A few weeks ago my friend Jon and I were having lunch at IHOP (or iHop if you’re trendy cool) and they were serving a Green Eggs and Ham breakfast as a promotion for the film version of Dr Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who? (which is worth seeing if you haven’t even though I despised the other two recent adaptations).
So Jon is reading the menu and both of us, thinking you would be getting eggs with green dye, realize the green is spinach.
Spinach. Nothing kids like more with their Dr Seuss than spinach. Who were the marketing guys on this?
For that matter, there is this trend to advertise the voice actors of an animated film. I picture twenty-two year old drunken frat boys watching a Horton commercial between Girls Gone Wild DVDs and thinking “that looks stupid” and then realizing Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen from Superbad are in it and quickly rushing to the theatre only to be disappointed by the lack of vaginal fluid jokes. Like somehow parents are telling their kids they won’t take them to a movie and then, oh wait, Denis Leary is the voice of a Sabertooth tiger?… get my keys. Parent’s see kid’s movies because their kids want to see them and no amount of stunt voicing will make a difference. They could have the remaining members of the Ronald Reagan cabinet perform Where The Wild Things Are and kids will still want to see it.
This brings me to Nim’s Island, a harmless kid’s movie being advertised right now with Jodie Foster and Gerald Butler that boasts “Starring Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin.” Have you seen Little Miss Sunshine? I know it sounds like a kid’s movie but it isn’t. My favorite line is the grandfather Alan Arkin at the gas station with the instruction: “Bring me some titty magazines… and none of that airbushed bullshit.”
I like to think Eddie Murphy lost his deserved Oscar because he didn’t get to say that line in Dreamgirls.
You might as well put “Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin, The Accused’s Jodie Foster and 300’s Gerald Butler.” I always like when people are involved with projects 180 degrees different than their previous work. What I would have given to see Babe: Pig In The City advertised as “From The Director Of Mad Max” or Dawn Of The Dead (2004) as “From The Writer Of Scooby-Doo.”
This brings me to my marketing WTF of the week. I am in Target looking for Aquaman action figures for my friend’s son (yes, he’s the one kid who knows Spider-Man, Superman and Batman and his favorite dude is Aquaman, go figure) and I come across this:
Platoon (1985) action figures. WTF? I can picture the licensing department of this toy company with some Power Point presentation on the impact of the Academy Award winning Viet-Nam film Platoon and how the market is ripe for an action figure line twenty-three years after the film was released.
“You see, Charlie Sheen from this film is now on big TV star playing a gigolo on the sitcom Two and a Half men and Willem Dafoe was the Green Goblin in Spiderman and Johnny Depp was in Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Let me put this into perspective (since I am going to date myself having seen this film in a theatre), it’s very possible that the parent’s who have kids you may buy these figures for weren’t even alive when the movie was released.
I guess they couldn’t get those Color Purple action figures out for Martin Luther King day.