Parody at it’s finest.
So many animated films attempt to advertise using the parody tactic. What makes this especially easy with animated films are the ability to change the dialog that the characters are saying and the relative ease of creating new shots to benefit the parody trailer. Most animated films try this tactic, some succeed like Megamind’s “Vote for Megamind” ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NbvdGBohLs) or the Puss in Boots Old Spice Parody (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JsbSolUF5c). But then others were not so good, like Brave’s “Kilt” ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgsycWtxOkI), which I thought was just plain trying too hard. The one thing many of these particular ads have in common is they are typically just TV spots. And also typically they are TV spots that air later in the campaign, once the creative team has run out of ideas and begin to sink into parody mode or when they haven’t done a good enough or unique enough spot to submit for any award shows.
But, this past weekend I went to the movies to see Identity Thief and this trailer for Monster University played and I thought it was brilliant. Not only was it one of their launch trailers and not just another parody TV spot hoping people are still paying attention to the movie, but it was a perfectly executed trailer that fit seamlessly into what the movie is about.
Since we are already familiar with the main characters from the monster hit, Monsters Inc. this movie is not a hard sell, nor do you need to show a lot of the original characters to sell it. I mean, we already know they are going to be the focus of the movie. But what this movie does need is some cleaver advertising to reignite the Monsters Inc. flame and to introduce us into the new world that our characters are going to inhabit and this trailer does just that. The speech from the Dean lets us know that the University is there to make scariest monsters out of it’s graduates, without having to be scary in the slightest. Even using the most appropriately soothing and uplifting music throughout, thus making it truly feel like those ads made by Universities to show you why they are the best. Tradition. Diversity. Friendship. Excellence. The use of title cards that say what all of us want in our schools, followed by the humorous clips that pay off each card, which is what we want in out animated monster movie is perfectly executed. And the singing of the alma mater to end the trailer is the perfect cherry on top.
Although, something tells me there were bits of this trailer that they made specifically for the trailer itself, it seems like a lot of it was just used by the movie’s footage, cleverly rearranged to fit the trailer’s purpose. A very clever idea that executed flawlessly. It brought a smile to my face after I saw it in the theater. Well done. Just so damn clever!