Zero Dark Thirty’s Split-Personality Ad Campaign

Here are two TV spots. Both are for movies about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. One features characters staring into the distance, small interpersonal moments, fawning quotes from critics, and a soft orchestral hum. The other is all helicopters, explosions, menacing jokes, the loud churning of hard-rock guitar and drums, and a driving sense of Look out Osama, we're comin' to get yer ass!

Surprise! They're from the same movie! The first spot, which was released ahead of the film's select-city December release, portrays the film as Jessica Chastain's measured and emotionally trying journey to find America's most elusive foe. The second, which was released this week ahead of the film's wide release, portrays the movie as about a bunch of SEALs dodging explosions to kill a terrorist. Hell, besides brief shots of Chastain's hair, she isn't even in the second spot. Instead, we see two jacked bros fist-bumping. Maybe the most startling fact is how the two trailers use the same exact quote: "There's nobody else coming to the rescue. There is just us." In the first, it is seen delivered by a boss lecturing his CIA staff in a conference room, while in the second, the quote is disembodiedly moved to go over footage of the SEALs, as if it is coming from a hard-ass sergeant rallying his men; then Chris Pratt says, "I'm cool with that" and fists are bumped. Together these clips perfectly represent the parity that is Zero Dark Thirty's ad campaign.  Read More...


Want to comment on this? First, you must log in to your SideReel account!