Nothing is as unfunny as comedy posters
Sadly enough this doesn’t seem to work when it comes to marketing of movies, particularly not in the case of comedies.
If I’m interested in watching an upcoming comedy, the best I can do is to avoid paying too much attention to the advertising. If I look too closely at the images, chances are they won’t work as intended. If anything they’ll work the opposite way, making me lose interest for the movie.
If you ask me there is nothing as unfunny as a poster or an ad for a comedy.
I know what they’re trying to do. They want to help me understand what I get and there’s nothing wrong about that. You need to build the right expectations and match the viewer with the right movie. Help the thrill seekers to find their way to the horror movies, help those yearning for love to find romance and help everyone who needs a laugh to find something fun. But oh dear, do they need to do it so clumsily?
The more you yell at me: “THIS IS FUNNY, GO AHEAD AND LAUGH NOW”, the less funny does it get. It’s the same mechanism as with laugh tracks. Regardless of how fun it might have been from the beginning – by needlessly pointing it out all the time, you effectively suck the fun out of it.
Recently I went to see a new Swedish comedy, Kvarteret Skatan reser till Laholm. Foreign readers probably shouldn’t bother to look it up; it’s clearly aiming for a Swedish audience with a lot of jokes I can’t imagine would be picked up by a foreigner.
So I won’t talk long about it. All I will say is that it I passed the requirements for a funny movie according to Mark Kermode. This means that I laughed at least five times. But what meant more to me: my teenage girls laughed and smiled not five times, but constantly through the entire movie. Just this beautiful sight, the privilege to see their faces and listen to their giggles was definitely worth the admission price.
But oh boy, how I had to struggle to overcome my aversion against the advertising! The picture of the man in the yellow shirt with the insane smile was ugly, intrusive and felt like an insult to my intelligence. Besides it seemed to be everywhere! I saw it in newspapers, on huge posters outside the cinema and in a pop-up ad that covered the entire website of the multiplex theatre when I was booking the tickets.
It was only by reminding myself that a Swedish fellow blogger had assured told me it was a truly funny movie and that it starred to a couple of stand up comedians I like that I managed to get over it and watch it despite the poster.
Not all comedy posters are like that. There are some exceptions that I wish had more followers. Look at the one for Life of Brian! That’s a poster with style.
And if you’re afraid people won’t get that it actually is a funny movie, you could always do it like Four Lions. Spell it out! “Funny”.
But please, please spare me those silly faces and tinned laughter and posters that only make us cringe.
Kvarteret Skatan reser till Laholm (Mikael Syrén, SWE 2012) My rating: 3/5