I’m hardly an expert on the subject of marketing, but sometimes you don’t have to be one to notice when someone does a terrible job. In addition, I came across an interesting marketing idea that I may well end up using.
Let’s start with the bad. When I first saw the trailers for Cabin in the Woods, it looked like a fairly standard horror/slasher type of flick, and not a terribly interesting one at that. Perhaps there were hints that there was something deeper going on, but nothing that came anywhere close to telling what the movie was about. Nothing to hint that there is a lot of humor inside that scary package.
Had the preview shown the guy in the white shirt and tie shouting “We have a winner! Redneck zombie torture family!” I would have given the flick more than a second glance. Bare-bones slasher movies don’t do much for me — even the ones friends and family helped make — but Cabin is much more.
Note: There are redneck zombies, and there is blood. A lot of blood. You can’t dissect the genre without dissecting a few people. If you’re OK with that, and, like me, weren’t excited by the trailers to Cabin in the Woods, go back and give it a second look. One of the worst-marketed films I’ve ever been aware of deserves a bump.
While we’re talking about marketing, I read the first two chapters of a novel today that I had no intention of reading. How did the writer accomplish this trick? With cleverness! You see, I have one of those electronic reading devices you’ve heard so much about. I’ve been catching up on my classics, because I should and because they’re free. Recently I downloaded H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and cracked it open the other day on the bus to work.
Before the beginning of the public-domain text was a brief foreword by one Félix J. Palma, saying (roughly) “This is one of my favorite stories ever, and I hope you enjoy it. I have included the first chapters of my novel at the end; if you feel so inclined I would be delighted if you would give them a read.”
At the end of Wells’ classic Mr. Palma returns, saying how much he loved The Time Machine when he was a kid, but how it failed to delight as thoroughly when he read it as an adult (an experience that echoes my own). Without denigrating the master, he talked about his time-travel story for a couple of paragraphs. With a turn of the next ePage, we come to the title page of Palma’s work, which proclaims beneath the title The Map of Time, and after some Victorian-era histrionics:
YOUR EMOTION AND ASTONISHMENT ARE GUARANTEED.
To which I said, “Hell, yeah, Félix.” Chances are, I’m buying the book. The first two chapters haven’t blown me away, but they’re solid and have a distinctive style. I have one more free chapter to go, and there’s a collision coming. He gets that right and I’m in. And heck, it’s guaranteed.
So now I’m wondering: What public-domain work would most attract readers who would enjoy Munchies?