Why the Marketing of Wonder Woman at Warner Bros. Is Coming Under Fire

Is the Gal Gadot movie getting a fair shake?

A couple of weeks ago, Shana O’Neil at Blastr created a tempest when she publicly questioned Warner Bros.’ marketing commitment to the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.

She pointed to a general lack of advertising and news coverage, specifically compared to recent Warner Bros. superhero releases like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, and wondered if the studio was keeping its foot off the gas because of the gender of the hero and the presumed target demographic.

Basically, she wondered, was Warner Bros. not giving this their full effort because Wonder Woman might not appeal to all the fanboys?

Intrigued by how the Wonder Woman campaign stacked up against other recent efforts, specifically those from Warner Bros./DC Entertainment, I looked back at the campaigns for BvS and Suicide Squad—as well as the ongoing push for Justice League coming later this year—to see if I could quantify any disparity.

Specifically, I looked at the volume of released marketing materials, not the engagement or spread of those assets. Here’s how things shook out.

How and When the Trailers Are Released

Here’s a quick recap of when the four most recent WB/DC movies, including Justice League, had their first trailers pop up for public consumption and discussion:

● Wonder Woman
Released at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, 11 months from release

● Suicide Squad
Released at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, 14 months from release

● Batman v Superman
Released April 2015, 11 months from release

● Justice League
Released at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, 14 months from release

Based on the above examples, Wonder Woman fits pretty well into existing patterns. WB gave it the brightest spotlight it could by debuting the first trailer at San Diego Comic-Con a little less a year prior to the release date. That’s in line with Batman v Superman, though other movies have gotten longer lead times. It seems to come down, with the exception of BvS, simply to where Comic-Con falls in relation to that release date.

Subsequent trailers also more or less fell in line with previous campaigns, debuting seven months, three months and then one month (give or take) from the release date. Wonder Woman achieved that level of parity with a new trailer that debuted May 7 during the MTV Movie & TV Awards broadcast.

TV Spots Have Been Less Frequent

Where O’Neil has a strong point is in the paid campaign. When her post was published, the studio had released three trailers but hadn’t really started the paid ad campaign for the movie yet. The first TV spot was released two days after that post, and whether there was a causal relationship or just coincidental timing, only a few WB execs likely know.

The paid TV portion of the Wonder Woman campaign has seen four spots released to date, and the entire effort will take place less than a month and a half out from the movie hitting theaters. Compare that to Batman v Superman’s 14 TV ads (at least those that were added to the movie’s official YouTube playlist), the first of which aired over two months prior to release.

Similarly, Suicide Squad (again, based on YouTube) got just six official TV spots beginning four months out. That campaign, though, felt bigger because of the steady stream of character-centric videos and other press activity, much of it focused on the on-set antics of Jared Leto. The Squad marketing was bigger, too, simply by virtue of it being a team movie with a variety of characters and big-name actors.

The Intangibles Are Important, Too

As I said, the Suicide Squad press cycle was kind of dominated by Jared Leto and his tendency to send dead animals to costars. That got very old very quickly, though, and there’s been no such hijinks around Wonder Woman, nor were there in the leadup to Batman v Superman.

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