For a full report on the nominees and winners—in feature film audio-visual advertising, as well as in TV, print, social media, standees and video game categories—I refer you to the GTA website, where you will also find directories of the companies that produce entertainment marketing and advertising. In this post, and a companion to follow, I focus on the two categories of especial relevance to our own research interests: The Golden Fleece Award and the Most Original Trailer Award.
Why "The Golden Fleece?"
Representation, Misrepresentation &/or Deception
The GTA 17 Nominees for the Golden Fleece Award
Dressing the Turkey?
Then too, because storytelling in trailers is non-narratively structured, reorganizations of the plot are necessary and not always uninspired. Audiences extrapolate, assume and interpret the compression of event and the reordering of sound, image and word. When an editor cuts for pace, energy, knowledge and arrangement of materials in a manner that represents as well as supplements and comments upon the feature, a strict correspondence between the semantic content of the one and the semantic content of the other will suffer. But it's not certain that the quality of the preview and promotion will likewise.
Non-diegetic elements like sound and music cues as well as graphic cards and voice over offer another ‘dimension’ of information and appeal in a trailer that a feature usually does without. While the inclusion of direct address can break the “realism” effect of a trailer’s seduction, because it is part of the received and familiar formula, this mode of engaging the audience and communicating information don't typically disturb a viewer's immersion in the experience. Instead, extra-diegetic elements are consumed as part of the entertainment rather than self-referential intrusions into it. The music cue, for instance -- whose significance is entirely independent of its ultimate presence in the feature-- constitutes the most effective and persuasive component of the form.
Lastly, the habit of mind with which a typical viewer watches a trailer is part of why it's so easy to present a formulaic studio film as a genre-busting indie or position a painful family drama as a comedy. We are part of the communicational exchange and our expectations and desires are complicit in the dance of hope, promise, discovery and/or dismay. We know better, and yet we want to believe; we know better and yet we presume to discern through the veils of advertising the reality of the film previewed. We complain about being shown only the best bits while we expect, nay demand, to see best bits, eager to see more of the same when we view the feature, and outraged when we discover there aren’t any. It seems we enjoy this game, with its low stakes, its surprises, delights and the disappointments, the chance to test our skill against the world’s greatest fleecers working in the world's greatest medium of representation, persuasion and promotion.