The highly anticipated follow-up to the massively successful The Hangover has been in our face for a while now. The marketing blitz behind it has been immense, and what makes this particularly impressive is that the nature of the film prevents the usual promotional avenues from being exploited. Since a penis-infused R-rated adult romp precludes using traditional tools like kid’s meals, then carpet-bombing with commercials becomes necessary.
The unapologetic nature of the adult content led to a cagey promotional play by the studio. The initial trailer for the film was shown in theaters for approximately a day before the MPAA reported some parents were cranky that their adolescents saw the crude antics before watching Source Code. The film authority demanded the promo reel be pulled immediately. That kind of controversy can be regarded as disastrous for a film’s advance word campaign — only if you are new to film promotion. Yeah, you don’t want word leaking out that the sequel of the 3rd most successful adult comedy — and #1Vegas-based road picture – is extremely raunchy.
Reaching out to fans Warner Brothers offers up a pair of free iPhone apps to immerse lovers of the debased revelers. A photo app helps you alter your favorite pics with iconic pieces of the film. Also available is a game where Mr. Chow has to chase the now infamous monkey throughout Bangkok. This should be a real treat for anyone who wished to see a stripper rendered in 8-bit animated glory.
This movie’s coarseness also makes it somewhat difficult to draw promotional partners, which made the 7-11 convenience stores chain a rather surprising source. Normally they partner up with films of a more family theme, employing their Slurpees and such to lure the younger customer base. Their stores offered up a series of character cups for their Big Gulps, as well as other in-store food promos.
Furthering their promotion 7-11 teamed with the social platform SCVNGR in conjunction with the film. Customers are urged to check in at stores as well as complete a series of tasks to earn rewards. Doing such earns points which can be accumulated for movie-themed prizes such as screen-savers, or to be entered into a sweepstakes for a Vegas vacation, and to collect badges, which are . . . well that was never really explained. The challenging tasks mostly involve customers taking pictures of various store items, or posing with the character cups.
Not only is the rude content a challenge from a marketing perspective but the international setting also makes it difficult in the arena of product placements. A studio will try to get items into their film but those need to translate, as it were, when the movie plays in international markets. (The original pulled in nearly $200 million overseas.) One on screen player is a curious one, considering the unrefined content, and the numerous images of the guys in rough-hewn outfits. The upscale clothier Ike Behar outfitted the actors during the wedding scenes, and the company offers up a chance at winning the very togs worn by stars.
One way to face the challenge of setting your film in a foreign land and placing brands in front of audiences is to not focus on the negatives. Instead take on the unflappable attitude of Phil Wenneck and embrace that challenge. Got a bunch a guys partying in the orient? Then get them swilling the local brew, and then make that brand a key component in the story. Hell, international sales of that label are bound to see a bump in sales by the end of summer.
In that same vein why not go all the way and actually brand your movie with something directly connected to your title? There is no way to measure how large the component of fans will be who go out and emulate some of the onscreen action, but it makes sense that when they do to then steer them towards a product specifically designed to assist with their morning after. You may think it is rather funny to see this type of cross-promotion but for the real humor understand something more. This is an all natural herbal potable designed to be consumed before passing out, and is found at Whole Foods Markets. So imagine the lumbering frat boys storming into those upscale grocers in a quest to prevent a sequel to their own hangover.