P is for Publicity
It will be ages before we see either film at the cinema, but we live in an age ruled by fanboys, and studios have been pandering to them for years. Hence the massive marketing campaigns for superhero franchises (usually with tie-in product placement and advertising); hence “viral” campaigns; hence hashtags; hence the “panel discussions” at Comic-Con; hence the teaser trailers for upcoming movies; and hence the cast of The Avengers getting loaded and playing Family Feud.
All the fuss about the new Star Wars and the Batman trailers has me thinking about how Hollywood markets its products. There’s nothing new about publicity, of course, but movies were sold a lot differently in the olden days.
You would seldom see a critic’s quote on a one-sheet: the hyperbole was all generated in-house.
Studios had a very cozy relationship with the Press and had much stronger control over what did and did not make the gossip column.
Once a studio had spent time and money nurturing its talent (vocal coaches, dental work, deportment lessons, and so on), it wasn’t going to risk a star’s public image being tarnished. Adoring fans never knew about Humphrey Bogart‘s heavy drinking, Joan Crawford‘s tantrums, or Cary Grant‘s homosexuality. A studio would arrange for two stars to be romantically linked – even married, if necessary – to promote a movie. Scandals were hushed up.
Here are 13 movie trailers from the Golden Age.