Is it clever marketing with a sly propagandist touch or an inappropriate use of a current scandal for the glib promotion of a glib film? Whatever it is, it’s gotten people talking and that, clearly, is what the producers had in mind. The latest promotional spot for the upcoming movie, RED 2, starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Catherine Zeta-Jones, has been intercut with a speech President Obama gave recently in response to questions about the NSA leaks made by Edward Snowden, and the way the words are juxtaposed against the film footage creates the impression that the President’s veracity is in question.
Intentional or just… “fun”?
In looking at the way this spot is being promoted by various film publicity sites, I’d guess the publicist for the film company, Summit Entertainment, wrote up very specific copy to send out with the trailer, designed to focus attention away from the potential crassness of the ploy and onto just how “fun,” “tongue in cheek” and “humorous” it is to use a serious speech on a controversy of epic proportion that’s created global tension, cultural and political conflict (even here at Addicting Info we’ve covered Snowden from one side, to the other, to somewhere in between), and potentially jeopardized national security. This is the issue they’re using to promote a light-hearted,big studio romp with guns and espionage? Yup:
“Watch as domestic policy and entertainment are combined in humorous ways…” [MovieWeb]
“You’ve probably heard about a little bit of a kerfuffle the Nsa had recently when a private contractor named Edward Snowden let slip that the United States’ most secretive intelligence agency has built an internal spying infrastructure so vast that it seems like something out of a movie. It only makes sense, then, that a sequel to a movie about secret government operations would have a bit of fun with the government’s response to that leak. The playful minds at Summit Entertainment have intercut parts of President Obama’s speech about the Nsa Prism scandal with footage from Red 2 and the result is worth a watch.” [Movies.com]
“Summit Entertainment has chosen to have a little fun with their latest TV spot for the upcomingRed 2 which cuts in President Obama‘s speech on the latest Nsa leaks in with footage from the film. We think it works pretty well…” [ComingSoon]
[Emphasis added on all excerpts.]
Every word of that reads like a publicist’s handbook and, frankly, the sweat-equity put into making sure there were enough words like “fun” and “playful” gives away their concerns that people just might find the choice as offensive and inappropriate as… it is?
There will be some (there’s always some) who’ll say this is a non-story, a “kerfluffle” over nothing, and maybe so. But as I was watching television and the footage of Obama’s speech came on the screen, I presumed it was a news clip on the issue… until it became clear exactly what it was and I immediately felt annoyed and slightly shocked. The ‘playful’ cuts from Obama’s words to cars exploding and people talking on phones felt politically manipulative, particularly given the implication of dishonesty they conveyed. Personally, given the egregious nature of the Edward Snowden/NSA scandal regardless of what side you’re on, I cannot fathom anyone thinking it was a politic or appropriate marketing choice to make… but I’d guess whoever it was is a non-supporter of the President.
I’m all for having a little fun at the expense of our very public politicians when appropriate (Sarah Palin considering a run for the Alaska Senate comes to mind), but when a serious situation remains ongoing and of grave consequences, there should be a moratorium on its glib use in commercial media. It would be akin to cutting footage of Osama bin Laden into a ‘fun’ commercial for shaving products.
You watch, you decide.
Here’s the video: