Does The Purge marketing campaign have the potential to go horribly wrong?

I have a degree in advertising and marketing. It’s what I thought I wanted to do when I was in college. It’s ultimately not where I ended up, but I do use some of the skills I learned in my current career and I still find myself analyzing the efficiency of ad campaigns. The Super Bowl is my Christmas. Football and potentially fantastic advertising? Count me in! I just don’t know when I’ll find time to take a pee. Furthermore, as a cinephile, the ad and marketing campaigns executed by movie studios fascinate me.

One morning last week, I was making my normal 6-mile trip to my office. I was stopped at a red light when a billboard for the upcoming film The Purge caught my eye. Maybe you’ve seen them as well:

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For those of you not up on the hype, the synopsis of this film is the government sponsorship of the ceasing of all emergency services and legalizing of everything for a 12-hour period. Essentially, it’s a survival of the fittest flick. Darwinist horror, if you will.

The billboards are insanely clever in context of the plot line and other marketing strategies they’re employing, but they’re also a bit concerning for me. There is very little on the board that signifies that it’s for a movie. The MPAA rating in bottom left corner (it’s rated R, as you would expect) and the studio/production company logos along the bottom are the only things I saw that did. From my perspective that morning, these weren’t even visible. If we have to warn people that hot coffee is hot and tell them not to iron their shirt while they’re wearing it, perhaps there’s a handful of people who don’t follow the film industry that won’t understand these billboards are for a movie.

June 7th could get interesting.

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