Movies.ie comes over all coy as we examine the art of a good teaser poster.
TCM have recently announced their August “Summer Under the Stars” schedule with an ingenious publicity campaign. They have taken some of their classic catalogue and given them the 21st century teaser treatment bringing them bang up to date. 12 classic films in total have had beautiful teaser posters created for them; amongst them The Magnificent Seven, To Catch A Thief, The Grapes of Wrath and our personal favourite the wonderfully modern take on Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.
The cinema market these days is so overcrowded with new releases clamouring for our attention; in this climate marketing departments know that the power of a good teaser poster for ramping up the tension shouldn’t be underestimated. It should be recognisable and exciting enough to catch the eye and imagination of the punter who only gets a fleeting glimpse as they drive by a bus stop. Today, movies.ie looks at some of the best ways to tease the cinema audience and some of the marketing campaigns that have gotten it just right.
The Enigmatic Shadow!
Very few films can get away with the enigmatic shadow but it’s what all good teaser posters are aiming for; to have a character so recognisable that a mere shadow is enough to announce their presence. These posters usually work best for sequels when the audience is familiar with the concept and characters. If done properly, they shouldn’t even have to include the name of the film. Recently this tactic was used for the Quantum of Solace – though one has to wonder if the dire name had anything to do with choosing this particular route. Instead of people saying “The what??” at reading the title, they had an enigmatic Bond shadow complete with gun; a much better way to whet the appetite!
The Significant Date
Okay so you’ve got your enigmatic poster art down and you’ve created a buzz; the audience know your film is on its way but what’s really important is to make sure they know when. Enter the significant release date! As well as making sure your film is the prime release of any given Friday, it is really important to make sure it’s a memorable date – either numerically snappy or in some way appropriate to the film. Having a release of Friday the 13th on the teaser poster for any horror film is of course going to make it a memorable one. Alternatively, low numbers are always easily remembered and look dynamic on a poster; Mission Impossible 3 went with the snappy 05/05/06, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen went with 7/4/7 but the remake of The Omen gets top marks here for its ingenious 6/6/06 campaign.
Here at movies.ie we love a good tag line. A good tagline should give the audience the tone of the film as well as an idea of the plot; an extremely difficult thing to do with any kind of economy! Manage to do it in just one line and you’re definitely on the right track. Poltergeist managed to tell the audience everything they needed to know in just two words “They’re here…” and some of the great teasers of the last few years have created a similar amount of tension. We particularly like “A Life Misunderestimated” for W., the (at this stage iconic) “Why So Serious” for The Dark Knight and “Whatever Happened to Patient 67?” for Scorcese’s upcoming Shutter Island. Bonus points though go to the remake of House of Wax for noting the main reason most people would watch anything starring Paris Hilton “See Paris Die! May 6th”.
Logos A Go Go!
A similar tactic to the enigmatic shadow is the use of the famous logo. The use of a logo is the ultimate way to pare a film right down to it’s most recognisable image – this is poster art as calling card. More often than not these will be connected with superhero or comic films and are perhaps the most economical but effective way of marketing a film. All Transformers has to do is fill the poster frame with the Decepticon logo and a date and it’s given the public everything they needed to know. Batman, Superman, X-Men etc. are all immediately identifiable by their famous logos and in a way make the jobs of the marketing and design departments extremely easy.