Why Is Pixar’s ‘UP’ Using Bait-and-Switch Advertising?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated June 6th, 2009 at 10:15 pm,

russel carl pixar up Why Is Pixars UP Using Bait and Switch Advertising?

A week ago I wrote a post about how the Weinstein Company supposedly tampered with the trailer for The Road, in order to “help” the film – which is essentially a meditative look at the bond between a father and son traveling across the ruins of America – reach a (supposedly) wider audience.

The post caused a tiny stir and even inspired a response post from Alex Billington over at First Showing, who claimed (echoing the sentiment of many readers) that I was crying foul about something that is by now a banal topic: Hollywood using bait-and-switch advertising to lure us into theaters under false pretenses.

Well, this week I find myself “crying foul” about bait-and-switch advertising once again, this time in reference to a movie I actually saw and loved. I’m talking about Disney/Pixar’s wonderful new film, UP.


[WARNING: THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS CONTAIN SPOILERS ABOUT THE PLOT OF UP]

If you’ve read my review of UP, then you already know that my overall opinion of the film is that it offers a surprisingly mature (and moving) look at the nature of grief and loss and how we climb back from those crushing emotions. Of course being a Pixar film, that serious undertone is dressed up as a fantastic adventure about a widower who ties a bunch of balloons to his house and flies off to explore South America. However, as I confessed in my review (and many other readers seconded) many key scenes of UP are so wrenchingly powerful, sad even, that you can’t help but be moved to tears. The film really urges you to take stock of your life and (if you’re lucky) the love in it, and (arguably) sends you away with a new appreciation for both.

While that kind of emotional resonance is a phenomenal accomplishment for an animated film (UP is clearly worthy of a Best Picture nomination, IMHO), it’s not so easy for the kids to digest. Sure, there are some silly talking dogs and a juvenile comedic foil thrown in there for the kids to enjoy and laugh at, but at its core, UP tells a very adult story.

pixar up love story Why Is Pixars UP Using Bait and Switch Advertising?

That isn’t just my opinion, either. If you check out the comment thread on my UP review you’ll see several instances of parents complaining that the film made for a bad experience for them and their children. A couple of parents even went as far as to say they had to leave the theater at the behest of their melancholy children. My first reaction to these parents was “That’s YOUR fault: Do your homework before you take your kids to a movie; never assume something is going to be OK for them just because it has a familiar brand name slapped on it.” And, truth be told, I was good with that response. I stood by it.

Flash-forward to last night: I’m sitting on my couch catching up on some summer TV when all of a sudden I catch a TV spot for UP – one of those “UP is the number one movie in America!” spots where they flash you all the names of critics and publications that have praised the film. Imagine my shock: Of all fancy names they flashed (New York Times, USA Today, Time, etc…), only one critic (Hollywood.com‘s Pete Hammond) was quoted – and then, only quoted for one word out of his entire review: “Hilarious.”

I nearly fell off the couch.

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  1. Im thinking Disney is to blame here. They obviously partnered with pixar to put their name on everthing pixar makes, in order to rake in more cash and for more name recognition (my opinion).

    now im not sure if it is disney’s marketing but i bet disney is definetly pushing for the advertising to be aimed at kids because thats what many of their films are aimed at, kids, (not to mention increasing the audience size to increase profits). im not saying that pixar doesn’t make films for kids, but alot of their messages in movies are very mature (I kind of thought The Incredibles had this characteristic as well).

    I think if it was up to pixar, they would market this movie for its true nature because they obviously made the movie that way for a reason…

  2. @LACreoleman..

    Great, now you’ve done it. You mentioned Old Yeller. We’ll be getting a “reboot” or “remake” now within a year. :P

  3. Hollywood is the land of make believe..everything is made up, even based on a true story means nothing as they alter that to get your cash. Actors play “make believe” all the time, directors lead the charade, producers oversee the illusion and we buy into it hook, line and sinker because we love the escapism aspect of movies and the entertainment industry in general. Braveheart is one big example of this..75% of that was the truth stretched so far that it would make Reed Richards syncopial. My point is that Hollywood and the people who run things will do almost anything, actually now that I think of it they will do anything, to get our money so why does bait-and-switch suprise anyone? They mislead on posters, advertising, trailers, stars promoting the films mislead all the time. How many of them say a film is good when on a multitude of time the opposite is true?

    Why is anyone suprised by anything from Hollywood?

  4. I must agree the commercials and spot and any other advertisement had really hurt this film. I have seen this film twice and got all choked up twice. any commercialism that pixtar had put up was really misleading in that it was a ….only just a children film related to something like a Saturday cartoon. i know exactly know what you mean. This film shows a lot of life’s unbearable lessons and im thinking what not a better way to teach these kids today.

    i absolutly agree with you …Wes B.

  5. I thought it was a great movie as did my 4 year old and 8 year old nephew and niece. They got a little sad when they realized the mans wife had died but they dealt with it fine. There’s nothing wrong with kids experiencing that (remember Bambi…we all survived). The trailer showed everything it needed to. I mean really?!? You actually feel there needs to be a “Oh and there might be a sad part too everyone!” disclaimer. It’s rated PG…thats Parental Guidance guys. You just scolded parents in the beginning of this article about knowing what the movie is about before taking their kids. No one was out to dupe anyone into seeing this. The movie was primarily funny. The fact that there was some touching parts also is fantastic and our kids should be exposed to more movies of this calibur with this content. You should all be praising the movie and not whining about the trailer.

  6. @Wickamo

    I guess you don’t consider a 5 star review by the author of this article “praise.”

    http://screenrant.com/up-reviews-kofi-10729/

    Vic

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