Media A2 Trailer Evaluation
Evaluation Question 2: How effective is the combination of your product and ancillary texts?
During the development of a film, it’s up to a film distributor to market the movie to the public and persuade them to go and see the movie. They have complete power over when the film will be released, and how it will be released to the public (e.g., through theatrical release, or directly to DVD release, or through digital download, ect). There are many ways for the distributor to advertise a movie. For instance, one of the most convenient ways to distribute advertisement for your product would be through the internet. You can either add video or animated advertisements through small advertising windows or in the margins on most websites, which play the moment you open the page. Another useful way to get their movie advertised to the public would be through cinema and TV ads. In the cinema, there is usually 15 minutes before the film starts that contains several adverts, usually related in some way to the film people are already watching. It is the same for TV ads; there’ll be an advertisement break about halfway through a television program on most channels which contains several adverts that would relate to those watching it. The distributor will always make sure that their film will be advertised to the correct target audience by making sure that they get to them through related media. For example, if their film is a children’s film, they will make sure that it is played during the ad break before another children’s movie,
rather than right before a hard-core slasher movie. This way they make sure that they get their movie out directly towards their target audience. When marketing a product, it is important to understand your target audience and adapt your advertising to suit and persuade them. It is important to keep a clear image of what your target audience’s demographic is and it’s size; what age are they, what gender, what are their likes and dislikes, what class are they, do they belong to a sub-culture, do they belong to a niche group and so on. Understanding your audience allows you to accurately target the largest amount of people you can who will most likely go and purchase your product. To become more knowledgeable in your target audience, you’ll need to gather target audience research. To gather the most research you can on your target audience, you must conduct both primary and secondary research, which include both quantitative and qualitative research. Primary research is research conducted by yourself without the use of other sources. This includes mostly questionnaires, which can be distributed many ways, including through the internet, post, by phone or on the street. Gathering your own research is very useful, as it will be more up-to-date than already existing research, and it may be more reliable than the research from another rival company. Secondary research is research other sources have gathered themselves. Although you take a risk in using someone else’s results (it may be out-of-date or unreliable), it is useful in getting information on your target audience as soon as possible. Qualitative and quantitative research refer to whether the research contains opinions or numerical facts. Qualitative research is about how people feel about a subject and contains opinions of the audience rather than solid facts, while quantitative research is purely about numerical facts and what can be proven with evidence. The distributor will need to use both primary and secondary research in order to get the widest possible audience, as they will need to know all about their target’s demographic in order to secure a tight, niche audience for their product. Depending on the genre, style and target audience of a film depends on how it will be advertised to the public. For example, many horror films are advertised as being dark and gritty, while many children’s films are bright and colourful. Here are some examples of how advertising changes depending on the movie: The Amityville Horror poster makes sure that it’s target audience are attracted through it’s poster. Horror fans (who are mostly young, white males) watch horror for many reasons, firstly because of it’s gritty, dark realism in an area that should be considered “safe.” In this poster, a rather normal looking house which should be considered safe normally has been put through filters that have turned it into a gritty, dark horror setting. The building looks degraded and damaged, with dark shadows clinging onto it like web. The only colour in this entire poster, other than the dirty green filter, is from the movie title, which has been coloured dark red and the “Y” looks like it’s dripping, like blood. It’s simple use of the dark green filter and
lack of obvious colour. This stands out to horror fans as something that will be dark and most likely gruesome; something that they can see will be horrifying even without looking at the name of the movie. The poster for the movie Up, however, has been specifically designed to target a child’s audience rather than an adult audience like the poster for the Amityville Horror. This poster makes sure it catches the eyes of children and/ or parents with it’s use of bright colours. Children would more likely be attracted to bright colours than the grittiness seen in the horror poster, as well as parents who are looking for a film for their children to see. The use of bright colours also make the poster seem “happy” which is what young children usually go to the cinema to see; a happy film. It’s large, bubbly font used and use of a simple word for the title is more simple for a child to understand and pick up on rather than the large words and spindly font used in the Amityville Horror poster. This poster also does not simply cater for a niche target audience, unlike the horror poster which is targeted at young white males. This poster is targeted at all children rather than just “some,” and has been made to attract both male and female viewers. It’s colourful and makes the target audience feel “happy,” which is what children want to be when they see a film, and it’s simple design and use of wording means that children will easily be able to pick up on what this films about and decide if they like it or not. Viral campaigns have become increasingly popular with companies since the internet became more social with the Web 2.0. Many viral campaigns start by sending out their trailers and advertisements over all video sites such as YouTube in a hope to get as many people interested in it as possible. Many viral ads are straight up and tell the viewer what their product is and why they should buy it, while others can be more clever and subliminal, such as posting up a pretend news-reel that shows their product as if it’s actually on the news. One viral ad that appeared in 2011 was the ad for a video game called Dead Island which became massively popular online with both horror and gaming fans alike. It shows the small story of how a family of 3 (father, mother and child) became victim to the zombie hoard in a heart-breaking last stand where the father tries to protect his wife and daughter, before his daughter becomes infected and her father is forced to kill her. Why the video
was so popular was because of very simple use of audio and footage; the entire trailer was played backwards and in slow motion, starting at the daughter’s (and her parent’s) death then ending with the child being rescued by her hopeful father, while all audio was removed from the trailer aside from a sad piano melody. It’s bitter-sweet story of how this loving family perished at the hands of the zombie hoard was well received by not just gamers but horror fans too. The audience for Dead Island was shown to be quite a niche one through this trailer. The trailer emphasized that there will be lots of blood, lots of zombies and lots of horror, which caters to the horror audience, but at the same time, tries to deconstruct the violence with the horrifying story of this family. People will almost fail to notice the amount of blood and gore because they will be so transfixed on the horror before them and feeling emotionally attached to the characters they’ve only known for a few minutes, hoping the survive, even when we know the outcome already. This game is not only for those die-hard horror fans, but also for those who a story with emotional depth, containing not just fear but also sadness. Having a unified theme or message throughout all of the film and advertisement is important to keep up the image of the film. For example, a film such as The Mist has an reoccurring theme about fear and how it changes people. Throughout all of it’s posters, it’s shown either the hero looking out towards the mist, or groups of people looking out towards the mist, signifying that it’s mysterious and dangerous. The fact that they are always inside strengthens this. The tagline they use in the teaser poster was “Belief divides them, mystery surrounds them, fear changes everything,” signifying that this movie is not just about monsters in the dark, but also about a divided community which causes danger in these circumstances. It sets itself up to be not a gore-fest horror movie, but a horror movie that has a lot of emotional depth, including fear and the feeling of division, wondering who’s side you should choose. This is continued even after the movie’s DVD release, where reviewers comment on it saying “A masterpiece! One of the most shocking movie endings ever!” which sets it up to be a shocking horror film with more scares than gore, and a ending which emotionally impacts the audience. When creating my horror trailer, I had to think about my target audience. The average horror fan are white males from the ages of 15 to 35, and so I had to think about my movie’s content and what age it should be suited for. Since a lot of horror fans seem to be over the ages of 18, I decided to make the film an 18. This gives me freedom to add more adult content and more intense horror moments. However, I also didn’t want my film to be a gore-fest, and so I tried to design my trailer and two ancillary texts to focus on the characters and their fear, in an attempt to advertise it as a psychological horror. When designing my poster, I had to think a lot about not just the connection with the film but how it will attract my audience. When thinking of how it will connect with the film, I first decided that it should be set in a snowy scene. A lot of the trailer is set during the winter, and so many people will assume that the film will feature the winter weather will play a big part on the film. So I set the poster’s background to a blizzard mist, where the snow is so thick you can’t see through it. I then also began to add the characters. I first added the protagonist, as she is the main focus of the film. She has
been placed so that she looks like she is looking around in fear, signifying to horror fans that fear will take place in the trailer. The antagonist was then placed behind her, slightly obscured by the snow, to show the audience that he’s not just an enemy, but an enemy that stalks their prey and stays out of sight. The lighting is rather dark in some places but light in others. Around the protagonist, it’s rather light, showing the viewer that she’s the hero, while the background and the antagonist have been made to look darker to show they’re the villains. The edges of the poster have been made black and dark, to make the viewer feel that the poster is pushing against the heroine and that it’s claustrophobic for her. It’s font has been made to look like blood; it’s colour is a dark red, it’s style makes it look like it’s been cut in and the texture overlay makes it look like it’s “running.” It’s colour design uses a mixture of cool, pale colours and darker colours. The snow and the plague doctor are quite pale, while the protagonist’s hair and the font are darker and warmer. One of the pieces of inspiration I got for this poster was from the Woman in Black poster, which had the protagonist in full view with a misty background. Almost concealed within the mist is the antagonist, whose main features cannot be seen in the poster. It helps attract those who wish to see a psychological horror rather than a torture porn horror, as, although there is not much indication that this will be a gruesome film, it’s feeling of claustrophobia and unease make it stand out as a horror. The magazine cover I developed is used to help promote my film, it’s trailer and the poster. Using a magazine to promote a film is very important; not only do they give coverage over good points about a film, but they also allow companies to give updates on the film’s progress, allow actors to give their views on the film and allow the viewer to see “behind the scenes.” Doing this makes the viewer feel “closer” to the team making the movie and the actors staring in it. The more connected to the film they feel, the more likely they’ll go out and see it in the cinema. Magazines can also be good for advertising your film by reviewing it positively; the better the score they give your film, the more likely it will attract more to see it. In my magazine cover, I made sure it continued to relate to the themes of my poster and trailer. Firstly, the use of red to signify blood is continued in the cover by using red font to emphasise important information on the cover. I also used a fog in the cover, much like in the poster, to add a feeling of claustrophobia. The heroine is on the front in full display, while the villain is behind her, slightly out of sight. This way, people will immediately recognise it when they see the front of the cover, as it heavily relates to the other forms of advertising, which portray it as a mysterious horror that’s more psychological than an all out gore-fest.
All in all, my two ancillary texts are very important when relating to my trailer and helping it get advertised. They both portray my film as a psychological horror rather than an all out gore-fest, which will attract a niche target audience who enjoy horror that plays with emotions rather than shoves horror in their face. It tells the viewer that the horror will creep up on them, like the antagonist, and get them mentally rather than through gruesome visuals.