Saturday, June 8, 2013

Internship crashers

There have been a couple things I've noticed about the advertising for The Internship (opening today) that have bothered me, at least enough to write a post. (Subject matter has to meet a pretty low threshold in order for me to write about it.)

For one, it's pretty obvious that they're trying to make us think of the most recent and perhaps most successful -- and only? -- collaboration between Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, which was Wedding Crashers.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course -- except that I didn't really like Wedding Crashers, and I want to like The Internship.

Anyway, yeah -- the tagline is "Crashing the System," which is one of those felicitous phrases that has both a literal meaning (a malfunctioning computer, appropriate in a movie about Google) and a subliminal meaning (the allusion to Wedding Crashers).

The other thing that "bothers" me about The Internship is the blank looks on the faces of Vaughn and Wilson in all the posters. They owe more than a little bit of a debt to this:

and to this:

Now you might say "Vance, Steve Carell and Matt Damon are smiling, and Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are not." You'd be right, of course. But I still think there is an intentional borrowing of the same ad campaign.

However, if you're going to go with that campaign, at least do it in a way that makes sense. In other words, Vaughn and Wilson have their mouths open and those vacant looks on their faces because it's ironic to think of them as "fresh-faced interns." Wilson is 44 and Vaughn is 43.

But I've seen this poster on a lot of bus stops around LA:

If you're going to stamp INTERN on a character's forehead, it should represent a disconnect, as it does with Wilson and Vaughn. Right? The other two are age-appropriate interns, so it makes no sense. There's no disconnect.

Now, you could get away with the design above if the bottom two appeared on the top, indicating that these on the top row are your normal interns and these on the bottom row are not. Reading the poster from top to bottom would indeed convey that. However, you can't do that because then you are effectively giving these two unknowns top billing.



Don Handsome said...

The other thing that bothers me, and the reason I wont be seeing this movie (in the theater at least), is that it ups the product placement game to a whole new level. Most of the time, product placement is incidental of the action in a film, but in this film the product placement is the framing story...surely they shouldn't be charging for this. This is like the "free" vacation offered by timeshares or the stupid little magazines sponsored by toothpaste companies that they give kids at might get something good (like some beach time or The Wonder Twins) but you have to suffer through a hard sell to get it. Are Wilson and Vaughn worth two hours of Google indoctrination? Probably not.

Don Handsome said...

Just to be clear, the above comment was written from my Google account.