Opinion

The Pitfalls of Expectation

I just saw the new trailer for Hobbs and Shaw and I liked it. It looks like a classic slice of Fast and Furious action full of silly stunts and quippy banter. You know what you’re going to get with a Fast and Furious film, a guilty pleasure featuring slightly ridiculous car based fun. 

At least that what I thought it was all about.

However, the fans might beg to differ. You only have to check out the YouTube comments to see how dismayed the hardcore followers of the franchise feel.

It’s not the petrol head heist movie they have come to expect. (Though they haven’t been this for a while really).

It doesn’t feature Dominic Toretto and his ‘family’ saga. (Though there have been 2 Fast films without Vin in).

And are they expected to forget that Shaw killed Han? (That’s a fair point).

Have the producers made a spectacular error in making this film?

Well no. Hobbs and Shaw have enough going for them to pin a movie around and it stars 2 of the most bankable action / comic actors around at the moment; I’m sure Universal will make its money back. The mistake was in the marketing department.

When I stumbled upon this trailer online, the clickbait headline described it was Fast and Furious 9 and the official title of the film is the overly long ‘Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw’. The marketing team we’re so keen to feed off the fan base, they didn’t consider the unrealistic expectations they were creating. In a lot of ways Hobbs and Shaw isn’t a Fast and Furious movie, rather then an ensemble heist movie, it’s a police buddy action comedy. It doesn’t feature any of the key characters from the franchise. It’s a very different beast, which is fine, but if you’re going to do something different, you need to let it stand on its own feet a little.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t have traded off it’s Fast and Furious roots, but what they’ve done is the equivalent of calling Frasier ‘That psychiatrist bloke off cheers, Ted Danson might be in it too: Frasier’. Maybe these fans are lusting after something that hasn’t existed for a while, the series has come a long way from stealing VCR’s using Honda Civics and it’s certainly gotten closer to the sci-fi trappings of Hobbs and Shaw. But expectations have noting to do with reality and advertisers should forget that at their peril.

That Gillette Advert

What were Gillette thinking, producing an ad with an inflammatory political agenda? What’s that got to do with razors? Well, absolutely nothing, but that doesn’t stop the ad from being completely brilliant.

The anti ‘toxic masculinity’ message of the ad is undoubtedly positive, but being cynical, you could assume that Gillette just wanted to make some noise and didn’t care about the message. It’s totally possible, they knew the ad would excite the left and I’m sure they knew that it would anger the right. They only had to look at Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign to know that many would loudly boycott. But it’s true what they say, there’s no such thing as bad press.

The add makes it clear that Gillette wants to be seen as a forward looking company that moves with the times, that they acknowledge that men don’t just need to change, but that many want to as well.

Perhaps it is just an act to sell razors, but that doesn’t really matter. Brands have power and when they use that power to spread a positive message it can only be a good thing.

Obama & Netflix – A Match Made in Heaven?

So this week it was announced that Barack and Michelle Obama have signed a four year deal with Netflix to produce anything they want and I’m quite excited.

When Obama was in office I was always struck by his media savvy; he engaged with youth media and was able to be self deprecating for the sake of comedy. What’s more, both Barack and Michelle are fantastic screen presences, able to put across complicated messages in an engaging and fun way. My favorite Barack appearance has to be his ‘In Between Two Ferns’, if you’ve not seen it, you should check it out:

 

When the Obama’s left office I thought that the best move they could make was to become television personalities, that it would be the perfect forum for them to spread their ideals.

If Trump has proved anything, it’s that media is incredibly powerful; we have a TV star who’s become a president, it stands to reason that we should have president who becomes a TV star. And perhaps the Obama’s can do more good there then they could in office with a system that was rigged against them.

Now you can argue that anything fronted by the Obama’s will only be viewed by liberals and that all it will do is add to the echo chamber. That may be true, but even if they only reach a handful of Trumpites, it will still have a positive effect

If we are heading towards a Plutocracy, then the media will be even more important, which is why as producers we have to take responsibility for the content we create and stand by the messages we’re putting out in to the world. I’m pretty sure anything the Obama’s put out there will be an agent of positive change and I thank Netflix for allowing them to do it.

Come on Barry and Miche, let’s see what you got!