Two different forms of media were used to publicize the movie Gladiator. The first form of media used was poster campaigning. This is a still form of media therefore it had some restrictions as no sound or motion could be used. The second form of media to be used was trailer campaigning, this having the advantage of being able to use sound and motion.
Although the poster campaign does have some limitations; it can still be effective. One of the main objectives of a poster is to present a visual image that will remain in a potential moviegoer’s mind. Another way of making the poster effective is cleverly playing around with the words. These words should once again remain in the minds of the potential moviegoer’s. This technique using words is called the caption.
The caption used in the Gladiator poster campaign is “ A Hero Will Rise.” This caption consists of three main words, Hero, Will and Rise. All the words are short, sharp and concise, most of them being monosyllabic. This is effective because people are more likely to remember words that are short and easy, then words that are long and difficult. The first major word used in the caption is Hero.
This notifies the audience that the movie will be based around a strong and brave and handsome male protagonist. In addition, the image on the poster is that of a well renowned Hollywood actor, Russell Crowe. Crowe is well known star for his physique and looks as well as his acting capabilities. He is also the sort of actor that can be seen to be playing a hero role. Furthermore, Crowe just recently had starred in the Oscar winning movie, L. A.
Confidential. In this movie Crowe played the role of a tough and aggressive character. This would appeal to the producers of Gladiator as Crowe proved that he can play the role of aggressive and rough characters, this is further backed up by looking at his filmography. This factor would appeal to fans of Crowe and people who liked his previous movie. The second major word used is Will.
This is a positive affirmation. This word informs the audience that something shall happen (as in this case to the hero). It is not a hint as to what might happen, but more of a fact to what is going to take place. Finally, the word “ Rise” is the action that shall take place, something shall emerge. This is also a positive word usually used to represent something ascending.
This could be easily linked to the hero, who finds he is ascending from the light to the dark and descending back down again. This word also reflects the colour scheme, which rises from dark to light. Another thing used to full effect on the poster is the colour scheme, the main colour used being gold. This could symbolise the golden Roman Era, as the movie is based around Roman times, as gold is well acknowledged in representing the best and the Romans are considered one of the greatest conquers in history.
The gold could also be representing the gladiator, as it could be saying that this is no ordinary hero, but the best of heroes. Moreover, the sepia colour of the poster also helps give the poster an aged and authentic look, which fits in with the historic theme of the movie. The colour scheme could represent the hero, who is in the dark and shall rise to the light, but what does the light represent? Is it Power? Wealth? Or even status? This is one piece of information deliberately withheld, because to find out the potential moviegoer has to get actively involved either via the website or by watching the movie itself. The central image is that of a heavily armoured man holding a sword. It is evident that he is the hero, because the sword that he holds is a gladius, a sword used by gladiators. Also as the movie is called “ Gladiator” it makes it easier to work out that he will be the main focus.
The gladiator is positioned in the foreground to show his importance, as the main character. Positioned behind the gladiator is the Coliseum. This shows that although the Coliseum is important, it isn’t as important as the gladiator himself, suggesting that the movie will be based more around the gladiator then the Coliseum. The Coliseum helps establish the time and place of when the movie took place, as it is widely linked to the roman era as well as complete brutal violence.
This would make the potential moviegoer expect to see an action packed movie with the roman era as one of its main features. This would attract people who prefer movies from the historical and action genre. Also, the poster does give an impression as to who its main audience is. Looking at the images, it is made obvious that this film shall be set in Rome (as that is where the Coliseum is placed), a city acknowledged for its historical importance as well as its beauty. Also the gladius in the gladiators hand shows that the film shall contain action packed fighting scenes, this is further backed by the gladiator wearing armour, as if prepared to fight.
The genres can already be predicted as being action, adventure and historical therefore the targeted potential audience is likely to be moviegoer’s who like action, adventure or historical movies. The use of shadow makes it harder to see the central figure, adding mystery to the figure. The use of shadow also links in with the caption, as it is changing (or rises) from dark to light. This could represent the rise of the hero from the dark to the light. This makes the potential moviegoer’s wonder what difficulties the hero might endure, if any, to reach the light.
One thing that surprised me was the positioning of the title of the movie. Unlike the usual position of the title at the top, the title is at the bottom. This shows that the main focus of the poster is the caption, not the title. This could signify how the gladiator starts at the bottom and works his way up. Also this could implicate that the director’s main priority at this stage was not to sell the movie but to get the general public aware of the existence of the movie and become interested and wish to obtain further information.
The caption tells the public more about the movie then the title does therefore it is treated with more importance at this stage of publicising the movie. Near the film title is the date. Instead of just writing May 2000, the publisher has added A. D.
on as well. This develops the feeling of Roman times, as that is the era the movie is set in. Also the date, although smaller, is written in the same font as the title. The font also implicates a link to the movie! The producer has used a simple but effective font, Times New Roman. This font is widely used because of its crisp and clear letters; this makes it easier to read for potential moviegoer’s.
One thing the poster lacks is an age rating, this could be because of various reasons, the film doesn’t have a MPAA rating, the age range could be in review, or the producers could not be concentrating on the age range in this particular poster as they want to attract as many people as possible before the film is given an official rating. Another reason could be that the poster is to be used worldwide and as many countries have different rating systems it would be inappropriate to put an age range. The additional information at the end of the poster consists of the official web address as well as the film makers. The two major production companies in the film industry are mentioned, DreamWorks and Universal Pictures.
Hearing these names alone would tempt anyone to watch the movie, as they are well known for being big budget companies. This would enable that movies made by these multi billion dollar production companies have all the necessary resources to become box office hits. Also even before the release date the movie would not be expected to be some low budget movie flop but entertaining, which would attract early interest from some potentialAlso the web page would help build further interest in the movie as well as include vital information like the release date (which is not on the posters) and trailers to give a taste of the movie. This could also contain a fan site for fanatics to discuss about the forthcoming movie. Working alongside the poster campaign is the Gladiator trailer.
Trailers normally consist of a series of selected shots from the film being advertised. They are advertisements consisting of short scenes from a motion picture that will appear in the near future. Since the purpose of the trailer is to attract an audience to the film being advertised, the trailer must grab the audience’s attention with whatever means possible. I feel that the potential moviegoer’s attention was achieved in the Gladiator poster through theThis is what is precisely done in the Gladiator trailer. It gives the audience a brief storyline to work on.
In this case words, as less as possible, have been used to ‘ tell the story.’ These words have not been elaborately decorated but, like the poster, they are kept simple and easy to read (even the same font is used.) The words are plain white on a plain black background, I find this surprising as bright colour are widely linked to grabbing attention. Notwithstanding, even with the two simplest colours, the producers have somehow found the right combination, for the text is entirely easy to read and stands out incredibly.
Furthermore, for each caption a same repeated pattern is used. First the music is played, then the caption, this is closely followed by the clip. This is faded out in slow motion and another caption is show. This is repeated six times.
The captions are broken down into six individual sections; these sections themselves represent how the movie itself has six different segments. Each segment represents the different progress of what happens to the gladiator. It shows the position of the gladiator from hero to zero and back again. Altogether the caption would take up a whole slide, but the producers have broken it into six short and precise captions. This is vital as to not bore the audience too much.
Another thing that the producers have focused on in the trailer is the historical context of the movie. The main setting of the trailer is the Coliseum, which shows the audience that it will be a main feature in the movie. The low angle shot, along with the close ups, of the Coliseum make it look realistic as possible. This not only shows the handiwork of the computer animations used but also shows the importance of the Coliseum. Another thing of immense dramatic importance that is shown in the trailer is the Emperor. The camera shots of the Emperor are very close up and show the audience his character.
For instance there is a close up of the Emperor yelling, “ Am I not merciful?” into a woman’s face. This makes the audience ponder over the stability and temper of this Emperor. This also stereotypes the Emperor as a ‘ villain,’ he is seen to always be in a bad mood. Once, the face of the Emperor is faded in from a tiger fading out. This shows the ferocity and even the evilness (as the tiger is seen to be pouncing on a target) of the Emperor. This tells us of the ferocity of the Emperor and the immense power the gladiator shall have to endure to ‘ defy an empire’.
This makes the viewer ponder about the storyline as to what they personally expect to happen. This is a very clever way of actively involving the audience. The soundtrack, composed by Hans Zimmer, is one of the main highlights of the trailer. The music at the beginning starts of with drum rolls to go with the swagger of the character of Maximus. This swagger is in conjunction with rhythm with the music and draws attention to the character that is making the movement. The swagger alone tells the viewer the importance and high status of this character.
This idea is further developed in the viewers mind by the soldiers saluting Maximus. Then when the caption, “ The General” appears whole of the first motion animation is explained. As the action is slowly released the pace of the movement increases as does tempo of the music. This adds adrenaline to audience and intensifies the battle scenes even more.
Also, before every caption the audience can hear the special sound effects of slashing swords. This repetitively changes the atmospheric tone of the music to make the audience concentrate on the caption. This is achieved by playing fast music at the moving clipsTo my surprise, this doesn’t break the tempo of the music but adds to it. The use of dialect is also effective. For example, when Maximus says, “ I will have my vengeance.
” This sticks in the audience’s mind because of the menacing and aggressive tone of voice used by Maximus. As well as this the audience chanting “ Maximus!” builds up the atmosphere. However, I think that instead using text the producers could have used a voice over, especially in the case of the captions. There are very few alterations that I would personally make to the trailer.
One that comes to my mind is that, as there are screenshots of the gladiator when he is in power, I would also include screenshots of the gladiator when he was weak and vulnerable. To be specific I would choose the scene of when the gladiator is surrounded by the guards in a tent near the beginning of the movie. My reasons for this are that this would show the audience that the gladiator did actually have to survive again the odds and had to face a lot of deadly moments; I feel this is not portrayed well enough in the trailer. This would also make the audience wonder how Maximus actually survives these deathly scenarios and wish to watch the movie to obtain the answer. My overall conclusion of the Gladiator media advertising campaign is that although the poster is effective in its own way I think the trailer outdoes the poster.
My reasoning’s are that firstly the general public don’t actually read into a poster but just look at it at a glance. Also the trailer interacts more with the audience as it has movement and sound, these being the decisive factors. Furthermore, the trailer shows glimpses of the movie, characters as well as the storyline. This would more likely encourage moviegoer’s then a still image that needs a lot of thinking behind it. In the trailer the thinking is narrowed down for you and you don’t have to do as much guesswork as on the poster. The story is more or less given to you.
Also the trailer not only shows the storyline but also shows actual footage of the movie so the audience can also view the picture and get a taste of the movie. On the other hand, the poster is seen more often and can be placed in more locations then a trailer. I say this because everywhere you see, from buses to building walls; they are all mainly plastered with posters to advertise something or another. I also thought that the clever play of words and brilliant use of imagery, in both the trailer and poster, really made the movie appealing to the general public (even people who don’t normally watch movies of the action, adventure or historical genre). My personal opinion is that both the poster and the trailer work extremely well together, are effective and purposeful towards their objective, to sell the movie Gladiator. The poster caught the general public’s attention and the trailer further informed potential audience who were attracted by the posters.
I believe these two publicity systems worked exemplary together to make the general public not only interested in the movie, but to actually make them be prepared to pay up to watch the movie in the cinemas.
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