Few marketing campaign experiences have earned a place in my heart quite like the adrenaline-charged series of ads for the first Mission: Impossible film. So when I read on message boards last year that they were planning to promote a third Mission: Impossible movie, I was understandably fired up. At first, I didn't let myself believe all the rumors, as the possibility of an all-new sequel of bus posters seemed almost too good to be true.
But then, in a commercial during the Super Bowl, I finally had the proof I'd been longing for: Mission: Impossible 3 was indeed going to be advertised.
And when I found out they were bringing back the media team behind the original, with Robert Sutker signed on as publicity director and Howard Schwartzman reprising his role as special press agent, I was thrilled.
After the M:I:2 advertising debacle, this gave me new hope.
For me, there's nothing quite like watching Mission: Impossible publicized on a giant billboard. It's cheesy to say, but I get so into it, I actually feel like I'm part of the ad. The whole thing kind of takes me back to my childhood, when my parents would bring me to our local fast-food restaurant to see the latest movie tie-in.
Not since the marketing campaign of the original Mission: Impossible have I been this cautiously enthusiastic about the promotion of a movie. If the pre-film hype lives up to the pre-pre-film hype, M:I:3 could shape up to be the merchandising event of the summer.
Have you seen M:I:3's teaser trailer? The geek in me simply cannot wait for the full-length version to be released.
No one is rooting for these talented sales artists to hit it out of the park with this campaign more than I am. After all, with a promotional budget of over $40 million, there's no reason why Mission: Impossible 3 can't be a non-stop media blitz, complete with action-figure-packed licensing agreements and one-of-a-kind publicity stunts.
If the buzz is true, and these guys are truly getting back to the basics of marketing, M:I:3 has a great chance of a being an unforgettable roller-coaster thrill ride at my local theme park in two to four years.
Still, I have my concerns. While I would like this franchise's latest marketing installment to have its share of unpredictable promotional twists and surprises, as a true Mission: Impossible publicity fan, I'd be disappointed if some of the classic advertising elements I've come to love, such as magazine articles, daytime talk-show appearances and breakfast-cereal tie-ins, were abandoned. Because honestly, after the M:I:2 ad nightmare, it's my duty to be wary.
Forgetting the golden opportunities they totally missed out on (no peel-and-win games? Hello!), what those inexperienced ad-school hacks threw together was misguided at best. I've never headed an ad campaign, but even I know better than to use the same exact font on your subway posters as another big promotion event like Battlefield Earth. Plus, some of the trailer announcer lines were corny, and the whole campaign lacked drinking-cup character development.
But I am a fan first and critic second. Who knows—M:I:3's marketing campaign might prove so great that I'll sit through the movie.