samsung

The Samsung Exclusive Trailer – Part 2

Here we go again…

We knew that the Samsung partnership with Lionsgate was continuing through Part 2, we just hoped that things WOULD BE DIFFERENT (BETTER) THIS YEAR. This morning, QuarterQuell.org discovered the Samsung users website was announcing another Samsung event at Best Buy stores for the weekend of October 2.

exclu trailer

So let’s break it down. Over the weekend of Oct 2, you’ll be able to go to Best Buy stores to watch the Final Mockingjay Part 2 trailer before it debuts anywhere else. You can also try the Hunger Games Virtual Reality Experience via the Samsung GearVR.

If you were around the fandom last year during San Diego Comic Con time, you’ll remember that Samsung/Best Buy/Lionsgate did a similar type exclusive preview weekend of the Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer. Instead of just dropping the FIRST LOOK at Mockingjay Part 1 online for all fans, Best Buy stores with a Samsung Experience shop had the trailer to preview on Samsung tablets. Samsung was able to buy the goodwill of US fans who came to that preview weekend with free movie tickets and Mockingjay pins, but the rest of the world (and the US that didn’t have a special Samsung Experience Store Best Buy nearby) were left out. It created a lot of negativity in the fandom. So much angst. It was not a fun time in the fandom, and made what should have been a happy time – THE FIRST MJ1 TRAILER very sour.

SO WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS AGAIN? WITH THE FINAL TRAILER? There’s plenty of other ways to extend a Samsung/Mockingjay partnership – they even have a good one as a part of this weekend event. The demo of the Hunger Games Virtual Reality Experience could be pretty fun – and the GearVR isn’t even on sale to the public yet so there isn’t any OTHER WAY to see this content. So if you want to give a demo of your snazzy VR device with a new Hunger Games app, that’s cool. We know you can’t make that accessible to everyone in the world. That’s A NICE EXTRA. WHY COULDN’T YOU LEAVE IT AT THAT????

Doing a trailer exclusive like this again – for the FINAL TRAILER is just unnecessary and mean. The response from the fandom last year was clear. Don’t create that ill will again, the week tickets go on sale!  There’s only 2 months left to go. We want happiness in the fandom, not angst. Why knowingly create it?

There’s a lot of question marks in this post, but we still feel like there aren’t enough.

JJ

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The Return of Samsung

On Saturday, we posted about how quiet things have been in terms of Mockingjay Part 2 sponsors, and we weren’t exactly complaining about it. But the next day, the silence was broken with this Samsung ad that aired twice during the MTV VMAs.

We agree with our friends at QQ. We’re not feeling it. We’re more or less thinking WTF?

We’re not surprised that Samsung is back as a sponsor this year. And we’re ok with it. We figure they deserve a shot to make up for the really awful way they bungled the Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer release with their “COME SEE THE TEASER FIRST ON OUR TABLETS AT BEST BUY” promotion. So sure, come back, and put together that’s something actually awesome for fans. We’re ready to hug and make up.

But we don’t think this ad is a very good start. We *think* that they’re being tongue in cheek with the voiceover talking about all the craziness of the VMAs and then inviting people to relax and watch the pretty explosions (hi-def!) of war on their snazzy tablet. To “enjoy your last moment of peace [watching Mockingjay Part 2 footage] before the VMAs insanity begins again.”

We have a sense of humor. And, as we said we *think* the intention here was to be tongue in cheek about things. But it doesn’t really work and rubs us the wrong way. Maybe it’s the tone of the voiceover guy’s voice. Maybe it was how they glorified the crazy awesomeness of the VMAs at the expense of our beloved final movie and its serious themes. Maybe we’re overly sensitive about things.

At least since the spot was VMA-specific, they won’t be repeating it again.

Try again, Samsung.

JJ

Fandom– Recognize

credit to - turntherightcorner.com

credit to – turntherightcorner.com

San Diego Comic Con 2014 is in full swing, and the Internet is a buzz with all things Benedict Cumberbatch, Marvel, Hobbit-y, Game of Thrones-y and oh yeah– Lionsgate-y. I’m one of the sad few who is not attending the convention, and frankly will probably never attend, because crowds of that magnitude give me the heebie-jeebies, and trust me when I say this– you don’t want to be around me when I have the heebie-jeebies. Anywho, Comic-Con is a place of fandom-wide fun and excitement, and just all out nerd-gasmic heaven.

Y’all like cupcakes, right? I betcha do! Why not, they’re delicious, and fluffy, and if they’re made right they are moist (not in the naughty way), and light, and put a smile on your face with their fondant, and they’re butter cream goodness. Lionsgate apparently likes cupcakes too, or baked goods if we’re speaking in broad terms. I know this because this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, part of the fun and festivities are baked goods, including cupcakes. That’s right folks, they have a sleek-looking, Capitol-esque bakery set up on display for the burgeoning public to ooh and ah over. This is awesome for all intents and purposes, ’cause everyone and their glutton tolerant aunt likes some free baked goods every now and again. The only fly in the ointment of this sweet, little gesture is the slightly glaring fact that who ever, or whatever marketing firm chose the designs for some of these goods, well– stole them.

That’s right folks, I just used the S word, and it’s not the shit kind. Nope, I call foul on who ever, or whatever person, or group of people who decided stealing other people’s ideas is an acceptable business practice!

Crystal Watanabe has been a staple in this fandom for years, she’s involved more than a random fan as well– and on top of that she’s got more than a life outside of her endeavors involving The Hunger Games. Crystal used to pretty much run Mockingjay.net, now she’s the founder, and head at Jabberjays.net. Crystal is a master at bento, as well as artisan baking. Which brings me to the previously used S word. Crystal’s designs for two Effie Trinket themed cupcakes are being used without her permission right now at one of the biggest entertainment themed conventions in the world, and all of this is going down without what’s probably most important— credit where credit is due.

I’m just going to say it, but this is not cool! I know that the big guys on top of the money-making machines that supposedly dictate our lives, wholly believe that taking a “little persons” ideas and shilling them as their own, is acceptable. But damn it all to hell– it’s not! I know they’re just cupcakes, but even cupcake designs are things that deserve to be credited to the originator, the designer– who in this case is Crystal Watanabe.

So Hunger Games fandom, if you think it’s cool to steal other people’s ideas– by all means eat up. But if you don’t– say something, that’s what the Internet is for– other than porn of course. This credit issue could be easily remedied with a simple piece of card stock going up on display in that bakery set up. Simple, concise and easy, because this is potential revenue lost to an artist.

Effie Trinket cupcakes designed by Crystal Watanabe of Fictionalfood.net.

Them There Eyes

Making Brand Partnership Fan-Friendly (And How To Screw It Up)

Yesterday at Comic Con, I was following the tweets coming out of the Community panel.  Community is a smart, irreverent tv comedy set at a community college (with very questionable academic credentials). The clever writing and pop culture in-jokes meant it attracted only a niche audience. It’s never had high ratings, but has a very engaged, social-media savvy viewership.  With low ratings, every season the show has been threatened with cancellation. And this year, it actually was cancelled by NBC, only to be later (and kind of miraculously) picked up for another season by Yahoo Screen.

The guy in the blue shirt, that's Subway

The guy in the blue shirt, that’s Subway

To help keep the show running for five seasons despite the low ratings, the show engaged in some very overt product placement with Subway. Subway featured heavily in an episode in Season Three where the story had A MAN AGREEING TO LEGALLY CHANGE HIS NAME TO SUBWAY to “collectively show the humanity of business owners” and win over the public.  It was a hilarious episode, that made fun of corporate sponsorship and big companies hurting the little guy while itself being hugely overt product placement. The humor was still very much in line with what Community was known for, so it was a great fit. In season five, Subway again featured in the story (as the villain) as they buy the college in an attempt to turn it into a “Sandwich University.”

Now, fans could have been unhappy about Community “selling out” but they actually embraced this move and actively supported the business. Subway has done a lot of placements with television shows, and they’ve been really smart about it. With Community, Subway entered into the agreement understanding the show, who the fans were, and were happy to play along and be in on the joke.  And because Community was struggling with lower ratings, the fans appreciated the advertising support from the company to keep the show on the air.

In "questionable taste" but it didn't keep fans from enjoying the film or promotion of the film

In “questionable taste” but it didn’t keep fans from enjoying the film or promotion of the film

As Hunger Games fans, we’re familiar with Subway’s partnership last year during Catching Fire. Tying in a restaurant chain with the Hunger Games is a tough fit, but awkward as it was, I gave it a pass. Yes, it was silly to see commercials with Katniss & Peeta on the flaming chariot with Subway talking about fiery sriracha sandwiches, but they did at least try to tie in some charitable efforts to help with hunger. That helped. It was still odd, but I understand the modern movie marketing need to have some of these type of deals. If you wanted to go to Subway, see the Katniss standee and ask for a Peeta cup, you could.

Now we move on to the first major “partnership” for Mockingjay Part 1 with Samsung. A week ago, it was announced that Samsung would be launching an app on their most expensive phones and tablets with exclusive Mockingjay content. Which is lame if you don’t have the most expensive Samsung phones and tablets, but that part, again, didn’t get me too heated because once the app is in the hands of millions of people, everything will end up on the internet about a minute after they are released. Have your silly exclusive on a couple stills for that one minute, Samsung. You’re creating a block in distribution, but fans can subvert that easily enough.

What fans really do care about are the big, meaty, content releases, like trailer releases. So the offensive aspect of this partnership was how it affected the long awaited trailer release. We all pretty much assumed the trailer would release at Comic Con, though we were hoping it would be a repeat of last year. With a fabulous Hall H panel and the debuting of the trailer on a huge screen for maximum impact. Seems Hall H was not to be this year, so instead Lionsgate chose to sell Samsung  the trailer to display on their tablets at either their very Capitol-stylized Hard Rock Hotel near SDCC or over the weekend at their “store within a store” Samsung Galaxy Experience areas at select Best Buys. So for about 3 days, Samsung is holding on to this trailer and keeping it from most fans.

Yes, Samsung decided that with this co-branding they would force people to go and touch/use their products to see the trailer.  Samsung could still have gotten advertising exposure for an online trailer debut (and maybe they still will) with a Samsung Galaxy ad before the trailer, or a logo skin around the media player for the release on Lionsgate’s featured online distribution method. They could have done that, and not pissed off the vast majority of fans. Yet, they decided to disrupt the online trailer release and create a whole Capitol-esque privileged class of those with the means to buy into their system and see it early versus those in the Districts who either don’t have one of those fancy Best Buys near them in America or the rest of the world. Or they could be like me and just really not want to experience the trailer release on a tablet with some Samsung/Best Buy employee breathing over their shoulder. That is not the “Samsung Experience” I want.

The huge box office for the Hunger Games films proves that the movies don’t need these sponsorship deals to be financially viable. This fact also explains the fan anger towards Samsung, while Community fans embraced Subway. Subway’s support of Community helped fans keep the show they loved on air and alternatively Samsung has CREATED A BARRIER to the thing we love. And I don’t care how cute you think Peeta’s bakery looked in those pictures at SDCC. I’m sure you would rather have seen the trailer today.

Unfortunately for us, Lionsgate has now discovered this new way of making even more money out of the Hunger Games franchise, so I fear a repeat of this scenario again. Maybe they’ll go with a different brand next time and have some other hoops you have to jump through for the trailer, but I’m sadly doubting it will be the fan-friendly-online-for-everyone-at-once release next year. The money’s too tempting, and they’re betting fans will forgive yet again.

Other people may be more forgiving than me. The trailer will be online Monday, and maybe its awesomeness will help us forget about the weekend before. For me, I know I won’t be buying anything with Samsung on it for a long time.

Let’s hope the other Mockingjay partnerships can actually enhance the fan experience.

JJ

Social Sentiment and the Samsung Mockingjay Deal

As we start the WEEK OF THE MOCKINGJAY TRAILER RELEASE, many questions remain:

Is it a full trailer, or another one of the propaganda videos?

When can I watch it on my Samsung Galaxy Amazing Awesomeness Tablet/Phone?

When is it actually going to be released online?

Well, none of these questions have been officially answered yet, but there are a few good leads.

While Lionsgate in their press release called it a teaser trailer, it seems likely this will be a longer 2 min+ trailer. They may just call it a teaser since it is the first official trailer to come out. (The other two being viral videos, or rather Presidential Addresses)

You can download the ultra-special awesome Samsung app starting on the 28th, so if you were expecting to bypass the trip to the fantabulous wonderland that is a Samsung Experience Best Buy stores over the weekend to see the trailer, I’m afraid not.

While there is no news from Lionsgate, the Russian distributor has said the trailer will be available online at 12am ET Monday July 28 (9pm PT Sunday July 27).

So, as per usual, we’re not left with much of anything concrete yet, other than it’s the T-word. I guess that’s the thing we have wanted for so long, so we should be EXCITED. YEAH. TRAILER IS COMING IN LESS THAN A WEEK ONLINE. WE THINK. PROBABLY.

Good times at SDCC 2013

Good times at SDCC 2013

But given this weird distribution strategy of a weekend Best Buy store exclusive, it’s certainly put a damper on the whole thing. I’ve been wondering if it’s just me and the fans that I know who have been bummed out by it. Are we being too emotional about it? When going through comments and posts, I’ve seen A LOT of negativity, interspersed with Samsung owners who are happy (granted they are usually happy because they mistakenly think they will be able to see the trailer first via their device from anywhere).

Then you have the non-fans or casual viewers who pop their heads in to say that we’re being stupid, BECAUSE IT WILL BE ONLINE EVENTUALLY DUH, and to STOP COMPLAINING. I’ve been able to control myself and not respond to such people, but wow are those non-fan/casual-viewer comments infuriating.

We all have things that we love, interests that we follow closely. For some people it’s a sport/sports team or some other kind of hobby. For others, it’s books and movies. And we love THE HUNGER GAMES books and movies. Last year’s SDCC event was a great day in the fandom. We mistakenly believed that we would get a repeat of that day for Mockingjay Part 1. I’m not saying there won’t be good things to come out of SDCC for fans. I mean, there’s a TRAILER that those casual viewers keep reminding us we can see EVENTUALLY. And usually studios will release posters or other things as well, which I really hope Lionsgate does. But without a Hall H panel or concurrent trailer release, it seems that it will be much more muted than last year, and I think a lot of us are realizing that we better keep our expectations in check.

There’s always next year, right?

JJ

Product This

Awhile back, like a couple of years ago– I wrote about the prospect of The Hunger Games utilizing the tried and truth money-making method of product placement. However, now that a few major companies have made brief, and lasting partnerships with the franchise (Cover Girl, Subway) I’m struck with the thought again of “what if?” In the case of the most recent news of Lionsgate having sold the trailer debut of the first Mockingjay film to Samsung, I’m struck even harder with “what if?” But now it’s pulsing, and loud, and um… annoying.

What if Samsung are the makers of all those futuristic projection televisions we’ve seen in the last two Hunger Games films. Or worse, what if in Mockingjay: Part Two the Holo that Boggs carries around in the field is made by Samsung as well? What if for some ridiculous reason Lionsgate decides that in the last installments of the series to throw integrity aside, and forget that the companies of our world no longer exist, and have no place in the world of Panem. But alas they start

I totes want an Audi now

I totes want an Audi now

throwing in familiar, contemporary logos and symbols left and right, like a Spielberg or Robert Zemeckis film. Granted those directors were more tasteful than gratuitous with their usage of product placement, dare I say it– they perfected it, but things could change. They could do close ups on Snow’s white, blue veined hand reaching out and clicking a button on his projection television, and the Samsung logo is clear and prominent, like Audi in iRobot, or Omega in Casino Royale, or Ducati in Tron: Legacy– or the worst offender of them all, almost every frame in Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Speculation you will be the death of us!? Damn… I want a Coke.

Them There Eyes

Selling the Mockingjay Trailer Release

News came out today that Mockingjay Part 1 would indeed have a presence at San Diego Comic Con. Yay! That’s awesome and great. And expected, since Lionsgate has been saying all along they would be at Comic Con since January. But now we know some of the stars will be there, which is great news for fans who long ago bought tickets thinking that Mockingjay would have a presence at the Con.

But then came the news of the Samsung partnership with Mockingjay Part 1, and how this would affect the LONG AWAITED Mockingjay trailer release.

In a first-of-its-kind experience, fans will have the opportunity to preview the highly-anticipated The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer on the Galaxy Tab S at an exclusive premiere in San Diego during Comic-Con on Friday, July 25. For those outside San Diego, beginning Saturday, July 26, fans can visit participating Samsung Experience Shops within Best Buy locations nationwide throughout the weekend to preview the trailer.

 

So basically, the trailer will debut at SDCC ONLY on July 25. Then over the weekend you can watch the trailer IF YOU GO TO A BEST BUY STORE. If you’re an international fan, you’re out of luck until next week, when the trailer presumably goes online.

COIN PLUTARCH COMMENT

But don’t fear, fans without SDCC tickets or a Best Buy nearby, I’m sure there will be plenty of low quality versions of the trailer recorded on people’s MOBILE DEVICES that will be uploaded on the internet. It’ll be everywhere. Even if you want to avoid it, there inevitably will be screenshots all over social media that weekend.

To say I’m disappointed in this rollout plan would be a gross understatement. The thing I love about trailer releases is to share the experience online with fans around the world. Last year’s online release of the Catching Fire along with SDCC was such a fun event for fans everywhere. This staggered release RUINS the opportunity to make the release a big worldwide experience. To think that fans are going to ignore the LQ versions that will pop up to wait for Lionsgate to post on YouTube is preposterous. We had evidence of that a few weeks ago when the first teaser leaked. It will not work.

The people that really want to see your movie trailer ASAP are your hardcore fans. So a trailer release should be focused around THE FANS and how you can make that experience special. Instead, the rights to the trailer release were sold to Samsung. We certainly don’t question Lionsgate’s right to money off this movie. That’s why they’re in business and we’re very glad they’ve made these movies! But they really should keep in mind who their customers are. The customers who will see the movie several times, buy the merch, and give the movie buzz care THE MOST about trailer releases! Please stop destroying the experiences that they value and have waited for desperately for a few extra bucks.

And so what should be happy news (A TRAILER IS COMING. FINALLY. YES.) is tinged with sadness.

 JJ