The production teams behind movie advertising on TV have made a huge mistake. For my entire life (and I’m assuming yours, if you’re human), I have never paid even the slightest attention to the critics’ names underneath quotes in movie commercials. But now the fools that create said ads have decided to draw everyone’s attention to the critic names – but instead of critic quotes they’re of course now using Tweets from a grown man obsessed with Justin Bieber.
You know those giant words that the narrator dramatically delivers during movie ads on TV? Something along the lines of this (just the part in caps): “Nukepocalypse 12: The Rise of Pennsylvania will absolutely BLOW [slides across screen] YOU [slides across screen] AWAY” Yeah, we see those words all the time, but here are two things we definitely don’t do with them: 1) take them seriously, and 2) read the name of the movie critic who said them. And that makes sense – it’s an ad, so we’re likely just annoyed that it even exists, and there’s certainly nothing drawing us to get up close to our screens and read the name below the quote…until now. Because if someone throws a giant blue bird under something, people are going to stop and stare.
Okay, so I’ll forewarn, I’ve been searching for the accompanying video clip for a solid 20 minutes, and I can’t find it, so I’m just going to try to do what real writers do and describe things with words instead of embedding pictures and videos. This could be worse than the Hindenburg.
Update: I found a screenshot of it in case you need proof. This is actually a much better breakdown of the stupidity of this tactic than what I’m spitting out here, so check out Max Evry’s post on some other website. He’s not on my level of hilarity but he apparently does research and other things commonly done by writers. You’ll see none of that here.
And so, without further ado, here’s what I was completely caught off-guard by when watching TV the other day (image source noted above):
This was seen during a commercial for the new Wayans brothers spoof A Haunted House (it took all my effort to not make a “Wait, wait, you’re telling me the Wayans brothers are SPOOFING other movies??” joke here, so at least give me credit for reducing it to this parenthetical). Here’s a conversation that probably happened within the advertising team for the film:
High-Ranking Dumb Person: So, how we can really get this movie viral? How can we get it trending worldwide?
Low-Ranking Dumb Person: Oh, we can give the fans some sort of incentive to talk about it, like hats or T-shirts.
HRDP: Great, fans love that – you think that’ll get us trending and viral?
LRDP: Maybe we could give them something bigger…
HRDP: Go on…
LRDP: Like putting them on TV!
HRDP: Brilliant, I have just the spot – I’ll take out all those quotes from respected sources and put in some Tweets!
LRDP: And I’ll go find someone who types in all CAPS!
And so were born Tweets in movie ads. Okay, “respected sources” probably isn’t the best phrasing, but that’s what we think, right? We see a quote with an attribution below it that appears to be a movie critic, and we accept that their review as something with even the tiniest bit of validity. We don’t take the effort to verify the source because we really don’t pay attention to the quote in the first place. Which is what makes this such a perplexing move.
Nobody in the universe took the time to read those names. Know why? Because none of us care what movie critics think unless we’re trying to get material to impress our friends when we’re explaining our feelings on the movie (if I don’t like a movie, and I can’t put my finger on it, you bet I’m looking up some reviews to help sort it out). Sure we care about scores on Rotten Tomatoes and grades and rankings elsewhere. But do we actually care how critics come to those conclusions? Probably not.
But now instead of movie critics, who may or may not have had valid opinions or been paid off, we now see random Tweeters Twitterers internet dudes who definitely don’t have valid opinions and also may or may not have been paid off. Well, I guess if you consider self-brand recognition on national television to be worth something, he’s unquestionably being paid off. Who’s being paid off? Why, Steven Cuellar, of course!
And with that, faithful reader, I introduce to you @cuellarsteven27. Like I needed to even introduce you two! You and @cuellarsteven27 go WAY back. Remember that time he and @Lilv_06 were Tweeting at each other, and you couldn’t see any of the conversation because her account is protected? Oh man, or remember the time he retweeted Justin Bieber? Or that other time he retweeted Justin Bieber? And what about that time he retweeted Justin Bieber’s tour updates just to throw us off the path a little?
Listen, I’m not going to make any guesses or assumptions about how this guy conducts himself because I really don’t care who he is, how he feels, or why his cover image is three verticals of Justin Bieber with his shirt off (okay, two truths, one lie). I’m just saying, there are probably some people who would be taken more seriously than a guy who uses 21% (52/249 Tweets at the moment of this writing) of his Twitter juice retweeting Justin Bieber or his tour account. Like a [fake] movie critic. Or a sock.
I’m not saying you can’t interact with the guy, reply to him with a “Thank You” and retweet his comment. Those are accepted industry norms for communicating with fans on Twitter. But putting him in your TV ad and passing him off as a trustworthy source of movie critique? You have to be crazy or stupid to do something like that, or maybe just the perfect mixture of both.