From misleading body-toning shoes, to misleading movie trailers, advertising of all sorts is under the cosh this week. (Though this does depend how you define modern movie trailers — a point I will get to later.)
First, the story: instead of simply posting a bad review of Ryan Gosling’s new film Drive, disappointed movie fan Sarah Deming took her anger to the courts. Citing the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, Ms Deming sued the makers for “having very little driving in the motion picture.”
Ms Deming claims, albeit mistakenly, that the distributors “promoted the film Drive as very similar to the Fast & Furious, or similar, series of movies.” She maintains that the trailer upheld this “race action” view of the film and in this, feels substantially misled.
The crux of the case is this: Ms Deming insists that her actions are not about getting her cinema ticket refunded, which is the only thing she demanded (and which the cinema has already offered), but about banning “misleading film trailers.”
Amazingly, Ms Deming hopes to turn her appeal into a class action suit, allowing movie-goers across the US to sue on similar grounds if they found themselves watching films on the basis of a misleading trailer. Both the Emagine cinema in Novi, Michigan, (who Ms Deming is also suing!) and distributor FilmDistrict are expected, sensibly, to vigorously contest the claims.
This brings me on to the point I wanted to make about film trailers; surely we should know by now that trailers are not, and do not have to be, a mirror-image of the film they are “advertising.” And I use “advertising” loosely here because I don’t believe movie trailers can be reduced to something that simple and profit-motivated.
Just like the fashion advertisements in Vogue are pieces or art in themselves, trailers are also (for the better films) independent creations of cinematographic genius. I love trailers. I always make sure I get to the cinema in time to see them. And I enjoy them for what they are, without expecting to see or enjoy the movie they recreate or re-imagine in 3 minutes.
To be fair to Sarah Deming, I have not seen the trailer for Drive, nor the movie itself, but if I wasn’t already excited about Nicholas Winding Refn’s critically acclaimed new offering, knowing now that it is nothing like the Fast and the Furious, I can hardly contain myself.
In short, I don’t believe that Ms Deming has a point, or a legal case, and I do believe that this story has overshadowed the far more interesting (and equally ridiculous) tale of the man, inspired by Drive to “do something courageous and epic,” who threw a hot dog at Tiger Woods.
But maybe that’s just me.
- Reebok Reetone Sneakers in Body-Toning Controversy (legallyeasy.rocketlawyer.com)
- Woman Sues Because ‘Drive’ Isn’t Enough Like ‘Fast and the Furious’(newsfeed.time.com)
- Disappointed that Ryan Gosling doesn’t drive more? Get over it | Hadley Freeman (guardian.co.uk)
- Woman sues to stop drive getting away with a ‘misleading’ trailer (guardian.co.uk)
- Tiger Woods fan explains hot-dog toss (pressdemocrat.com)