8 of the Worst Movie Marketing Campaigns

Ever since the release of big movies, one of the main goals was get people in seats. Back in the old days posters were all you needed. Then trailers came along with more posters following. Nowadays, marketing a movie goes beyond just posters and trailers. A studio can tie a movie in with practically any product it wants and makes us go through said tie-ins until the film’s released.

There are, however, differences between marketing campaigns that are good and campaigns that make us want to bash in our computer screens upon being shown yet another 30-second ad for a movie. We’ll cover the campaigns that are in the latter category today. Some are bad, some are overstuffed, and others had little to no clue. The eventual films-for the most part- turned out to be less than memorable.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice– When a movie trailer is received so badly and is so poorly edited that fans can almost figure out the exact plot of the movie, you’re going to end up on a list like this. Sure, it had plenty of other marketing. Although some of the sponsorship deals were better than others I was sick of seeing ads by the time the film finally hit theaters.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm– We move from an extensive marketing campaign to almost no marketing whatsoever. That’s right, one of the best Batman movies ever made got a marketing campaign akin to an Asylum production. Luckily, the film was popular enough that Warner upped its marketing campaign for every DC animated film afterwards.

The Iron Giant– Sticking with movies that had almost no marketing, Brad Bird’s directorial debut comes to mind. People now view this film as a cult classic but all the studio viewed it as in 1999 was a box office bomb. That can be blamed almost solely on a lack of marketing. If you can’t even put together a decent trailer for an animated movie you may want to reconsider your job.

Ghostbusters (2016)– I think the majority of people have now determined this divisive film didn’t completely crash and burn. The same cannot be said for its marketing blitz, which boasts the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history, a collection of tie-ins that make very little sense, and a nostalgia-based approach that wore thin extremely quickly.

Crimson Peak/The Gallows– I’ll admit it, the ads on Youtube can drive me crazy, especially when I’m shown the same ad over and over again. This was the case with Crimson Peak, a horror film that probably no one remembers. Watching the same ad at least six times in a row was bad enough, but at least it inspired me to start watching horror trailers with the sound off. The Gallows proved to be another horror movie example, and it was actually worse according to reviews.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens– This is more of a case of over-marketing than bad marketing. In the months leading up to Episode VII‘s release Disney put the iconic brand name on everything, no matter how disconnected from the source material or downright stupid it was (and that was most of it). The movie didn’t need anymore hype than it already had and besides, who needs a shower head shaped like Yoda’s face?

The Amazing Spider-Man 2– If you’re in charge of a trailer editing company, when making trailers you shouldn’t have to allude to/make up stories not present in the film to make people go see it. I guess no one told that to the trailer editors for this movie. The worst part: the trailers gave away huge and rather obvious spoilers!

Drive– Does anyone remember the trailer to this movie? Its listed on a few lists as one of the most misleading trailers ever, as it turns a thinking movie into an action movie by editing alone. I suppose the rest of this marketing campaign did more to suggest otherwise because the film proved a huge critical success. Still, when a trailer misleads people that badly, it has to wind up on this list.



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