Sunday, April 26, 2009

Marvel Comics: whores to advertising

First of all, I want to start this post off by saying this: I absolutely love Marvel Comics. Nearly every single one of my favorite heroes is under this brand, save for two that were created by DC (Batman and Shazam!).
But I have an issue with them. Aside from their usually terrible film adaptations of their properties (Daredevil, Elektra, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand, etc.), Marvel's marketing department will stop at nothing to assure that anyone with a radio, television, or internet connection knows about their upcoming releases.
Take their partnership with Papa John's pizza, for instance. I'm sure you know that the new Wolverine movie comes out on May 1st, right? Well, Marvel released a pizza to promote it. Yeah, a pizza:

But seriously, what? Why would you release this heart-attack waiting to happen upon the world? A full pound of cheese? I wouldn't be able to shit for a month after this fucking thing. But something primal in me wants it; something deep, deep within me knows that a fraction of the $12 (plus tip) I spend on this pizza will go towards making the next Marvel film that much better. And that's how they get you, right there.
Aside from that, the Papa John's pizza homepage has a few other interesting Wolverine-related things on it, including a "microsite" with backgrounds, AIM icons (for the three people that still use AIM), and other needless shit. But my favorite part is the three mini "profiles" you can scroll through; of the three major characters from the movie and their favorite pizzas:

I wonder how many wannabe comic book nerds emailed the Papa John's webmaster claiming that Wolverine's real name isn't James Howlett, but Logan. And I also wonder if the dude designing it knew anything about comic books at all. Ho hum.
But apparently Wolverine's favorite pizza is "the works." I don't know how to take that, because "the works" is usually a term used to describe a car wash (at least, in my world).
If I was the guy that answered the phone when some tool used the term "the works" to specify the toppings that they would like on their pizza, I would personally tug one out right into the center of the pie. "How do you like the way this works, motherfucker?!"

Wow, Sabretooth's favorite pizza is "the meats?" They got really creative with this, didn't they? I can tell they put tons of thought into this. I'll bet they thought "Oh hey, he has sharp teeth and claws. That must make him a carnivore!" Yeah, Papa John's executives, a carnivore. Meaning he'll eat a half-dead DEER CARCASS THAT HE SLAUGHTERED HIMSELF, FUR AND ALL, not your shitty pizza. But hey, if you really were willing to do anything to promote this movie, I guess you'd probably make a pizza with deer carcass on it. So I guess we were saved in that sense.

Why the fuck would Gambit like the "garden fresh" pizza? Last time I checked, he's from Louisiana (New Orleans, to be precise). He'd probably like shrimp and something with the word "cajun" or "gumbo" in it on his pizza, not some faggoty "garden fresh" bullshit. C'mon Papa John's! Stereotype Gambit like you stereotyped Sabertooth!
And did they have to choose a picture where Taylor Kitcsh looks like Sam Rockwell during the choking scene in Choke? Maybe it's the forehead veins.

But this isn't the only time Marvel Comics has done something ridiculous while promoting a movie of theirs. Oh no. There have been numerous times where I personally have slapped my own forehead in disdain for the sake of nerds everywhere. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present: 5) Spider-Man 3: Printed Pringles
This was one of those symbiotic relationships in the advertising world. Marvel wanted to promote Spider-Man 3, and Pringles wanted to promote their new line of chips with printed shit on them. Thing is, that's gross. And the questions were stupid as hell. The one in the above picture reads:

Q: Which villain does Eddie Brock become?
A: Venom, you fucking retarded piece of shit. I'm surprised you can read, seeing as you had such a hard time with such a difficult fucking trivia question like this.

I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
Point is, the intelligence qualifications for answering these questions fall between the realms of "having a functioning brain stem" and "being able to breathe and blink at the same time." Throw us some hardballs, Pringles! Ask me what Electro's real name is (Maxwell Dillon)! Ask me which superhero is a clone of Peter Parker (Scarlet Spider/Ben Reilly)!
Is it too much to ask to get your marketing team to throw a few questions together after surfing Wikipedia for ten minutes?

4) Iron Man: Slurpee helmet Looking at the above photo, you'd think that 7-11 exclusive Iron Man head-shaped Slurpee cup is pretty neat, right? But looking at it in comparison to the other, not as cool exclusive cups around it, you'd probably wonder why the fuck it's so small. Yeah, a lot of people did that.
But a few weeks after these were released, the helmet/cups started selling on eBay for around $60 apiece (plus shipping). 7-11 stores couldn't keep this shit in stock, since the markup on them on the interwebs was somewhere around 1500% more than the "suggested retail price" of $3.99 (plus tax).
I dunno, the helmet/cup idea seems a little lame to me. Even worse, they had four "collectible straws" with shoddy Iron Man toys glued to them. These were the type of "quality toys" you'd find in an overpriced vending machine outside an ethnic supermarket that a total of four people shop at. You know, the one that never changes the selection of what could minimally pass as a child's plaything? The one that still has toys from The Lion King, despite the fact that it came out in 1994? Yeah, imagine one of those stuck to a fluorescent crazy straw sticking out of Iron Man's armored skull.
Come to think of it, that's sort of awesome. Hm.

3) Hulk: Green Hershey's Syrup Ah, the infamous "green" era. During the theatrical run of the shitty Hulk movie in 2003, everything was green. From Twinkies to credit cards, Marvel had its first captain of the ship that sails the seas of whoring their products out so people will see a terrible movie.
But perhaps the most famous of these products was the green Hershey's Syrup that seemed to stay on shelves for a little longer than it should have. I seemed to see quite a few remaining bottles of this gathering dust at my local Wal-Mart long after Hulk had left theaters; probably because people don't really like to be reminded of giant green pectoral muscles and ripped purple pants while enjoying chocolate milk.

2) Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: The "Search 4 $ilver" In a stunt so fucking dumb it could have only been concieved by the mad scientists at the Franklin Mint (creators of this ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE "SNEAKY DRAGON" SCULPTURE), the above pictured quarter was to be made 40,000 times over and distributed througout the world. The first 400 people to go to the website oh-so-casually painted next to the Silver Surfer were entered into a contest to win a trip to London for the world premiere of the downright terrible second movie in the Fantastic Four film series.
Yes, that's right. You had a 1/40,000 chance of winning this prize. After you pass the threshold of 1/30,000, is there really any point in having something as gimmicky as this? Maybe if the prize was better, I would think differently. But until they release quarters with Megan Fox on them that enters me into a contest where I could potentially fuck her, I'm not interested.

1) X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Charles Barkley
Okay, I admit it, I sort of misled you all into thinking that this top five list was going to have only previously released movies. Well, I only half-lied, since Wolverine has been seen by an estimated 2 million people already.
Anyways, take a look at this commercial that is currently playing during the NBA playoffs on TNT:

Yeah, that shit just happened. Charles fucking Barkley, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, just sprouted adamantium claws (after a Twinkie-related fat joke was made, no less). I watched this, mouth agape, and had to rewind it and watch it again. And again. And again. Kenny Smith's expression makes me want to kick an old woman in the tit while sodomizing an otter with a lima bean.

Bottom line: I hate advertising. So much.


Ashley said...

I bought those goddamned Spider-man pringles just 'cause the premise of them made me gross out a little. They tasted weird.

It seems like their marketing ploys that are most heinous usually coincide with the shitstorm of fail that the movie they're advertising brings.

Who knows what'll happen now? I mean really, JJJ is the mayor of the 616 New York, Norman Osborn is a respected authorative figure and is posing as an IRON MAN/CAPTAIN AMERICA HYBRID, Harry Osborn's girlfriend ended up being a shapeshifting goblin with more balls than he, Blank Panther is/was a chick, etc. Absolute insanity. I cannot think of much more nonsensical shit happening, I mean...unless they make a movie based on the convulted mess of their comicsverse right now. I love Marvel, but sometimes it's hard.

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