WSJ Sees Star Power Return In Film Ads

By Robert Marich

   Dec. 19, 2008 – A Wall Street Journal article says Hollywood has gone back to making top actors the centerpiece of movie advertising, after backing away from star power after some poor results.
   The article by Peter Sanders notes that marketing campaigns for Seven Pounds and Bedtime Stories put a tight focus on their respective lead actors Will Smith and Adam Sandler.
  Will Smith’s face looms large in Sony Pictures’ advertising for Seven Pounds (though it may be argued this is another dark film that makes the story a poor selling point, hence a shift of the spotlight to the star). Disney is building Bedtime Stories marketing around Sandler, who is in a family PG-rated movie, which is a departure from his more racy previous comedies.
   The WSJ article also notes: “There are some other star vehicles this Christmas. The campaigns for Brad Pitt's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Mr. Carrey's Yes Man and Tom Cruise's Valkyrie all highlight the leading men. But it's hard to tell how much their celebrity can help them draw viewers. None of the three films is expected to be a breakout hit of the season.”
   The thesis of this story is a focus on star power in movie marketing is being redoubled, but Marketing to Moviegoers: Second Edition notes numerous examples of talent being the centerpiece when stars have a track record of pulling audiences or film subject matter is a hard sell. Often when conceptual campaigns don’t seem to work in pre-release audience testing, film distributors often re-tool with positioning built around talent in films.
  Sony Pictures opens Seven Pounds today at 2,758 theaters. Disney will premiere Bedtime Stories on Christmas Day at around 3,500 theaters, according to

   For full text, click below: