Friday, March 28, 2008

Movie ads unforgettable for Sarah Marshalls of the world

Do you recognize the name Tommy Tutone? If so, you probably remember the uproar he caused when random strangers starting dialing 867-5309, asking for a girl named Jenny.

Now, thanks to a new movie ad campaign, a similar phenomenon is affecting the Sarah Marshalls of the world. The
Los Angeles Times

Sarah Marshall of Glendora didn't get a lot of notice. Until about two weeks ago.

That's when hundreds of billboards started appearing in five cities, including Los Angeles. They proclaimed, in black letters scrawled against a white background: "I'm So Over You, Sarah Marshall," "You Suck Sarah Marshall," "My Mother Always Hated You, Sarah Marshall," and "You Do Look Fat in Those Jeans, Sarah Marshall."

The billboards are part of a marketing campaign for the comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," from Universal Pictures, about a dumped boyfriend trying to get over his ex.
Now this may seem funny to you if your name isn't Sarah Marshall. But some people, apparently, aren't laughing very hard. People with a certain name, that is.
The animosity toward their fictional namesake has brought the real Sarah Marshalls -- who include an advertising student in Texas, a special-education teacher in Connecticut and a high school senior in Glendora -- an outpouring of concern.

"They're everywhere, and they're so annoying," said Sarah Marshall the Glendora student, who lives three blocks from one of the billboards. Adults called her parents to ask if she was the target of a hate campaign. "I wish they specified that it's a movie," she said.
The good news for the beleaguered Sarah Marshalls of the world is that the movie opens April 18, and if the preview* is any indication, it may come and go pretty quickly. The bad news, though, is that if the preview is any indication, it also looks kind of funny, and exactly like the kind of movie targeted at people most likely to annoy the Sarah Marshalls of the world.

So if your name is Sarah Marshall, you may want to think about using an alias, at least temporarily. You might even consider calling yourself "Jenny," depending on what your phone number is.

*NSFW. At all. Ergo "restricted." Don't say I didn't warn you.

1 comment:

ScLoHo (Scott Howard) said...

I saw the first sign ad for this movie when I was in Chicago a couple weeks ago and thought it was just a single billboard campaign. Never thought of the movie. A couple days later while in Indy, I saw lots of signs and taxi toppers and realized it was a campaign for something, but still there was no connection with a movie that I might want to see.

I hope that the buzz they are creating translates into box office dollars, or else a good creative campaign made the fatal flaw of not connecting to the product it was supposed to sell. Three weeks till showtime!