The Muppets Movie & Media Saturation
- November 23rd, 2011
- 1 Comments
The Muppets movie finally comes out this weekend! We’re excited for several reasons: a new generation of kids will get to know this collection of characters, we’ve missed seeing the Muppets on the big screen, and we’ll finally be able to stop seeing them everywhere.
That might sound weird for a fan to say, but there’s a breaking point, even for the stuff we’re passionate about.
The reason the Muppets haven’t been on the big screen in ages is because Disney was very protective of the brand. They were cautious about who they let work with the characters after Jim Henson passed away. They (wisely) put their trust in Jason Segel, a true fan who, based on a few early reviews, did a wonderful job with the film. It even sports a 98% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.
But it’s the marketing campaign for the movie that has been bugging us. Why take such good care of the brand and film while creating a marketing campaign that had fans rolling their eyes after a few months? There were the parody trailers — tons of them. There were the guest appearances on Monday Night Raw and Saturday Night Live. There are the pricey clothing lines, the limited-edition nail polishes, The Green Album…
Every bit was hilarious, but as the clips and appearances and products started to stack up, it was also overkill. Like a kid denied candy for a decade and then let loose in a candy store, Disney gave us an all-we-could-consume smorgasbord and we ate it up, watching every clip. True, a new generation of kids needs to “meet the Muppets” for the first time, but their parents will go a long way in making that happen. They were the original audience after all, and whether kids are asking to see the film or not, they’re probably going to because their parents aren’t going to let this chance for enjoyable wholesome entertainment for the whole family pass them by.
It’s the 20- and 30-somethings, not the kids, who are scratching their heads at the Muppets media saturation. It has a negative effect on their perception of cool. For more than a decade, the Muppets were cool because they were “underground” and hard to find, whether on vintage t-shirts or on DVD. The brand was of their generation. They knew the characters having seen the movies and watched the show when it aired originally or in syndication in the 80s and 90s. And while Disney has marketed it in the right ways to Millennials — viral videos and appearances on SNL — they’ve simply done too much of it. The Millennial generation doesn’t want to be hit over the head with marketing.
Will it have a detrimental effect on the box office? It’s hard to say with the film already being called the best reviewed movie of the year. As for us, we might wait a little while to see it, you know, until after the hype has died down.