Most Hollywood movie advertisements are pretty tame in the grand scheme of things. While the majority of studies pump millions of dollars into trailers, posters, and TV spots, sometimes the film calls for a more…unconventional method of advertising.
Here are five of the craziest movie advertising tactics we’ve ever seen.
1. Bruno Gets Up Close And Personal With Eminem
The MTV Movie Awards have always been a source of crazy controversy. But years before the whole Kanye West/Taylor Swift debacle went down, Sacha Baron Cohen — best known for his crazy characters Ali G, Borat, and Bruno — decided to crash the event.
Cohen decided that in order to drum up some attention for his new Bruno-centric film, he’d need to do something bold. And boy did he ever.
In the midst of the show, Cohen (as Bruno) rappelled down from the rafters. He was “caught” by wires, and landed face-first directly in Eminem’s crotch.
At the time, it was a big to-do. Eminem got so upset that he stormed out, though it was later revealed that Em was in on the joke and “laughed for three hours” after the stunt.
2. Cloverfield’s… Everything
We could (and hopefully will) dedicate entire articles to how brilliant the marketing for the Cloverfield series has been.
While the first Cloverfield film wasn’t the first movie to utilize viral movie marketing, it likely popularized it thanks to its short, obscure, eerie trailer that played before the first Transformers film.
Things only got more complicated from there.
The film’s pseudo-sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane, was marketed via several “in-game” websites, videos, email addresses, phone numbers, and real-world product tie-ins with Swamp Pop Soda.
More recently, the disappointing Cloverfield Paradox released exclusively on Netflix this past Superbowl Sunday. This was a surprise to many, however, as the film had no prior release date.
Cloverfield’s marketing proves that sometimes the best way to market your film is by leveraging your fans’ passion and the element of surprise.
3. Carrie’s Coffee Shop
The 2013 remake of Stephen King classic Carrie was so much better than it had a right to be. And skeptics got a sense of just what they were in for as the film’s marketing campaign began to ramp up.
The stunt itself was pretty creative.
MGM set up some fake walls and wires and sent an actress into an unassuming coffee shop. As customers sipped their lattes, an actor “spilled” hot coffee all over an actress’ laptop.
The angry woman then sent the man flying against the wall (he was pulled by wires, in reality) using telekinetic powers much to the horror of onlookers.
4. James Franco And Seth Rogen Nearly Start A War
In late 2014, Columbia was slated to release its latest offering from comedy duo James Franco and Seth Rogen.
The story behind the pals’ newest film was as simple as it was silly. Rogen and Franco played two agents sent to work undercover in North Korea in an attempt to assassinate Kim Jong Un.
As it turns out, North Korea wasn’t super stoked about the concept and began threatening nuclear war. The film was immediately yanked from its Christmas release only to pop up on video on demand platforms at the height of the controversy.
5. The Legend Of The Blair Witch
Some advertising firms are content to just make a poster, create a press kit, do some interviews, and call it a wrap. But micro-budget horror film The Blair Witch Project wanted to truly terrify audiences with its marketing, though.
The film’s website featured missing posters for the film’s three protagonists as well as fake police reports on their possible whereabouts.
Audiences ate it up, especially since the found footage genre was still in its infancy. No one could tell what was real and what was marketing.
Movie Advertising Doesn’t Have To Be Boring
As these five examples show, movie advertising doesn’t need to be a dry, cookie cutter process. With a little bit of creativity, you can market a film in a way that stays with viewers longer than the movie itself!
Be sure to check out our film archives page for more great content on the films you love!