Advertising Campaigns Aren’t What They Used to Be

I just naturally assume that there are experts in every field, not only experts, but that there’s a basic minimum competency that goes with any given Job Title or business title.  For instance, everyone who has a job got that job from going through an application process, being selected from a pool of applicants, and then interviewed and someone made the decision that that person was the right person for the position.

Granted, a lot of work is outsourced nowadays, and everyone and their grandmother are running a business of their own.  But what I’m about to talk about applies to the advertising campaigns of the big players in Movies, TV, and video games.

I’ve been finding that with movies, it’s usually not until the 3rd official movie trailer that I get a sense of the story of the movie.  The first Official Trailer is a jumble of images without necessarily any clear indication of characters or story.  The 2nd Official Trailer does a slightly better job, but it’s usually still depending a lot on the action sequences if its an action movie or dramatic sequences if its a drama.  But as far as a clear understanding of the movie, that usually only happens in Official Trailer #3.

Official Trailer #3 usually only comes out AFTER the movie is in theaters.   So for most movies, it’s very difficult to see a trailer and make a decision as to whether it’s really worth seeing or not.

The same seems to be true of video game trailers.  I only saw the Story Trailer for the recent zombie action game “Dying Light” yesterday, and the game comes out this Tuesday.  The only reason I saw the Story Trailer was not from a review site or on Youtube, but on Steam, (sort of like the iTunes store for PC/Mac games.).  So For this particular game, I wonder where the gaming review sites have been for this game.  I know they’ve been covering it, but only the gameplay.  As far as the game having a story, no clue until yesterday.

Now, with this particular game, “Dying Light,” I may not buy it right away, but it definitely looks 1000% times more compelling now that I know the story and the characters within the game.  The story is much more than just killing zombies, it’s really like most zombie stories, from The Walking Dead TV series to recent zombie movies: other humans are usually more dangerous to the main characters than the zombies.

All I can think is, there are companies devoted to advertising and marketing.  And yet whatever philosophy or strategy most companies are using for their advertising, it is completely beyond me as a consumer.   Also, with websites who specialize in video gaming news, I have seen NOTHING about “Dying Light” and its story.   And I don’t know how recent the Story Trailer is, but for all the web surfing I do that relates to video games, I feel I should have seen the Story Trailer sooner than the weekend before the game it set to release.

But hey, advertising campaigns aren’t what I do.   But the two words “advertising campaign” seems to connote some strategy and ALOT of work involved.   A lot of times, it sure doesn’t seem that way.   (Oh yeah, because they mistakingly think, or maybe not so mistakingly, believe Americans only notice or care about a product if “exciting” things are happening on-screen, and character and story is secondary.  Maybe there is genius in this viewpoint.  Maybe I’m too used to Cable TV and ad campaigns for channels that are character centered.

One thought on “Advertising Campaigns Aren’t What They Used to Be

  1. Interesting take on advertising campaigns Paul. Although I will say I’m somewhat lost on what they used to be. Are you saying they used to be better “back in the day” because they were focused on story rather than character? Or that they used to be better because the strategy was different? Times are changing pretty quick, advertising is a whole new beast now.


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