At every turn, Pixar messed up the marketing of their new movie. It has a hard to spell name, no furry characters, not nearly enough dialogue (the first 45 minutes is almost silent), no nasty (but ultimately ridiculous) bad guy, hardly any violence and very little slapstick. Wall-e didn’t get a huge Hollywood PR campaign or even a lot of promotion, it doesn’t feature any hot stars and as far as I can tell, the merchandising options are quite limited.
Can you imagine the meetings?
Can you imagine the yelling?
Pixar, recently purchased by Disney, could crank out multi-billion dollar confections. They know all the moves, they have the chops to create merchandising powerhouses. And with just one movie a year, they certainly must have been under huge pressure to do just that.
And yet, instead, they make a great movie. A movie for the ages. A film, not 90 minutes of commerce.
The irony, of course, is that they’ll make plenty of money. Bravery often pays off, even if paying off is not your goal. Especially if that’s not your goal.
Marketing isn’t always about pandering to the masses and shooting for the quick payoff. Often, the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all.