Rio:  innovative marketing campaign from 20th Century Fox
Rio: innovative marketing campaign from 20th Century Fox
A view from Simon Kershaw

CREATIVE STRATEGY: 20th Century Fox has a 21st century approach to promotions

Advertising for films is pretty formulaic, but two campaigns recently stood out for taking brave approaches to getting the message through.

I love film. Thanks to my friends at MovieMail, the stacks of DVDs threaten to overwhelm a whole corner of the living room. I’ve just subscribed to New Empress magazine. And I’ll no doubt be in my local Curzon cinema some evening very soon.  

But when it comes to promoting individual films, why is there no imagination to match the skills of the writers, directors and actors behind the greatest movies? Advertising for films is pretty much templated – posters in the Underground and press ads in the entertainment sections.

And in tandem with this bog-standard stuff, we have the inevitable interviews with the stars – if the cast includes an A-lister, that is.  

Isn’t it time someone broke the mould? Well, there are signs that at least a couple of advertisers and their agencies are doing just that.  

On my travels, I’m always on the lookout for the best and the worst work to review for you. Occasionally, though, I’ll find something that’s just ... odd.  

Recently, I saw Tubecard panels advertising a pill that gives you access to "100% of your brain". In the centre of the layout was copy listing the possible side-effects of the smart drug, which included coma and death! Eh? How can something so dangerous be legal?  

Now I know that it was a teaser campaign for the 2011 action-thriller 'Limitless'. Brill. Every time that I see the ad again, I’ll be reminded of the movie and somehow rewarded for joining the dots.

But 20th Century Fox took an even bigger and braver approach to PR around the release of 'Rio', a 3D animation about Blu, a macaw that’s chicken about flying.

First they recruited ‘Daybreak’ presenter Christine Bleakley, strapped her to the top wing of a 1930s-designed Boeing Stearman and took her for a spin. Insane. And of course, newsworthy. According to The Sun, the Daily Mail and ITV. 

After Ms Bleakley’s stunt, a massive model of scaredy-bird Blu is doing a wing-walking tour of Britain and Ireland, tied in to local radio phone-in competitions for 'Rio' tickets and merchandise. Here’s one marketing campaign that deserves to fly.

Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones