Spiderman’s German frontrum
I have a motto—start exclusive, stay exclusive. This is my media/marketing approach. I’m a boutique person; I’d rather serve a smaller, more rarified clientele than be a big smashing hit with the masses. In marketing terms, it’s called courting the alpha consumer. Alpha consumers are the trendsetters and tastemakers, and they tend to spend more on high-end goods. To advertisers, one alpha consumer is worth half a dozen mass-market consumers (at least, depending on the goods being consumed, one alpha consumer can be worth dozens in the mass market).
You wonder why NBC renewed Community, why they’ve kept 30 Rock for years, despite low ratings? The numbers might be low, but those audiences are almost entirely made up of alpha consumers. Their audience is going to spend way more in the marketplace than the much bigger but much more, um, Wal-Mart audience of Dancing with the Sh*ts.
So this is where I often get confused by movie marketing. My instinct is to create buzz through prestige. I understand festivals and the arthouse and nurturing a small movie along to big rewards. Mainstream movie marketing, though, they might as well be speaking another language. I will talk to people in the marketing departments of major studios and often shake my head going, “I cannot believe that actually worked,” because their methods are madness to me. So this whatever it is involving Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone is some piece of Sony strategy that I am just not understanding.
And look, I get that weird sh*t goes down in Europe. They’ve got their own pop culture thing happening that is not the same as ours (Mike Myers’ still-hilarious Sprockets sketches on SNL were predicated on this), and whenever talent goes overseas it’s helpful to remind them that hey, you’re probably going to have to humiliate yourself at some point on some talk show. But there’s a line. To me, it’s about the personal brand versus the product brand. An actor doing a dumb bit on a talk show is about their personal brand (and yes, lots of them refuse to do these things, which is why you should always appreciate Jake G making an idiot of himself on a morning show—he never quibbles about looking like a dork) and how they’re managing themselves as a commodity. The product brand is the movie being sold and that is the brand I care about being exclusive.
This video is gross because The Amazing Spider-Man is already struggling to separate itself from the superhero pack. Doing this video, it smacks of desperation. That’s probably not how they intended it, but that’s what I’m getting from it. I saw it and I made a face of dismay, saying, “Oh child. Child, no.” If you think I’m coming down hard on this, ask yourself, would The Dark Knight Rises do this? Would Prometheus? Prometheus and Rises have both been managing stellar, classy viral campaigns. I get excited to see a new Prometheus viral video, more excited than I am for the actual movie. Increasingly, my response to the Spider-Man movie is less excitement, more frontrum. Be desperate if you must, just don’t let me see it.
I am surprised at Garfield, who is haughty about his personal brand, being down with this. Man, he must want this SO bad.