Will the Money Men Give Peace A Chance?
April 2, 2003 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Warner removes peace symbol from What A Girl Wants ad. Terrified of the "political" content of a young lady flashing the peace symbol, Warner has removed it from their new ads. The movie, incidentally, was hardly agitprop. It was only a teen movie featuring a young lady goofing off on the poster. If this isn't overly cautious, then just how paranoid will movie studios and marketers get?
posted by ed (28 comments total)

 
The poster is here.
Polemic, huh?
posted by signal at 9:21 AM on April 2, 2003


signal: I'm getting a 403 on that link. Here's another one.
posted by ed at 9:27 AM on April 2, 2003


Ad-folks are very, very cautious about the content of advertisements, and rightfully so.

Obviously, we don't think a peace sign is offensive, but you might be surprised at the folks that would be. Boycott campaigns get started on the darnedest stuff (remember The Last Temptation of Christ? that brouhaha began on a third-hand rumor based on a rough draft of the script).

It's a weird industry. Ad-people are as particular about the pictorial content of an ad as Kubrick was about mise-en-scene.
posted by rocketman at 9:29 AM on April 2, 2003


The discussion is here.

Peace is treason.
posted by sudama at 9:29 AM on April 2, 2003


Peace sign? I thought that was the victory symbol!
posted by psmealey at 9:32 AM on April 2, 2003


Damn liberal media!
posted by nofundy at 9:44 AM on April 2, 2003


It's called marketing. Deal.

Some marketers will try and be edgy and controversial. Most will dumb things down as much as possible. That's the name of the game. They're trying to sell something. They make decisions based on market studies, not because they're terrified.

I worry more about people who see conspiracy theories in such everyday things.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:50 AM on April 2, 2003


Most will dumb things down as much as possible. That's the name of the game. They're trying to sell something. They make decisions based on market studies....

True enough. Must be a proud group of people. And business is business, after all. It explains a lot about why business people are the way they are.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:59 AM on April 2, 2003


"What a girl wants." When I saw this on Jon Stewart I thought she was saying "two". Cause, see, there's two guards.
posted by Wood at 10:10 AM on April 2, 2003


Peace sign? I thought it was a Verizon ad!
posted by pb at 10:22 AM on April 2, 2003


"Must be a proud group of people."

You would advocate what? Only marketing which is socially enriching and grounded in meaningful principals? Or it's just fun to poke people who don't have your ethical fiber? Appealing to the common man is unethical, yes? Just because most people are intellectually or socially or physically lazy, that doesn't make it right for us to make money from it, yes?

I've worked with several marketing departments. I've found them all, as institutions, to be morally bankrupt. But blaming the individuals for what is really a social problem is silly. Wouldn't it be nice if we all had the option to make a living at something where the ethics where above reproach.

I understand that you, f&m, would never work in an industry which profits from the laziness of others. Most are not so lucky. The vast majority of people in developed countries make a living from the laziness of others. Shame on them?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:22 AM on April 2, 2003


It explains a lot about why business people are the way they are.

I was going to ask who exactly "business people" are--people who make money?--until I realized that this sentence is simply dumb. The silly poster thing explains nothing about anybody, but it apparently makes for good sound bites.
posted by Skot at 10:23 AM on April 2, 2003


Everyone knows it's un-American to aspire to peace. What were they thinking letting her make that craven sign in the first place?
posted by neuroshred at 10:28 AM on April 2, 2003


It explains a lot about why business people are the way they are.

How do you differentiate a "business person" from everyone else that earns money for doing something? From yourself (assuming you earn a living doing something)?

on preview: what skot said
posted by probablysteve at 10:30 AM on April 2, 2003


Yeah, is Verizon pulling their ads as well? Or are they not run by spineless twits?
posted by cornbread at 10:40 AM on April 2, 2003


Warner is obviously saying that "What a girl wants" isn't peace, but rather for the streets to run red with blood and for the air to be filled with the screams of the dying.
posted by BigPicnic at 10:54 AM on April 2, 2003


So should they airbrush the poster for Ghostbusters II as well? I always knew that bastard logo was a pesky peacenik.

In this case, I honestly don't see how any reasonable person could interpret that the two fingers held up would equate to peace. Amanda Bynes is wearing an American flag on her T-shirt. The red belt holding up the Christina Aguilera-like teenage hip-huggers has a bright star, which is more evocative of stars and stripes than an aggro protestor. She is smiling with a mischevious grin, thus implying that the movie must be fun and mischevious. Her brown hair is being windswept with the rush of being a young, nubile American in a new land. Everything about her says "fuck me" to a virile adolescent, not "stop the war." In other words, removing the gesture reduces the frivolous American feel designed to scoop up Amanda Bynes fans (along with the uninitiated) in droves.

If the Warner marketing wizards couldn't ancticipate the drums of war when they approved the art and the ad campaign six months ago, if they couldn't trust their demographic enough to hook into the image and see the implications of a fun movie, then it is not a question of these people being morally bankrupt, but rather bankrupt in common sense.
posted by ed at 11:10 AM on April 2, 2003


How do you differentiate a "business person" from everyone else that earns money for doing something?

work

posted by larry_darrell at 11:14 AM on April 2, 2003


After spending plenty of other people's money to get this film to the public, you don't want to take any chances that a damn poster may be misinterpreted. You want a return on the money invested, that's business, what, they should be a charity? There are only so many films you can write off that lose money, I'm sure. Given the current atmosphere, sounds like a wise decision.

On the other hand, all that publicity, should it be negative, would give it more attention than it deserves.

Believe me, it 'aint worth it. Call it erring on the side of caution. Hey, it's only business. Someone had to flip the coin.


This thing looks like a direct to DVD anyways [heh-heh, guess I'm not part of its marketing focus group].
posted by alicesshoe at 1:03 PM on April 2, 2003


Wow, I guess Warner is losing its "edge". You know producing, "cool" , "alternative" , "rough around the edges" media. They are starting to act like sell-outs...
posted by mildred-pitt at 1:19 PM on April 2, 2003


Everything about her says "fuck me" to a virile adolescent

And you think that would piss off the religous right more than a quote/unquote peace symbol.

The vast majority of people in developed countries make a living from the laziness of others. Shame on them?

That's a pretty weak comparison.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:37 PM on April 2, 2003


...yawn -- it's an ad. Big deal. News flash: the Beatles changed an album cover to avoid offending raw-meat- and disembodied dollhead-haters. For shame! The peace sign poster might fetch big bucks some day!

You know what, though? I'd be really pissed if the girl went to France and they took that out of the movie. So...I don't know.
posted by drinkcoffee at 1:54 PM on April 2, 2003


I'd be really pissed if the girl went to France and they took that out of the movie.

you'd better watch out then, when this comes out it's going to be a big stupid hit. *shudder*
posted by serafinapekkala at 2:47 PM on April 2, 2003


Oh great.
posted by drinkcoffee at 2:53 PM on April 2, 2003


The peace sign poster might fetch big bucks some day!

In three days and seven hours?
posted by eddydamascene at 2:54 PM on April 2, 2003


Which Warner is referred to in the title of the post: the company or the senator?
posted by newlydead at 5:08 PM on April 2, 2003


I seriously doubt this has anything to do with the "common man." The people who would complain about this are probably not the lowest common denominator masses movies are usually targeted at, its the vocal nutjobs and conspiracy theorists with connections to some letter writing groups. These nuts make for great evening news for some reason and their small voices get heard. America is obsessed with the fundie and what she has to say while simultaneously dismissing her as being out of touch.

Warner wants to avoid offending the nutty political loudmouth who may tarnish the image of the film, but they know Joe Sixpack couldn't care less even if he noticed. We are way below the LCD here and deep into nutball territory. I have a hard time imagining the nuts' arguments being convicing to anyone but themselves and think Warner should just have left well enough alone.

So is it okay to show pictures of the WTC on TV yet?
posted by skallas at 11:07 PM on April 2, 2003


For what it's worth, I just saw a banner ad at shoutcast.com, featuring Amanda Bynes flashing the peace sign (or victory, whatever you want to call it).

Must not be that big of a deal.
posted by rocketman at 9:30 AM on April 3, 2003


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