Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 

Toy Story 3’s Steady and Unlikely Trail of Promotion

Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Jun 18, 2010
Watch the commercials and decide if they help or hinder the film’s chances at the box office.

The last big animated hit at the box office was DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon, which has taken in over $400 million worldwide since it opened last March. A mixture of great reviews, happy early audiences, and a relentless merchandising campaign spearheaded by Wal-Mart turned the movie into a big success. However, this week, a new animated movie is seeking ticket sales, the highly anticipated Toy Story 3. Not surprisingly, its makers seem to be using the same strategy as Dragon’s backers did, in featuring the film in a couple of high-profile commercials. Whereas recent flop Shrek Forever After used the same cliched trailers and McDonalds promotions in order to spread the word, Toy Story 3 is serving up interesting commercials that manage to boost two different products/services to consumers.


Somehow, this commercial for the Visa debit card introduces you to the movie’s central characters, makes you want to see more of them, and makes you want to use your Visa debit card to buy official merchandise at a local toy store. I adore the attention to detail put into this. At the very beginning, the toys are standing on top of a display for the probably fictional “Red Herring” board game, which advertises itself as “a game of skills and scales”.
  
A major plot point in Toy Story 3 is the toys’ accidental arrival at a rowdy preschool. In this commercial for Aflac insurance, scenes from the movie are used to talk about job hazards. An unlikely comparison, but it is all pulled together by the company’s cute spokesduck, who appears as a “duck in a box”.


However, the best tie-in I’ve seen yet is this spot for the US Postal Service. In it, Hamm the piggybank (voiced by John Ratzenburger, who played the quintessential TV mailman on Cheers) dresses up as a letter carrier in order to inform the toys about “priority-rate shipping”. If the USPS ever makes a piggybank that looks like that, I will unashamedly buy it. The second-best part, however, is what he says to Slinky Dog.


Some might argue that this steady stream of advertising will tire audiences and make people not want to see Toy Story 3, but only time will tell if those nay-sayers are right.


Related Articles
21 Nov 2011
These films are not only completely entertaining, but they are also uplifting, funny, and heartbreaking – a beautifully rendered trilogy that stands at the top of Pixar’s excellent output of movies.
25 Jan 2011
The 2011 Oscar Nominations, with indications that, for once, the Academy might have figured out what truly was/is the Year's Best.
By PopMatters Staff
11 Jan 2011
Among this year's winners include a fake documentary, a comedy about Jihad, a vampire story NOT dealing with tacky tween romance, a haunting hillbilly noir, and an elegant tale about clones. Not necessarily the usual cinematic suspects.
9 Jan 2011
Many of 2010's best triumphed not by rejecting the artifice or fantasy of filmmaking or gaming or dreaming, but by hopping between worlds, ever beginning.
discussion by
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.