7 Mar 2013


Stewart R's ongoing mission to avoid spoilers and trailers for Marvel's Iron Man 3 movie is in full flow, so how has his plan been faring since October?

Stewart R: Four and a bit months on and here I find myself, typing away at an update article brought about by a rather alarming wave in visually intrusive advertising for Marvel’s big banker of 2013, Iron Man 3. In my last piece on the subject I clearly outlined just why I was looking forward to avoiding all spoilers, teasers and tidbits leading up to that evening in late April when I sit in the cinema and let Shane Black’s direction of Tony Stark’s latest big screen adventures wash over me in a truly fresh and unknown shower of entertainment. Since that time I’ve had several bumps in the road to steer past, roll over or blast away in a forceful motion of denial and let me tell you, this is no easy task!

Before Christmas 2012 the going had been fairly easy. There was only really the much heralded trailers to avoid and the odd poster turning up on various comic book, movie and entertainment sites to be navigated around. I was confident that I could make it to April without really having to spend too much active energy maintaining my stance on a ‘zero-info’ policy. The only time I thought I might hit a bit of a spike would be the few days leading up to, and subsequent fallout after, the inevitable Super Bowl TV spot that would garner an awful lot of attention from the web-based media. Not only did I have the prospect of some of my daily visit sites getting a little over-excited, but Twitter would no doubt go nuts over the event itself AND host a million and one thoughts on what the TV spot delivered afterwards. As it happens I’m a big NFL fan and there was no way I was going to leave Twitter behind during the Super Bowl and so I skim read much of my feed that night and thankfully Beyonce and the power cut were bigger stories than any of the movie previews!

Danger averted and surely it would get easier from here?! Oh poor naive Stewart, how foolish and narrow-sighted you are!

Tony is rumoured to wear a suit in IM3
In the past month, I have become acutely aware of just how much of a promotional push Marvel are making when it comes to Iron Man 3. Sure, there are the standard banner adverts - to be expected - but there are also the wraparound adverts that hug the feed I’m trying to focus on, like a pouting dame of distraction in a gangster movie draped across her grim-jawed fella I’m trying to play cards against. My knowledge of how these embedded commercials work has me treading more carefully than Indiana Jones in one of his vexing archaeological traps, lest my cursor scroll accidentally and unleash a torrent of Iron Man temptation over my eyes.

And the problems don’t stop there. On at least two separate occasions in the past month I have been looking through headlines on certain popular comic book news sites, only to stumble across an Iron Man 3 related headline... that contains potent information of a certain spoilerific nature within that simple sentence. Not held back until the page is visited, right there smack dab in the dozen word headline! Now I know that it’s nearly impossible to get away without divulging new information in a headline - people would rarely bother with the news if that ever became the journalistic standard - yet I can’t help feel a little violated. My only option to avoid Iron Man 3 news can’t surely be to eschew all comic book and entertainment news for the entire six month period until release, can it?!
As time wears on I’m starting to realise that it quite probably is. Screenshots, posters and images from the film are becoming mainstays on certain sites, sometimes feeling like part of the sites themselves, resembling new sleeve tattoos aired for all to see and admire whether they really want to or not. Even this morning whilst on YouTube I was watching a channel and as it flicked automatically from one episode to the next I had to act quickly to prevent any more of the latest Iron Man 3 trailer from rolling onwards into my cerebellum. And like that, five seconds of new material were forced in there, forced into my brain to sit alongside all of the other little nuggets of IM3 information that I’ve either willingly taken in or had forced through my eyes and ears since the project was conceived and announced. And I know now that my next month of YouTube use will now carry with it a heavy cost as those same five seconds of Robert Downey Jr footage, at a very minimum, get drummed, over and over, like an incessant and unavoidable metronome into my subconscious.

Pepper may smile AND frown in IM3
Am I still looking forward to the film? Oh immensely so! It’s my most anticipated film of the year and I’m pretty sure that at the very least it will be two hours of smile-inducing popcorn entertainment. Even with the odd blip here and there I still know that I’m going to be heading into the theatre with far less pre-loading than many of my friends and other cinemagoers and I’m looking forward to trying to establish if there’ll be much of a difference in the experience from comic book fans’ differing perspectives. If anything, this is proving to be quite the eye opener on just how companies are maximising their use of online advertising to establish, enhance and inflate brand recognition! From a technological standpoint I’d say it was almost as invasive as Extremis itself!


Andy C said...



Tom P said...

That's what I was thinking!

Stewart R said...

You guys thinking they saw my article and were inspired? ^_^

Andy C said...

'Inspired' is a kind word for it!!