Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Post Everybody's Talking About

I would like to preempt any confusion and note the following rant is in no way a slight at Mad Hatter or FlixChatter's Everybody's Talkin/Everybody's Chattin (respectively) posts, which I believe are contextually perfect, and fully acceptable.

We all know there's little marketing agents enjoy more than trying to persuade you that by joining a collective of shoppers you're in fact displaying your own individuality. Though if there was just one thing we could all agree they enjoy more it's this: Imposing on you a sense of social exile due to your failure to partake in the mentioned product.

My personal favorite of the modern, go to, marketing slogans goes a bit like this:

"It's the movie EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT"

In case that doesn't directly jog your memory, more often than not this quote is followed by a handful, usually three, shots of pre-screened, demographic approved, members mentioning something vaguely positive about the film in question.

My general response is two-fold and it this goes a bit like this:

First: "If everyone is already talking about it who are you marketing too exactly?"

Second: "Besides, who gives a *#@! what 'everybody' is talking about?"

Really. There's loads of people out there talking about Death Panels, STDS, War, and Jersey Shore (yes I believe they can all be lumped in together) but that doesn't make them any more appealing to me. Your imposing quote is frustrating, annoying, and entirely insulting to human intelligence.

We all know that what people say about something is, infinitely, more important than the mere fact that they're talking about it. For example, if a room was to say to me "Don't use that door, there's a bomb attached to it," my next thought wouldn't be "Well, everyone here seems to be talking about the door, let's have a go and use it." No, my next thought would be "Right, just how far from the door can I possibly get without pushing aside any old people.... in plain sight."

However, I'm willing to grant you that you're not going to brag about people mentioning your movie, or any product in general, if all anyone's saying about it is "it's crap." So that brings me to my next complaint: the horrid overuse, so much so even hyperbole seems underachieving, of the word "everybody." Yes, your movie is #1 in America and made $35million this weekend. Given the average ticket price (about $7.50), and me being a bit generous with the numbers, that means your movie was seen by all of 5 million people.

For those of your doing the math at home 5 million people comes out to roughly 1.67% of the total US population. Everybody? You've barely even covered half of New York City, let alone the entire nation at large.

So back off. People have enough to deal with on an every day basis, especially when it comes to social conformity, without you trying to scare the into feeling socially inept. Some sort of freak for having not partaken in the latest film craze, which honestly changes so much nobody should really bother to care that much. Hell, even Avatar only managed to scrape about 1/3rd of the US population into seeing it. You're not even near that level so what's the big deal anyways?

Now I know I've said this before, and it is such a radical idea I feel a bit silly myself, but why don't you try and market your film on its own merits? Well, I'm sure the answer is quite succinctly: if you did your movies would bomb more often than an island in the pacific.

If everybody's talking about the movie then everybody's hearing about it. You're marketing your own unimportance as a commercial and marketing firm. Which may carry with it a worse connotation that people are beginning to trust commercials more than they trust other people. I can only hope that's not the case, and that there are still people willing to exercise independent thought (or as independent as thought can in fact be). One can only hope that films like Idiocracy remain satirical comedies and not exercises in foreboding cinema....

8 better thoughts:

The Mad Hatter said...

So, if everybody was jumping off a bridge...?

Castor said...

Most people are sheeps and their need for social conformity is stronger than any good (or bad) qualities a movie has. Hence, however terrible a movie may be, if "everyone else" has seen it, a lot of people will feel the urge to check it out.

SugaryCynic said...

But EVERYBODY'S talking about it!! If I don't see this movie, I won't have anything to talk about with anyone! They will shun me with silence and discuss the movie amongst themselves. Soon my own family will be a part of the everyone who is talking about this movie and I will have no one to turn to. Everywhere I look, everyone is talking about the movie, shooting me cold glares of exclusion. I have two options: See the movie everyone's talking about, or live alone in the woods for the rest of my life. I will bring a volleyball named Wilson.

I may have gotten a little carried away on this one

Simon said...

If everyone's talking about it, then chances are, it has a stupid/'brilliant'/annoying ending, and I probably don't want anything to do with it. What're you gonna do about it, Mr. Marketing Man?

flixchatter said...

Just out of curiosity, what movie is using that marketing gimmick right now? I find such a tactic not only annoying but pointless... for me I'm usually intrigued by something that wasn't on my radar before if I hear it from friends or a trusted blogger (such as yourself) instead of some company who benefits from whatever product they are marketing. Even so, just because everyone seem to have seen it—though as you point out that it highly unlikely—it doesn't automatically makes me want to see it. Some movies I simply have no interest in seeing and no amount of marketing or word of mouth will convince me otherwise.

Univarn said...

@Mad Man I feel as if my whole argument has just been deconstructed and rebuilt using an older, smaller, and better argument. *cries*

@Castor What's worse is that people fail to realize just how sad that really is.

@Sugary On the plus side, you get to play volleyball 24/7 and no homework.

@Simon You telling me when you see hundreds of people calling everything they just say the 'greatest thing ever' you don't feel an overwhelming sense to just start screaming 'wahoo! OMG 4 life!'?

@Flixchatter I avoid commercials at all costs, so this post was really just a composite of things I've seen in the past, products and movies alike.

Simon said...

I didn't say OMG. You said OMG.

snobbyfilmguy said...

In a sense this marketing tool is bullying people into seeing their film or be an outcast. Who are these people behind the marketing campaigns? High schoolers?

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