“Traitor” Movie Review: Big Buzz Marketing Undermines Message

I had high expectations for the movie “Traitor” and, unfortunately, felt more than a bit let down. The film follows Samir Horn (played by Don Cheadle) as a devout Muslim with a storied past; born in Sudan, trained by the U.S. military, fought with the mujahideen in Afghanistan, turned explosives runner around the world, and eventually rises the ranks of a high profile terrorist network plotting attacks against U.S. interests abroad and, eventually, closer to home. Throughout the story, Horn’s story evokes a number of issues: Western prejudice toward Islam, racial profiling, U.S. empire building, and misunderstandings and ignorance on both sides.

In an interview on NPR, Cheadle explains how he reconciles the serious issues of the film with its summer-blockbuster-action-film marketing efforts, saying “movies like this, I always want to smuggle in those kinds of ideas. We don’t have to lead with them, but I like it when people can walk out of the theater with something to talk about.”

Shame on Cheadle

I agree. And I think the more people who can be introduced to a dialogue that I believe is crucial to our foreign policy, then all the better. Then I saw this YouTube clip. (It’s too shameless to embed). In it, Cheadle presents a parody of the movie (aired on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show) where his stunt double, an overweight mustachioed Latino, receives the brunt of the abuse during Cheadle’s interrogation scene. This may get more folks in the door, but it trivializes an important scene in the film.

What do you think?

Am I being too hard on Cheadle? The movie’s marketing efforts? Cheadle turns in a great performance, no doubt, and the film provides a great launch pad for some serious issues. Am I being too harsh?

Time-Delayed Olympics, Local Online Advertising & Icky Flash Microsite of the Day

ESPN wants rights for 2014, 2016 Olympics, would kill tape delay

PaidContent outlines ESPN’s plan to show the Olympics sans delay. I agree with ESPN. I found the tape-delay jarring.

As a disclaimer, I haven’t watched television with any sort of consistency since I was in middle school. So I’ve become accustomed to enjoying access to information as it becomes available, and I found NBC’s tape delay a bit of a surprise.

Give Newspapers a chance

A cool article on the opportunity that (still) exists for newspapers to cash in on local advertising.

Icky Flash Microsite

No, this probably won’t be a recurring feature.

No, I’m not sorry I’m sending you here.

Basically, journos get a lot of flack for losing touch with their audience, yet here’s an example of a marketer doing just that. Who wants to sit through this thing?

Facebook’s Social Ads uses the wrong approach

Facebook logoA lot has been said regarding Facebook’s controversial advertising scheme dubbed Social Ads. Here’s my problem with it: it uses its users instead of empowering them.

No way to opt out

One thing I’ve read thus far is that there is no opt out option for the Social Ads program. This fact overlooks another interesting one: there’s no opt in. Why not build the program and ask users if they even want to participate, and then share the revenue with its users.

Now, I’m sure there are a ton of issues with this route as well. But, I think it’s better than what Facebook is doing. What do you think?

Measuring newspapers’ footprints

Newspaper footprint

Nearly 4 in 5 adults are touched by the “footprint” of newspapers, according to a report issued by the Newspaper Association of America, using data from Scarborough.

The report (PDF here) emphasizes a few key points:

  • Newspapers and newspaper Web sites (the newspaper footprint) reach 77% of adults in a given week.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 65% of young adults (18-24) in a given week.
  • In a given week, the newspaper footprint reaches 66% of adults who have been in their home less than a year.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 76% of food shoppers with long recipts($150+) in a given week.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 81% of consumers planning to spend $35,000+ on a new vehicle in the next 12 months.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 82% of adults who have made any Internet purchase in the last 12 months.

In the market for a new car…

I find the statistic on vehicles interesting. Here at Medill, where our Integrated Marketing Communications department harps on targeted, relevant advertising, we often discuss the inefficiency of car and real estate advertising in newspapers.

Traditionally, newspapers provided the only blanket coverage of a particularly geographic area. On the other hand, however, not many people are in the market for a car or a home at any given time.

On its face, that statistic affirms the traditional wisdom: if you want to reach someone in the market for a car, the newspaper will probably achieve that for you. On the other hand, you’ll be reaching a whole lot of people not in the market for a car. Not terribly efficient. And this report doesn’t seem to speak to that concern.

What happens when that number slips to 70 percent, then 60 percent? Of the population of people in the market for a car in the next 12 months, I wonder how many of them can be reached through ads on Cars.com?