The Spider-Man No way Home trailer broke several records. Becoming the most watched trailer in history- even more than the Avengers Endgame trailer. The trailer in itself was par for the course for any MCU movie’s first trailer. Nothing notable or exceptional…except for the fact that for the first time MCU Spider-Man is not in the shadow of Iron Man. Oh yeah and of course now that the multi-verse is canon in the Marvel movies, villains from other Spider-Man movies starring Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire show up.
So what’s there to learn from the trailer? More specifically, what’s there to learn from the trailer’s marketing?
SPIDER-MAN’S POPULARITY RIVALS THE AVENGERS’
To say that the Avengers are not popular would be an award winning understatement. Everyone and their mother and their mother’s brother’s Uber driver knows who the Avengers are… now. That wasn’t always the case. Owing to several business complications, Feige’s MCU couldn’t get the two most popular Marvel comics properties, the X-Men and Spider-Man – on board for many years. They had to make do with what they had and make no mistake they did a phenomenal job! A lot more non-comic book general audience members now know Iron Man these days than they did 20 years ago.
However Marvel and DC both have their faces. Now your personal preference may range from being a die-hard fan of Harley Quinn but Batman or Superman still remain the iconic face of DC content- be it comics, games, cartoons, movies etc… The same can be said of Spider-Man. He is a more relatable character than super soldiers or playboy billionaires. He is a teenager with a lot of regular issues like paying the rent (Yes he’ll pay it when you fix that damn door!) who was accidentally granted super powers.
Also, Spider-Man has a much more established history in the movies. The Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man movies were the first successful modern day Comic Book movies and established the foundation for all the others. General audiences may not know a lot about Captain America or Black Panther but they do know about Spider-Man.
MCU Spider-Man has had a polarizing reaction with many comic book lovers not happy with Tom Holland’s iteration of the character. His overdependence on Stark tech and his extra silly portrayal doesn’t go down well with many. However, the possibility of seeing Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield together with Holland has got everyone excited and the views on the trailer are proof of that.
NOSTALGIA USED WISELY
Sex may or may not sell these days, nostalgia definitely does. We have had many movies and shows trying to milk nostalgia for what it’s worth. Some (Stranger Things) work really well, some (Wonder Woman 1984) just don’t. However, even if the movie isn’t out yet, Marvel’s very idea of bringing together all the cinematic Spider-Men on screen a la’ the animated Into The Spider-verse was a brilliant move.
It’s not just nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake but there is an actual reason to have them back. Potentially it could give the younger MCU Spider-man two mentors to look up to and grow from. Coming to the trailer itself, it gives us glimpses of Spider-Man villains from previous movies like Green Goblin, Electro, Sand-Man etc.. and shows us a glimpse of Doc Ock (unarguably the best villain from the Raimi movies) at the very end. It keeps it fresh for the new audiences with Holland’s silliness and Dr. Strange. But then adds that nice bit of nostalgic spice in the end. Here’s hoping that the movie maintains that kind of balance.
THE PERFECT TEASE
Zack Snyder’s Justice League had a immense hype of apocalyptic proportions behind it. What may have slightly ruined the experience for many fans was the overexposure in the trailers. It’s understandable why Snyder had to do that- to convince general audiences that this was a completely different movie from the 2017 studio released mess. However, for hardcore fans there were no surprise moments except maybe Lois’ prophesized death. Imagine for a second that you had no visual idea about the Flash time reversal or more importantly about the return of Jared Leto’s Joker.
What the NWH marketing has done so far is just simple yet brilliant. They knew they had a Spider-Man movie involving the multiverse on hand. That much was common news. The fans were begging Marvel/Disney/Sony to release the trailer in the same way Snyder fans had once pushed WB to Release the Snyder cut. The memes and jokes surrounding the NWH trailer were hilarious. Feige had famously answered the question about its release date by saying,
“It will definitely come out sometime before the movie.”
The secrecy and the well…lack of the trailer itself had built a lot of hype around the movie. Even if they had released two posters before the actual release, people would have still shown up in droves to watch it.
FUTURE OF TRAILERS
This is perhaps the most important lesson for any major IP driven movie’s marketing these days. For movies with built-in audiences, waiting the last possible moment to release the trailer should become a trend. Trailers should be like mini-skirts concealing more than they reveal. It doesn’t make sense to show everything when your target audience is already salivating.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if movies resorted to the anti-thesis of viral marketing in the near future. In this age of over-exposure, a teasing marketing campaign from a powerful IP like Marvel would actually be revolutionary. Imagine if NWH didn’t release any other trailer (One can only imagine. Obviously there’s gonna be another trailer). With a great IP comes the great responsibility of elevating the experience for the audiences. Let’s hope studios take up that responsibility well.
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