A Breakdown of the ‘Branded’ Trailer

It isn’t often that you see a trailer insert brand advertising schemes for a movie that emphasizes the immorality of branded products. The upcoming film, Branded, presents that, along with a whole bunch of other strange scenes in its trailers alone.

The science-fiction film, which opens September 7th, has debuted two trailers and some related advertising methods thus far. I’ve never seen any trailer like these, mainly due to their unusual tactics to involve its audience and the outright creepiness of the trailers themselves. To get a feel for what I’m talking about, here are the two trailers:

Branded Trailer #1

Branded Trailer #2

The trailers give a Donnie Darko-esque feel to the movie, but in an even more dystopian society. IMDB summarizes the trailers pretty well:

“Set in a dystopian future where corporate brands have created a disillusioned population, one man’s effort to unlock the truth behind the conspiracy will lead to an epic battle with hidden forces that control the world.”

But what about the weird flashes throughout the trailers? You may have noticed QR codes dominate those split-second flashes, but you probably assumed they’re just for show as part of the trailer. Wrong, you were. Here are the screenshots I could capture from those split-second flashes on the screen:

Each QR Code will redirect you to faux ad screens and even videos, such as this one. Mock brands such as Apple, Microsoft, and fast food chains are shown in the trailers to particularly single out those companies as corrupt and mind-controlling. It’s ironic that the film’s intention is to bash corporations for using ad campaigns to pollute the population with unnatural desires, yet the entire campaign for the film involves the latest technology in QR Codes and a flashy website. If you check out the website (www.brandedmovie.com) and head to the “About” section, it allows you to unlock a clip if you scan the QR Code that is presented. This was probably the biggest head-scratcher of the entire campaign for me, because when I unlocked the clip with my QR Code reader, the video had nothing to do with a story about a Russian man who had proposed a marketing idea to his boss at a street kiosk, which ended up backfiring and getting him fired. This was the focus of the clip (as stated):

3 Basic Rules of Marketing:

  1. Positioning
  2. Advertising
  3. Get paid up front (because no one believes in marketing)

Interesting. Once again, the marketing group within the film seems adamant on knocking every type of business, from major corporations to small street-side kiosks, and they maintain their position by using dozens of different QR Codes that lead to more mock brand companies. It’s either genius marketing or really stupid advertising. Either way, the QR Codes caught my eye, and they likely caught your eye, and they had me compelled to scan one after the other. Perhaps there is an intended connection between the film and the QR Codes, because the both the film and QR Codes present the future. While the film attempts to make a statement by showing the flaws in corporations, it proves one fact throughout it’s entire plan: big business is here and it’s here to stay.

Branded opens September 7, 2012. Stars Ed Stoppard, LeeLee Sobieski, Jeffery Tambor (Arrested Development, the Larry Sanders Show), and Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Exorcist).