The Room, a 2003 romantic drama from director Tommy Wiseau, is apparently so bad it's good. It's become a staple of midnight cult screenings, and not because of its high quality. As the film's Wikipedia entry so succinctly puts it: "The Room has been critically panned for its acting, screenplay, dialogue, production values, score, direction and cinematography."
How do you advertise the screenings, then? As honestly as you can.
Adman Ricc Webb, who holds the title of ideation director at agency 1000heads in London, has designed a poster for a February screening of the film at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leister Square. And as you can see, it highlights negative reviews of the movie very prominently.
The anti-superlatives include zingers like "You really can't believe how terrible The Room is" and "Trust me, this is the worst movie you will ever see ever in your entire life. Ever." All of which might actually entice people to show up—to see whether it's as wretched as advertised.
Webb designed the poster and paid for its placement himself. It went up recently in London's Liverpool Street subway station.
The ad is amusing just as a piece of comedy, but Webb, perhaps in a bit of a stretch, says he's also trying to make a broader statement about how a lot of movie marketing is misleading. By which he presumably means horrible movies have a lipsticked-pig aspect to them with their flashy posters.
"Every day traveling around London I see a piece of advertising that makes me wonder who the idiots are approving half this stuff," Webb says. "Instead of getting frustrated, I decided to start my own experiments. Ideas designed to skip the politics, bureaucracy and approvals that usually stifle the creative process and show people what's possible with a little effort and imagination. Marketing should be fun and entertaining … not misleading and full of BS."
For its part, the Prince Charles Cinema is delighted with the ad.
"When Ricc first pitched us his idea for a 'truthful' poster for Tommy Wiseau's The Room, we loved it, but never for a minute did we think he'd actually go through with it," says Paul Vickery, head programmer at the cinema. "But he has, and the smiles haven't left the faces of the team since. We can't wait to see it up and the faces of the commuters as they see it on their morning trip to work!"
The February screening of The Room will be take place Feb. 8-11.