Dec 11, 2009 at 06:08 PM
written by

"Can't Miss" Marketing & AVTR-lash

You can't turn on the TV these days without seeing a promo for James Cameron's 3D Thriller, Avatar, set for release next Friday. Glass half full - everyone knows about it. Half empty - do we know too much? Generally, we're all for brands that use media spend to promote a film and gain relevance with a particular film's audience, but in this case it seems the studio could be walking a thin line towards Avatar-lash. The partnership campaign that started earlier this Fall and is in full force leading up to the release, has a long list of brand partners including:

  • McDonald's

  • LG Mobile


  • Coke Zero


  • Panasonic

  • Mattel
  • Topps
  • Lego
  • Fox MLB Post-Season

    C. Robert Cargill of believes that the MLB post-season was the worst.

    "The worst idea thus far ran during the fourth game of the World Series in which several scenes from the film were juxtaposed against moments from the previous game with voice-over being intercut with lines of dialogue from the movie. Even I, one of Avatar's most vocal and ardent supporters, got a good, solid whiff of my palm as my face was buried deep into it."

    Cargill goes on to ask "is the bad advertising indicative of a bad film?" but then seems to reconcile that advertising is simply for mass awareness and is largely irrelevant to hardcore Sci-Fi fans.

    Indeed, Twentieth Century Fox needs this film to appeal to a much wider audience (i.e. everyone). The Wall Street Journal reports that Avatar's production expenses pushed $300 million with an additional $150 million on top for marketing.

    In the complex world of big budget film marketing, it makes a lot of sense to segment brand partnerships to the most appropriate medium for each partner - McDonald's (retail), LG (mobile), Coke (TV), etc. Still, when it comes to the mass awareness that it takes to recoup a $500 MM film, nothing beats TV. But the question has to be asked, how many different variations of a TV ad can you make using the same property and at some point does this dilute the brand? Does this sort of in your face marketing months in advance of its release create unattainably high expectations? Is there an opening weekend that will be 'good enough' for this film?

    What do you think? Could an oversaturation of brand partnerships set Fox up for Avatar-lash? Or will any of this matter when everyone in the world knows about the movie on December 18th?