Things media and communications can’t change #147: why advertising can’t turn Transformers 2 into a good movie

Transformers_2_Bay oh dear.  Michael Bay probably regrets the memo – leaked to and reported in post on TMZ – he sent to Paramount in which he called the film's print campaign an "abject failure".  telling the studio that "you talk so glowingly about Transformers being the movie of the summer, but unfortunately this has not got to the public … I have been waiting and waiting for the anticipation of an 'event movie' to make it into the 'public zeitgeist' … Right now, we are not an event, we are just a sequel, which is very different. There is no anticipation. Remember back to Spider-Man 2 – it was everywhere."

all together now…  "advertising can't turn a bad product into a good one Michael".  I guess that in fairness we used to be able to get away with it; there was less choice, hits ruled the tail, and we didn't always know what we were buying until we'd bought it.

information and knowledge transparency: we all have instant access to what the world knows.  we can research, reveal and review products and services in a second.  no one takes a punt on anything anymore – why would you when everything has been reviewed and rated by the crowd…  we don't rely on the promise of a glitzed up poster any more.

Bay's issue – that advertising can't make people watch a bad movie – is something I think we all struggle with from time to time…  we all of us – clients and agencies alike – want the products and services on which we work to be a success.  we look for the best in them, be it a nuanced intrinsic we can pull out or a genius consumer insight that will activate behavioural change.

situations where brands are divorced from products and services are at best a sticking plaster and at worst a disaster waiting to happen.  perception get's out of step with reality.  marketing (and specifically media spend) becomes an expensive cost of being in business.

some of the best marketing stories emerge when communications are a natural extension of product.  no one should know this better than movies…  Blair Witch and The Matrix brought us Transmedia Storytelling, Cloverfield was a powerplay for The Mystery Box, The Dark Knight's Vote Harvey Dent ARG was genius, even SAW understands what it's really about and has a theme park ride.

there's a reason Transformers 2 didn't make it into the 'public zeitgeist' and it's got nothing to do with it's marketing and everything to do with it not being very good.  I've seen it, it's a really, really bad movie which represents 147 minutes of my life that I'm never getting back; and in an age of radical transparency the best marketing campaign in the world can't change that.

2 responses to “Things media and communications can’t change #147: why advertising can’t turn Transformers 2 into a good movie

  1. I watched it at the weekend. It really is awful. And there’s only one thing worse than an awful film in the cinema. And that’s a LONG awful film. Chelsea Clinton was President when we got out.
    There’s nowhere to hide shit products anymore. Yet people still try. Think of all the advertising money that goes on promoting average-to-poor mobile phones, cars…
    Companies of the world; please spend your money on making brilliant things. Amazing things. Then you’ll only need to tell a few people once or twice, and you’ll have a hit on your hands…

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