“Advertising: the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.” Stephen Leacock
I've seen one poster, two trailers, and one commercial for Defiance, the upcoming WWII flick starring Daniel Craig, and found some of the ways they are marketing it...um...very interesting.
First, the print ad looks not so much like everyman and his three brothers help Jewish refugees escape their Nazi-occupied homeland of West Belarus, and a LOT like 007 (aka James Bond) kicking out the jams. Not a big shocker that they went there but still...PR guys...come on.
Then the commercial playing over and over on my TV set this weekend during the NFL playoff games buttoned itself with the voice over line: "Based on the incredible untold true story."
Trailer Number Two said the same thing, but different: "A true story...never before told."
But it was Trailer Number One that really hammered the message home with the title card: "Based on the most incredible true story...you have never heard."
I was left wondering when being just 'based on a true story' (like Valkyrie or Flags of our Fathers or Letters From Iwo Jima or The Pianist or Band Of Brothers or Schindler's List even, most of which I'd never heard of before they were released as films) became not quite good enough anymore.
Is Defiance a good film or a turd...I have no idea. But I don't like feeling manipulated, or the implication that an 'untold' true story is somehow more worthy of my attention. I'm sure the marketers were just trying to make the film sound special in this year of so many Holocaust movies they almost all cancel each other other out, as Eric Kohn writes HERE in the New York Press. But still, it smells a little like desperation....
Does this kind of subtle smoke and mirrors shtick really work on your regular average Joe public movie goer? I'd like to say no....but then they probably don't think about this kind of stuff as much as I do. Or even care.