Show Biz Archive
"Love & Marriage... go together like a horse and carriage".
For those married, divorced, in a serious relationship or scared to death of settling down, just about everyone can relate to the "challenge" and delicate balance between "love and life".
This also extends far beyond everyone's happy home; sometimes even on the big screen. We've compiled a bunch films about Madison Avenue, each of which was positioned and marketed in several different ways, depending on the audiences the front office tried to lure into theaters.
Culture Editor Kurt Brokaw's original review of the film is also included in a few, so after you've checked out all the promo posters, decide for yourself if they realistically depict (or even come close to) Kurt's original take on the film.
As we approach the Summer blockbuster marketing campaigns and films, we investigate this sometimes passionate balance (or passionate disagreement) between film-makers vs. film-marketers. One can only imagine the "debates" between the two, on-and-off the set!
As the song goes, "you can't have one without the other"...
1976: "Network" had the audacity to suggest in the 70s what is happening at the network level today - the disappearance of the wall between entertainment and news. The Manhattan-based United Broadcasting System (UBS) is plagued with low ratings, and so top management puts the whole news division under the control of the Communications Corporation of America, the entertainment division.
By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor
1959: Of the many successful movie pairings of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, this is the one that looks at Madison Avenue as a screwball comedy. The plot is quite clever. Doris is the AE in charge of new business pitches. She notices that Rock, her counterpart down the street, keeps winning new accounts through booze and babes.
By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor
1979: One actor who can lay claim to giving the most realistic portrayal of a Madison Avenue adman is Dustin Hoffman. His best Actor Oscar as Ted Kramer is richly deserved. Hoffman and writer/director Robert Benton's carefully nuanced script (two Oscars for Benton) establish his character in swift strokes.
The picture opens on "one of the four best days of my life," as Ted wins the Mid-Atlantic Airline account. It's the day Ted's wife (Meryl Streep, Best Actress Oscar) walks out on him, leaving him to care for their six-year-old son, a boy he barely knows. Ted's been the classic absent dad, but now he has to learn the basics of parenting. These sequences, his wife's return and decision to reclaim their son, the ensuing court battle, and Ted's loss of his agency job, form the core of "Kramer," which was also voted 1979's Best Picture Oscar.
"Want to know what gets between me and my Calvin's? Nothing."
"Want to know what gets between consumers and movie theatre advertising? Nothing."
(Strategically Placed Advertising Movie-Theatre Operators)
Everyone now knows how Brooke was misunderstood and manipulated by the media years ago when they suggested that she referenced anything other than her CK undergarments and socks in her innocent statement above.
Similarly, the media now twists the popularity of SPAM at the movies, making it seem like movie-goers don't like it. The truth is they do. What's really at play here is the media's desire to continually twist and distort the taste, honesty and artistry of Mr. Calvin Klein.
"It's about honesty rather than fake glamor," Calvin said in a statement to Advertising Age back in 1996. The publication also reported that "underwear ads may appear on the back of movie theater popcorn bags... since Mr. Klein has decided lifestyle marketing means reaching his target wherever they are found".
See the August 19, 1996 Ad Age article: REAL PEOPLE SUIT CALVIN KLEIN IN CK BE, JEANS AND BOXER ADS; DESIGNER SAYS 'HONESTY' IS THE GOAL FOR HIS NEW CAMPAIGNS (subscription required).
Back then, Calvin Klein broke new ground by promoting his new "CK BE" fashion line on popcorn bags in movie theatres. His desire to place underwear ads on the back of movie theater popcorn bags was then and is now, all about "Honesty".
Strategically Placed Advertising at the Movies Operators of America
As big fans of Mr. Klein and his tasteful, honest and historical record of using patriotic imagery in all his advertising, SPAM Operators saw the positive impact that "theatre-mercials" had in their intimate venues. Recently, they undertook a huge research study to prove how SPAM does not detract from the movie-going experience. It's just the opposite. It enhances it.
THE "COMING ATTRACTIONS" STUDY
HOLLYWOOD - February 11 - The Motion Picture Affiliated Alliance of America and the Madison Media Research Institute (www.mmri.org.uk) today announced the findings of a new consumer research poll titled, "The Coming Attractions Study".
Referred to as "Coming Attractions", the poll details specific questions most movie-going consumers personally ask themselves as they decide what film to see at the theatre. It's the first-ever research study of its kind. The MPAA and MMRI believe its value extends far beyond the local movie theatre, based on its unique approach to focus only on a consumers' questions. The study states that "by focusing on the questions, the answers will reveal themselves".
"Coming Attractions" maps a consumer's mental and analytical decision-tree question process (vs. the answers) from "What do I want to do tonight" all the way through to "The End" and beyond.
By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor
Look at the album cover above. It's probably not as familiar to you as, say, the silhouetted images of Bono and The Edge and other members of U2 swirling around in the award-winning Apple iPod commercials out of TBWA/Chiat/Day. Or the soft, inviting lyrics of The Cure's "Pictures of You" underscoring the "You + HP" campaign and the award-winning Apple IPod spot featuring U2 campaign from Goodby, Silverstein, also a 2004 AICP award winner. But back in 1967, "The Who Sell Out" was a trailblazer.
On the LP cover, that's skinny young Pete Townshend applying Odorono, which actually was one of the first underarm deodorants targeted to women. Its name on the shelf was Odo-ro-no. Next to Pete splashing around in the Heinz baked beans is, of course, Roger Daltry. Perhaps Teresa Heinz Kerry's husband would have snared more of the popular vote if he had used more of a popular image like this in his campaign. These cover photos (as well as two on the back cover of the late John Entwhistle and the late Keith Moon, shilling Medac acne remover and Charles Atlas musclebuilding courses) were taken by David Montgomery.
By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor
1969: At the time he wrote and directed "Putney Swope," Robert Downey's father was 32, a well-regarded indy filmmaker. Thus this is a young white director's satiric take on how blacks see themselves both in the corporate world as well as in tv commercials.
Downey is not Melvin van Peebles, who would have brought a much edgier and angrier perspective. Putney is the token black in a major Madison Avenue shop. Overnight he becomes Chairman of the Board, dismantles the white structure, hires a black staff sporting long dashikis and big Afros, and renames the agency Truth & soul.
On the occasion of last night's new season "The Apprentice" premier, we found ourselves thinking of a story one of our editor's shared with us about his experience with Donald Trump. Whether you like 'em or not, Mr. Donald Trump is memorable. Here's an interesting account of seeing Trump from the inside, long before he transformed himself from real-estate tycoon to successful Primetime TV entertainment icon.
By Kurt Brokaw
1947: Based on Frederick Wakeman's revealing and generally accurate novel, this mainstream Holly wood drama contains a defining portrait of a lost Madison Avenue veteran--the copy/contact man. It was common during the industry's development - from 1900 through much of the 60s - or account people serving business-to-business and industrial accounts, as well as some package goods marketers, to position, write and present their own work, often slipping layout descriptions or "thumbnails" under the door of the subservient art director.
By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor ...with additions from the peanut gallery.
1996: Tom Cruise’s title character has its true-life origins in a sports agent named Leigh Steinburg, who persuaded many A-level sports stars to give generously to good causes. This is important to note, for “Jerry Maguire” the movie, with its layers and layers of goodwill, zest and sincerity, wants you to believe it’s a true-life dramatization of the world of sports marketing.
The film’s McGuffin (in Hitchcockian terms) is Jerry’s Mission Statement on fair play, integrity, loyalty and 20 other nice things that would make a motivational movie itself. It’s the exact reverse of Michael Douglas’ “greed is good” speech in the movie “Wall Street” a decade earlier. Douglas got applauded for his efforts, but Cruise gets fired. Only his lowly accountant (Renee Zellweger) and one low-level contract player (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) stick with Jerry, and the rest of the film is a struggle for these underdogs to stage comebacks and win big. You know Cameron Crowe, a good and trustworthy soul, wouldn’t write and direct it any other way.