Guest Post: Pathways to Prometheus

Another guest post, which pleases my lazy blogger tendencies. At this rate, I’ll never need to write another word.

Seriously, Readership, feel free to send me stuff. You know the remit by now. At the very least, a recipe or two would be nice.

Any hoo. X&HTeam-mate Simon Aitken has obliged me with his take on the marketing push for one of the most anticipated movies of the summer–Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

The full trailer for Prometheus has just been released and I stayed up to two in the morning to watch it. What can I say; I’m an Alien fan! Alien was the first horror film I saw as a kid, so I have a soft spot in my heart for all the chest-bursting. It gave me nightmares for weeks. To say that I was excited to hear that Ridley Scott was returning to the Alien franchise is a bit of an understatement.

I had planned to go into the film blind. Not knowing anything. Not seeing anything. I wanted to sit down in that cinema and watch it fresh. Well, that wish has gone. And it’s all thanks to advertising campaign.

I tried not to watch the teaser trailer, but every time I went online there was another image from the trailer. There was no escape. So with a broken heart, I watched the trailer, but a funny thing happened. My heart started to skip a beat; I loved the teaser!

The teaser trailer was amazing. It felt like the original Alien trailer from 1979. No egg this time, but the music was there. The title appearing a piece at a time was there. And quick glimpses of the film were there too! It’s a great trailer. Taking the best bits of the original promoand giving them new life. Proper fan service.

Then the viral campaign started with the Weyland Corporation website and the TED2023 talk with Guy Pearce channeling John Hurt as Peter Weyland talking about building better worlds.

Written by Damon Lindelof and directed by Luke (son of Ridley) Scott, I thought it was a stroke of genius to use tech forum TED to promote the film. It really grounds the film in a a carefully thought out and properly mapped fictional universe.

I’m surprised that Ridley Scott hasn’t used a viral campaign for one of his films before. With his background in advertising, you would have thought he’d have embraced the social networks long before this. I’m certain Damon Lindelof had a major hand in convincing Ridley Scott to take this direction for Prometheus. He knows the benefits of viral marketing with the campaigns for Lost and Cloverfield under his belt. Will we see more of these kinds of campaigns for films? Most likely! Will they be as good as this one? Probably not!

And that brings me to the release of the full trailer for Prometheus. It was treated as a big event. Not as much fanfare as the teaser trailer had, with all the “countdown” trailers, but still it was a big deal. Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof premiered the full trailer to a live audience in L.A., with a Q&A afterwards. The whole thing was live streamed on the Internet, which is why I stayed up to two in the morning to watch it.

I thought it was worth staying up for. The trailer was good. Not as great as the teaser, but at least it didn’t follow the current trend of giving away the whole plot in the trailer. There were a few spoilers in there. Not massive ones, but you could put two and two together and get the gist of the story.

If anything I preferred the international trailer, as it doesn’t show as much, to the full trailer, which as I said has spoilers in it.

I enjoyed the Q&A with Ridley Scott. They couldn’t really talk about the film in depth, but it was still enjoyable.

I’m happy that I have seen the trailers. I feel that they have kept a lot of the film away from me, so I can go and see it and not feel like I have seen the whole thing in the trailer. I’m also happy, as a filmmaker, to see a way to advertise a film via viral campaigns, that doesn’t cost a lot, yet can reach a very wide audience. I look forward to seeing what Prometheus’s legacy is concerning film advertising.

And I look forward to June 1st, when I will be sitting in a dark room, watching Prometheus for the first time. I can’t wait!

(Me again. There’s an interesting comparison to be made between the care, attention and creativity that Fox are putting into the Prometheus campaign and the lacklustre to the point of invisible marketing Disney gave us for John Carter. The buzz is almost palpable for Prometheus, which isn’t out until June. I think we started seeing press for John Carter the week before its release, by which time it was way too late. Significant, no?)

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Rob

Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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