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PROMO WATCH: The Walking Dead S1

24 Nov

The Walking Dead looks to be one of the biggest hits of the year, as it broke cable rating records on it’s release and the numbers have been holding relatively steady.

The success of the show had been questionable before it come out, as the genre is relatively niche (movies like Shaun Of The Dead and 28 Days Later are critically loved but do relatively modest box office numbers, for instance) and it didn’t feature any hot star names (apart from director and writer Frank Darabont, of Shawshank Redemption fame).

So was the success based on the promo / poster campaign from the network then?

You can be the judge of that!

Here are all the official and even some non-official promo art for The Walking Dead…

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PROMO WATCH: Breaking Bad

9 Sep

I’ve just caught up with the news that the brilliant AMC drama Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, won’t be returning until June 2011. This is a delay of about three months, with the actually fair enough reasoning that writer and creator Vince Gilligan wants more time in the writing room to make sure the show is as good as it’s been in the past.

On that note, a retrospective of the creative genius of the show was in order to tide me over until the summer of 2011.

Breaking Bad’s promo team work tremendously hard coming up with a large array of promotional art for the show, and you’ll notice that many of the photographs are taken straight from the show (and not taken seperately) – demonstrating how superb the cinemotography for each episode (even Season 3’s episode ‘Fly’, set in one dingy room, was a feast for the eyeballs).

Anyway, here are some of my favourite shots from the last three seasons (and one cheeky unofficial one that I think is well done too):


I do love the minimilist posters that seem to exist for each revered TV show and movie…

And last-but-not-least, my favourite Breaking Bad promo ever (the main promotional ad for season three)…

I cannot wait to see what season four entails, get writing Gilligan and co!

Promo Watch: Dexter in the UK

5 Sep

I’m going to refrain from mentioning the ridiculous situation of UK viewers having to wait nearly a year to watch the season four of Dexter, whilst viewers across the pond enjoyed the brilliant season at the end of September 2009 on Showtime (and season five of the show starts in two weeks too!).

(and I won’t go on to explain that it’s reasons like this that piracy for spoiler-filled shows like Dexter exists)

But anyway, London has been full of some pretty nifty looking promos for the fourth season of Dexter across Underground tube platforms and bus stops. They’re pretty standard in terms of creative posters go, but it’s nice to see them make use of John Lithgow’s presence (something that the US promos for the fourth season did not).

And for comparison, here are some of Showtime’s efforts at promos for Dexter Season 4 (and if you’ve yet to see it, you’re in for a treat!) last year. They tend to focus on the fact Dexter is now a father and not, as FX has for the UK one above, the brilliant main plot-line of Dexter vs. Trinity:

And a few promo images for the finale of the fourth season (which focus a lot more on the Trinity aspect)…

And a final piece of inspiration from Showtime in the States, who did this publicity stunt for the season too:

I’d love to see this reproduced across the four fountains around Nelson’s Column – now that would get people talking about the new season (and make up for the terrible fact that fans had to wait nearly a year to see it).

CBS in the UK; too much money and not enough sense?

29 Aug

The last few months have seen London (and possibly elsewhere) littered with at least two different and seemingly pointless adverts from the CBS group of channels.

The first one (above) is for decade old (possibly older) episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on CBS: Action, in a not particularly riveting or eye-catching London Underground platform poster. There’s at least five doing the rounds across London and whereas most companies only pay to have an ad there for a few weeks, these have been there a few months now – throwing money away for a show that fans have already seen and know where to watch it (or just have the DVDs) and non-fans will certainly not be convinced to randomly watch.

The second, and possibly the oddest, are London red bus adverts for Footballers Wives on CBS: Drama. Yes, Footballers Wives; that in-vogue-for-its-time ITV drama that since it’s cancellation has been barely talked about anywhere at all. I think the ads were ‘trying’ to capitalise on the World Cup somehow, but since they are still on the side of buses over a month after the tournament that plan seems to have degenerated into odd-looking adverts for another near 10 year old show.

Why is CBS wasting money on adverts for shows that are either too old and out-of-date for anyone to really care for any more? Or shows that are airing on other channels (the Star Trek franchise is also co-licensed to Virgin 1)?

I’d speculate it’s too much money and too little imagination.

A look at the BARB figures confirm there hasn’t been a significant shift in these numbers for both the shows (though any shift on channels of this size is barely one BARB panel member) and very quick Twitter analysis confirms that there’s little talk about the channels at all (the only mention of Star Trek on the channel is a Tweet from the channel’s own Twitter account). In fact, the most interesting finding from looking at Twitter was that CBS: Drama is showing the brilliant David Lynch series Twin Peaks…

So a bright idea to the guys at CBS: Drama – try taking Twin Peaks, a US show that is criminally overlooked and under-watched in the UK (and certainly more appealing than Footballers Wives), and reinvest the wasted money you’ve already burnt and put it into some stylishly designed, genuinely eye-catching posters to inform people that you have managed to acquire the rights to one of the most critical revered and well-loved television shows ever. Tell the viewers they need to see this show if they haven’t before and tell them it inspired countless shows after it – intrigue them enough to get them into the first episode, hell even play that first episode a few times to make sure they get it. Once they watch the pilot they’ll be hooked to watch the rest.

In fact, here are a few examples of Twin Peaks posters to help you out further:

See? None of these are perfect but all are 10 times more riveting and likely to attract new viewers than some weak Photoshop rubbish that is currently clogging tube station platforms and the side of red buses. Just chuck a CBS: Drama logo on, tell them when they can tune into the first episode and hell stick a few quotes from the thousands of people that say this is the greatest drama series ever made.

You could even try a cheap but clever viral campaign, possibly with a dancing midget (you need to have seen Twin Peaks to get that), but let’s take small steps before anything radical…

Promo Watch: House MD

27 Aug

How does the brand new Season 7 promo poster (above) compare to the best-of-the-rest that the show has to offer?

The new one is obviously taking its cue straight from last season’s finale, and it’s certainly titilating and slightly grotesque. But it does the job in reminding me how much I love the show and the characters, and the first episode of the new season (in less than a month!) can’t come too soon.

But some of the promo posters of the past have been mini works of art, as this collection below demonstrates:

The transition the show took from a fairly regular, but very good, medical procedural to something far beyond that is a testament to the talented team behind it.

Hopefully Season 7 keeps up the same brilliant dynamic that we’ve been treated too for six years now…