Perhaps the best time to talk about a marketing campaign for a film is before everyone has seen it: this way, the discussion of the film itself cannot get in the way.
The documentary Catfish — a real, honest-to-goodness doc, not a fake one pretending to be — opens in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, and Toronto on September 17, but Rogue Pictures has been promoting the hell out of the film with lots of advanced screenings open to the public. At the same time, however, those of us who haven’t seen the film are being implored, “Don’t let anyone tell you what it is” while those of us who have seen the film are told, “Don’t tell anyone what it is.”
FishbowlLA is annoyed about this:
Don’t read about it. Don’t even think about it. Talk about it, God forbid, and you’re the biggest asshole on the planet.
Sorry, the marketing campaign for the film “Catfish” is pissing us off. We just got this press release for a Cinefamily screening next month:
The filmmakers of Catfish — the most buzzed about film at Sundance this year — urge you not to say what the film’s about, and we agree. In fact, we urge you to resist Googling it, resist looking it up on Yahoo — don’t even ask Jeeves! Catfish is a film that people can ruin for you, either by “spoilers,” or more importantly, the strength of their opinions — part of the fun of the film is putting together your own point of view.
If you feel that strongly about it, why cut a trailer?
Maybe we’re just pissed because we didn’t know about the film and now we feel like we have to see the damn thing. Our feeble mind (yes, we have a hivemind) was successfully toyed with.
We don’t want to ruin a cool film for anyone, and we don’t want it ruined for us. But can someone honest out there tell us whether this campaign is total bullshit? Can we really not talk about Catfish? It’s important to us to figure this out, and we’re not entirely sure why.
I think the campaign is pretty brilliant. It’s like saying, “Don’t think about an elephant.” Telling potential audiences that they cannot talk about a movie is precisely the way to get them to talk about it… though, hopefully, in less than revealing terms.
What do you think? Is Catfish’s “don’t talk about the film” marketing campaign brilliant or annoying?
If you’ve seen the film, try to avoid talking about it (except in the most general terms), and for pete’s sake, don’t spoil it.
If you haven’t seen the film… well, your reaction to the campaign is probably the one we should be talking about.
(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)