Tracking Trailers: Tracking Trailers
by Alex Keen
Published: September 26, 2000
I like giving ya'll some analysis on what the marketing groups discuss prior to sending out their trailers. This week I give you a dose of football. I think this film will do well, and if Denzel shines as much as he does in the trailer, some award nominations may be coming his way once again (btw he got robbed on He Got Game).
Remember The Titans (RTITN) - Starring Denzel Washington, Will Patton, and Ethan Suplee. Directed by Boaz Yakin. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Released by Disney on September 29th. Rated PG.
After looking at the trailer, I am reminded of several films. In particular, one of my favorites of all time, Rudy comes to mind. The struggling football player who overcomes his size and academic failings, to play football for Notre Dame. Titans, uses the African American coach who overcomes a white coaching standard, to lead his team to victory. This trailer throws in lots of "team building" / "diversity emphasizing" images our way. It evens uses the song "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to stress the importance of working together. Often, movies that over-emphasize the struggle to be fair, turn into a bowl of tasteless oatmeal. They are force-feedings of boring and sickening love, that make no sense and ignore how the audience really relates to its characters. Titans does not appear to be one of these films. Denzel is one of the greatest emotional actors living today. When that man cries, the world cries. I believe him in almost every role that he truly applies himself too (ignore Fallen, Bone Collector). In fact, He Got Game is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. It not only is a beautiful sports film, it is a great story about fathers and sons.
There are several interesting ideas, from a marketing perspective, that this trailer seems to emphasize. It starts with comedy. A coach and his player have an interesting discussion that is obviously meant to inspire the audience to laugh (not hysterically, but a chuckle is all that is suggested here). To me, that is an excellent way to sell a comedy-drama. It shares with us, that Denzel will not only be a strong character, but that the characters he interacts will make the rest of the film fun. If you have seen the commercials for Titans, you have seen Ethan Suplee (he's kinda chubby) hug Denzel. Obviously, this is meant to make us laugh, but it is also intended to show that the story is one with heart. Add in an intelligent little girl (like the kid in Jerry Maguire), and I think this film appeals to almost every audience alive.
Finally, from a marketing perspective, I see several different target audiences here. First, and quite obvious, is Denzel's appeal to the African American community. This is needs no detailed explanation, except that Denzel is the highest drawing dramatic black actor ever (Sidney Poitier, imho, is no match). Second, it is football season, and it seems this film is targeted at the non-Pro football players (high school, college). While there are no explosive hits, there are plenty of team shenanigans. Third, is the underdog angle. This is aimed at fans of films like Rudy and October Sky. Can you classify this audience? Not really. However, if the film is well received, you can count on amazing WOM. Movies with a heart are always more likely to do well then those that are pessimistic.
That's all for today. I am hoping to get to another flick for next week. We'll see.
Also wanted to add, thanks to all my pals on TT for helping me reach the $25million mark. Its been over a year, and over 6months on TT. And I still don't feel welcome (j/k). Anyway... thanks.
PS anyone interested in making some bets, please e-mail me, I have a great punishment in line for the loser.