The media revolution has come full circle.
To promote Inside Llewyn Davis as Hollywood awards season ramps up, CBS Films paid The New York Times a lot of money to run a full-page print ad on Saturday consisting of mostly white space and an abbreviated version of a tweet from Times movie critic A.O. Scott praising the Coen Brothers' folk-singer flick. "I'm gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well my honeys," said Scott's tweet.
After the ad ran, Scott wrote, also on Twitter:
we have reached a strange new place in marketing when tweets become full-page print ads.
— a. o. scott (@aoscott) January 4, 2014
Why bother abbreviating a tweet for a print ad, you might wonder? Because the rest of the tweet name checked The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle:
You all keep fighting about Wolf of Wall St. and Am Hustle. I'm gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well, my honeys.
— a. o. scott (@aoscott) December 31, 2013
According to Mashable, the Academy considers it a no-no for movie ads to mention the work of competitors.
It's a good strategy insofar as it'll earn more attention than the run-of-the-mill movie ad quoting a gushy critic. Beyond the buzz it invites among marketing and social-media geeks, who are sweating whether the use violates Twitter's rules by including content from the platform in advertising without the author's permission, it's really just another newspaper ad—meaning nobody really knows how effective it will be.
The studio's execs missed an opportunity to amp up Twitter enthusiasts further, though, by throwing an "MT" into the layout. Maybe they worried that most of the audience reading the Times in print barely knows what a Twitter is anyways.