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How to promote a film, but nicely
Though he dislikes advertising in general, Slarek was still given a child-like buzz of delight by one small delightful bit of promotion by Arrow for the re-release of Cinema Paradiso | 12 December 2013

You may well have picked up that we are not exactly fans of advertising here. Actually, that's putting it mildly. As far as I'm concerned, advertising should be classified as the eighth deadly sin, one that poisons almost every aspect of modern living. It's a key reason why I won't take advertising on this site, which in turn is why Cine Outsider will never be one of the bigger players. While we're small I can afford to pay for the web hosting out of my own pocket. It does mean that reviewers make no money from their hard work, and that means they don't tend stay with us for long, but when it comes to sticking to what I believe in I'm one stubborn minded fuck.

In the next couple of weeks fellow reviewer Gort will be laying in to why the current crop of TV commercials are manipulative and deceptive shite (looking forward to that), but you can warm up to it in the mean time with a drinking game that involves sticking your TV on a commercial channel for one evening (I know, but you will get drunk as a pig as a result) and taking a slug every time one of the following words are used in a pre-Christmas TV ad: 'Perfect', 'Favourite' and 'Love' (as in "the [product] that you love"). Bastards.

But being a film devotee I do tend to get all hypocritical when it comes to some aspects of how films are promoted. I long ago lost interest in trailers, which tend to be glued to formula and are frequently peppered with spoilers (see last week's blog), but for as long as I can remember I've had a love affair with film posters and poster artwork. Although I come from an art background, I tend to assume that it's a passion shared by all film fans; certainly I know of precious few who don't have at least one film poster on their wall. I seem to recall that one of my fellow reviewers once papered his entire bedroom wall with posters procured from his part-time cinema job, to the point where this improvised wallpaper was about four posters deep, and I myself have an obscenely large collection of posters awaiting the completion of repairs and decoration to the walls that they will hopefully one day adorn.

I'm also a bit of a sucker for movie merchandising, whether it be well-modelled action figures or those small things that are handed out at preview screenings or sent out to promote the release of a film in cinemas or on whatever the currently popular form of home video is. With email having become the preferred method of distributing release details (hardly surprising given the immediacy and substantial cost saving), it's become increasingly rare for distributors or PR companies to send out any physical form of promotional material. But just occasionally they still do, and if well done they do tend to catch our eye. A previous favourite came from Monster Pictures, who sent us a small sewing kit to promote the then upcoming release of The Human Centipede: First Sequence (if you've seen the film you'll certainly get the gag). But probably the nicest we've received in a very long time arrived a couple of weeks ago from Arrow Films. We meant to mention it before, but it's one of those thoughtfully designed examples of film promotion where a moving picture is worth a couple of hundred words, so we've shot a little video of the object in question, which you can see below. It's worth noting that this was filmed at the end of a long a tiring day, which is why my voice sounds like I've inhaled a nicotine-spiked balloon full of helium.

 

I'm not sure the video really captures how neat this object feels when you hold it in your hands. It's really well put together and is just the sort of thing we should expect from Arrow, whose lavish horror Blu-ray releases really do come across as labours of love. And as a marketing tool it has proved surprisingly effective. When I first received it, I took it took work and everyone I showed it to reacted with almost child-like enthusiasm – the most common first reaction was a delighted "wow!" – and many of those who had seen the film began immediately recalling it, which had the effect of piquing the interest of those who hadn't. In that sense the object had done its job, but its appeal for me is its thoughtful but nostalgically low-tech construction and the fact that it doesn't feel like the product of a witless marketing department, but one devised and constructed by film fans for the enthusiastically like-minded. Nice one, Arrow.