Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

GETTING AWESOME WITH TOMMY UP

By Tommy Up
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 24, 2009

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Snakes on a Plane was pretty much the biggest thing on the planet until last weekend. It was everywhere. The Internets was going nuts. It was sort of a big in-joke/experiment--this was going to be the next big thing that would demonstrate how we no longer need a quality product if the right hype is there. And damn ... the hype was there. This was supposed to signal the death of traditional advertising for films. The Kool-Aid was there and Hollywood was sitting around to see if we drank it.

Thing is, no one did. The movie bombed last weekend and took in less than the average B horror flick in the summer. The people who saw it were mostly the same people who were hyping it up all along, plus a few of their curious friends.

It's not that people didn't know about the movie. It's just that people chose not to see it. Personally I'm glad it bombed. It looks retarded, and if there's one thing Hollywood can be counted on to do, it's to replicate to death anything that's half successful.

Look at Kevin Federline. Most people know who he is and that he has an album coming out, but do you know anyone who'll buy it? Or even download it for free? Seriously, who wants to waste their time? I don't. I'd need to be paid fairly substantially to sit and listen to it.

Let's look at this locally. Everyone's heard about Geno's and their "SPEAK ENGLISH" sign. The whole country's heard about it. Did that translate into increased business? I'm too lazy to call them, but I doubt it. Their story is famous. It had more buzz and more press than any gimmick the city has ever come up with, but it just became a waste of mental real estate because there was nothing behind it. Now if Geno's had some badonkers new cheesesteak that gave people involuntary mouth orgasms, they would've had more new business than drug dealers did when crack came out.

The lesson here is that notoriety and celebrity don't mean anything unless there's something behind it. Hype itself might get you laid, but it won't make anybody see Snakes on a Plane or eat a racist cheesesteak.

Holla at party thrower and subversive marketing genius Tommy Up at tommyup@philadelphiaweekly.com

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