Category Archives: movies

Atlas Shrugged The Movie – John Galt Goes Spartacus

The target audience for the new Atlas Shrugged movie, doing their own advertising for it. (Photographed in Santa Ana, California, April 15, 2010.)

Here’s a challenge for marketers: How do you promote a low-budget independent movie without any stars? A film based on a verbose 1,000-plus-page novel about a philosophy called “Objectivism.” Got a campaign yet?

(Hint: social media, of course!)

Atlas Shrugged, Part 1” arrives in theaters on April 15 —“tax day” in the U.S., the traditional deadline for filing income tax returns. Coincidence? (Sure, just like the sudden omnipresence of Highway Patrol issuing a lot of piddly traffic tickets in a futile effort to bail California out of debt. But that’s another story.)

Before we get to the marketing of the movie, a little background about the book.

Communism vs. Capitalism

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s magnum opus. The author lived through the communist revolution in Russia and came to America because its capitalist free-market system represented her ideal of a free society. As the book jacket summarizes, Atlas is the story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world—and did. But that doesn’t quite explain the story’s relevance today. Continue reading

Does this mean Zuckerberg is a Republican?

Could mean Republican or Communist. Or maybe he’s just a Sammy Hagar fan. That or Carrot Top. 

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A Night With Ray, Hef and Buzz: The Fahrenheit 451 Screening

Ray Bradbury celebrates his birthday with a little help from his friend, Hugh Hefner.

It’s not every day you see Mr. Playboy, the real-life Buzz Lightyear, and the greatest living science fiction author together in the same room.

It’s Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles, because one day just wouldn’t be enough to celebrate such a prolific author. A resolution by the city council made it official, thanks to the efforts of novelist and screenwriter Steven Paul Leiva, who organized the week’s festivities.

I was fortunate enough to attend a special screening of the 1966 film by Francois Truffaut of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which also featured a conversation with Ray and Hugh Hefner, moderated by Geoff Boucher of the L.A. Times Hero Complex blog.

A year ago, when Bradbury was about to turn 89, Leiva wrote a column called “Searching For Ray Bradbury” that became the spark that lit the fire for celebrating Bradbury’s 90th in a fashion befitting the author’s stature.

Chatting onstage before the film, Hef recounted when Playboy magazine was just starting out how he contacted Bradbury about publishing Fahrenheit 451 in serial form. Continue reading

The “Inception” Ad Deception

Inception: The Dream Is Real. So is the marketing.

Inception” is a powerful, original film filled with deceptions. Both the special-effects kind and the plot-driven mental kind. There are also larger themes running through it. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry. No plot points will be revealed.

This is Not Another Review

Critics were sworn to silence before it opened. If you still care what critics are saying after a “dreamy” $62.8 million opening weekend and a cumulative $143 million for the first 10 days, a collection of choice review excerpts can be found at the WSJ Speakeasy blog.

As a fan of both film and advertising (see 101 Ad-Movies in 99 Years), I want to highlight some of the ads and how well they tied in with the story themes. The multichannel marketing campaign consisted of traditional TV spots along with Facebook fan pages with social games, mobile apps, and an online comic book to create fanboy engagement and spur strong word of mouth. Continue reading

When Advertising Becomes Propaganda

Patriotic WWII poster "You talk of sacrifice..." While some propaganda depicts war as a romantic adventure, this one is starkly unglamorous.

Memorial Day commemorates sacrifice.

Originally called Decoration Day, it’s a day to remember the sacrifice of soldiers who died in the service of their country. It was first observed at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868 with flowers placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers.

Memorial Day might seem outside the purview of a blog like Love Hate Advertising, which tends to focus on frivolous things like ad movies, music marketing, beauty salon signage and beer commercials (love ’em or hate ’em), not meaningful issues like life and death or war. But even nations at war conduct ad campaigns. That’s when advertising morphs into propaganda.

Continue reading

RIP Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper, Reluctant Ad Pitchmen

A tale of two celebrity spokesmen.

Gary Coleman for CashCall: “No one else would lend me money, not even my relatives.” Funny or sad?

Some people think stars die in threes. If so, it’s often tough to figure out when to start and stop counting. Not this time.

The demise on consecutive days of Gary Coleman, 42, and Dennis Hopper, 74, has left many people expecting a third celebrity death is imminent. The two actors became stars at early ages, then ad pitchmen later in life.

Dennis Hopper looks up 'retirement' in a spot for Ameriprise. Would you take financial advice from an aging alcoholic anarchist?

Coincidentally, in their roles as celebrity endorsers both offered financial advice. But whether either star was effective as a corporate spokesperson is debatable.

Continue reading

How an underground video goes mainstream: Winnebago Man

Winnebago Man: He works with swear words the way some men work with oil.

It began as a bad day on a corporate video shoot in 1988.

Now it’s going to be a major motion picture in 2010.

Winnebago Man is coming out from the underground. Actually, down from the mountain top.

Boing Boing recently premiered the trailer for a new documentary film about the most famous man no one knows: Jack Rebney, better known as Winnebago Man, aka the angriest man in the world. Continue reading

The Happiest Signs on Earth

The mane event.

Mock advertising for your amusement.

After writing about advertising-related movies recently, it’s only fair to touch on movie-related advertising. And since our theme here is “Love Hate Advertising,” there are few things that inspire more of all three than Disneyland.

Disney is in the details.

No matter how many times you’ve been to Disneyland, there’s always something new to see. From the architectural details, to the rotating casts of roving entertainers, to the “hidden Mickeys,” the park pays great attention to details. Continue reading

101 Ad Movies in 99 Years



When did advertising become glamorous?

Hollywood movies tell their stories using heroic archetypes common to myths and legends of nearly all cultures. (See Joseph Campbell’s seminal book, “Hero of a Thousand Faces“.)

Cinematic protagonists get cast in a variety of stock professions, depending on the tale. Many other careers would appear more heroic and noble, yet advertising is a recurring choice of day job for silver screen heroes. Perhaps because, as one film’s tag line puts it, advertising is “the world’s second oldest profession.” Here then, is a fond look back at Hollywood’s long love affair with advertising. Continue reading