When Viral Marketing Goes Wrong: Nazi Propaganda for Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds
It isn’t news that Tarantino is becoming increasingly out of touch. The Grindhouse project he and Robert Rodriguez helmed was a disaster at the box office. Tarantino’s installment for the project, Death Proof, was an incoherent rambling mess of unlikable characters, inane dialogue, and racial stereotyping. His newest film, Inglourious Basterds, clocked in at two hours and forty minutes at Cannes Film Festivals, where it received mixed reviews (which I wrote about here). He didn’t learn from this, actually adding film to the theatrical release cut, which will be at least one minute longer than it was at Cannes. Now, he has unleashed a viral marketing ploy of questionable taste at best: a fake movie trailer for the film being screened at the climax of Inglourious Basterds. It’s the story of a noble, handsome young Nazi, who will become the hero of his country in the Nazi propaganda film, “Nation’s Pride.” It even mentions Goebbels. Are they so desperate to drum up publicity that they think that offending people with a Nazi viral ad is a good idea?
This may seem like another Tarantino assassination piece. I don’t intend it to be so– I actually thought the last trailer for Basterds was skillfully cut and made the film appear exciting. However, if the Weinstein Company believes a Nazi ad that shouts out Goebbels can help their company’s desperate financial problems (they need this film to be a hit– very very badly), they are sorely mistaken. Why did Apple even choose to go along with this… what kind of money could the Weinsteins have offered Apple? It’s not even an offensive advertisement. It’s the concept that offends me more than anything else. Movies about scalping Nazis? No problem. Pro-Nazi ad campaigns that have zero references to the Nazi-scalping film it’s trying to promote? It has very little upside, and a whoooooole lot of potential to confuse and/or make people mad. All it elicits from me is an eye roll– another misguided attempt by Tarantino to spread his own cinematic nerdiness into the national filmgoer’s subconscious. No one really cared about grindhouse horror films, no one really cared about double features, it’s questionable that people care now about a nearly-3-hour Dirty Dozen Nazi scalping epic, and certainly very few people are going to get amped for a film because of a Nazi movie trailer they saw online.
If that trailer makes you want to see Inglourious Basterds even more, feel free to leave comments below disagreeing with me. All it inspires in me is the sorrow and the pity.
~ by russellhainline on August 6, 2009.
Posted in The Thoughts of Russell Hainline
Tags: B.J. Novak, Brad Pitt, Cannes, Cannes Film Festival, Death Proof, Diane Kruger, Dirty Dozen, Eli Roth, Goebbels, Grindhouse, Inglorious Bastards, Inglorious Basterds, Inglourious Bastards, Inglourious Basterds, Nation's Pride, Nazi propaganda, Nazis, Quentin Tarantino, Samm Levine, The Sorrow and the Pity, The Weinstein Company, viral, viral ads, viral marketing