossible III

The Big Idea: Hidden digital music players inside LA newspaper dispensing boxes would play the theme tune when a punter opens it to get their copy.

The Result:
A few of the boxes jarred loose, and dropped on to the papers. Users saw a suspicious device with wires jutting out and leaped straight to the wrong conclusion.

At least one of the boxes was exploderised by the LAPD bomb squad. If only they’d done that to Oprah’s couch when Cruise got jumpy.

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2. Dodgy Doc

The Film:
The Village

The Big Idea:
The Buried Secret of M Night Shyamalan, a seemingly probing documentary that revealed the twist-happy filmmaker had briefly died following a childhood accident and that he’d tried to have the news suppressed.

The Result: No one really cared or believed that the thing was anything but a hoax – and it simply added to the less-than-alluring idea of Shyamalan’s “genius”.

And it didn’t help The Village one bit.


3. Call The Cops!

The Film: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres

The Big Idea: A guerrilla marketing guru came up with the idea to attach LED boxes featuring the image of Ignignokt, one of the ‘toon’s characters, giving the finger to bridges and buildings in Boston.

The Result: A post 9/11 America reacted as you might expect – the police received numerous calls from people worried that they were bombs. The creators were even hauled in front of a judge.

There’s no accounting for stupidity – on either side.

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4. Love Will Tear Us A New One

The Film: The Love Letter

The Big Idea: Aiming for a little counter-programming promotion, the marketing geniuses behind the movie sent stalker-like love notes to journalists, which explained how they loved them, missed them and were... near... them.

The Result: Despite a follow-up, which invited their “crush” to check out the film instead of the Star Wars, re-release, the letters only soured the recipients’ attitude towards the film.

Romantic dramas are not supposed to scare people. Unless they star Martin Lawrence.


5. Ego Driven
The Film: Meet Dave

The Big Idea: How to get around the problem that Eddie Murphy largely refuses to do print press? Why not trundle a giant version of his head across the country to promote the Murphy-as-spaceship “comedy”.

The Result: Mockery. The jokes about Murphy’s ego were endless and blogs encouraged US drivers to crash into the giant noggin.

No one took up the challenge, but the film still flopped.

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6. Can’t Take A Joke(r)

The Film: The Dark Knight

The Big Idea: As part of the film’s otherwise impressive viral marketing a local cinema sent journalists and some local TV stations a Joker cake with a phone number written in icing and wires attached to the side.

The Result: Most people got the idea, but a San Antonio TV station panicked and called every law enforcement office available.

Note to marketeers: subtlety rarely works in Texas.


7. Hello, Nasty

The Film: Untraceable

The Big Idea: The movie features a website which people can log in and watch someone die. So why not create a Facebook link to a fake snuff site?

The Result:
Here’s why not: it’s tasteless and the power of the Interwebs will smite you down.

Stick to YouTube if you want torturous nonsense.
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8.  Terror Alert


The Film
: The Happening

The Big Idea: The flick contains a bunch of people suddenly randomly deciding to kill themselves - in America.

So, the PR machine decides to send a bunch of London-based journalists an email with the subject-line 'terror attack in London,' which, when clicked on, reveals a fake news-page claiming there's been a terrorist gas attack in Hyde Park.

If you looked really hard, you'd see a link to The Happening website. You know, if you weren't busy phoning your friends and family to check they're still alive.

The Result
: Journalists ignore the fact the film's awful and award it five stars across the board because of the innovative promotional campaign.

Either that, or they get really annoyed for about five minutes, then try to forget the movie existed.