On the 4th February 2018, the Superbowl was broadcast in America and online for other countries to see. As someone living in the UK, I always used the Superbowl as an excuse to get drunk and have a party with my University friends. I still don’t understand the rules of the game. Another reason I paid attention to the Superbowl was because of the trailers and adverts that it would bring. This sporting event is an oppurtunity for upcoming films, TV shows and companies to advertise their latests products and they’d go ‘all out’ for this yearly event.
The one trailer that caused the most publicity that night, however, was for ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ because, not only did we finally have a trailer for it but, at the end of the 30 second ad, it was revealed that the film would be on Netflix the moment the Superbowl finished.
Ok, so a little bit of background information for people who don’t know anything about this film: This is the third Cloverfield film, and was originally called ‘The God Particle’. It was also supposed to be released in cinemas in October 2017. However, it then got pushed to April and was reported that Netflix had bought the film. Rumours then started going around a week before the Superbowl that Netflix would release the film on their site right after the game but most people, like me, dismissed this as wishful thinking.
…And here we are.
This is a topic I’ve been wanting to talk about since 2016, when ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ came out and now with ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’s lack of a marketing campaign, I think this is a perfect time to talk about it. This will be an article based on what I know about the marketing as well as my own experience of it. So, let’s go back in time to 2007…
In 2007, during the showing for the first ‘Transformers’ film, a teaser without a title was shown. It was for a found footage film, that began at someone’s leaving party in New York. However, things quickly took a turn for the chaotic when the building shakes and a roar is heard. The party go to the roof of the building and-BOOM! They see a huge explosion close by them. Once they get outside, one of the characters notices something launching towards them: the head of the Statue of Liberty. The image then cuts to black and we are given the text ‘from producer J.J. Abrams’ and the release date, which was 18th January 2008.
That was the first teaser for what would later be named ‘Cloverfield’.
I vividly remember rewatching the teaser on Youtube over and over again, and wondering what this was; hardly anything was shown in the trailer, and yet, everyone wanted to see this film and A LOT of people saw it opening day. I never got round to seeing it in cinema: all of my friends either saw it opening weekend, or didn’t want to see it (I wasn’t confident at that time to go to the cinema on my own), but I was obsessed with this film that I basically knew nothing about! It was also strange to have this much mystery over a film; trailers are always accused of ‘showing too much’ and this one showed hardly anything, which made people curious enough to see it.
The teaser can be seen below:
The trend of releasing an unannounced trailer with hardly any information in it continued when the trailer for ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ played during a showing of ’13 Hours’ in America. This one was a bit longer than the first film’s teaser: it’s set against Tommy James & The Shondells cover of ‘I think we’re alone now’ and shows Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. in a bomb shelter and doing normal activities (watching tv, reading a book, etc.). Then suddenly the shelter starts shaking and strange noises can be heard, presumably coming from above. The music then starts slowing down as the tone of the trailer goes from normal to downright creepy, as, in one shot, the shelter is on fire and, in another, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is seen with her leg handcuffed to the wall of a concrete room. The trailer ends with her running to escape while John Goodman is warning her not to go outside. The screen then cuts to black and we hear rumblings as John Goodman warns us that ‘something is coming’ and the title ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ slowly appears onscreen.
This trailer had a different sense of mystery than the first film’s teaser: We now knew that this was a Cloverfield film, as this trailer had a title. However, while this was longer than the first film’s teaser, we still didn’t have too much of an idea of what was going on. But that didn’t stop the word-of-mouth that the trailer below generated:
We’re now in an age where social media and the Internet is huge: if an event happens, we’ll know about it within seconds. So it speaks volumes that all 3 films in this franchise has had virtually no marketing and can create great word-of-mouth as a result of this. On top of this, the last two films were successful, so this could be a game-changer in how studios view film marketing as a whole. What should also be taken away from this is that we don’t need a trailer with lots of information in it to intrigue us; if it’s mysterious, people will be curious enough to see it. The mystery of these films is the reason why this franchise’s marketing campaign is my favourite: I don’t really know what I’m about to watch as I go into the cinema/log onto Netflix.
And now that Cloverfield 4 (currently titled ‘Overlord’) has finished filming, I look forward to seeing what promotional material Bad Robot comes up with next.