Snakes on a Plane: Bad Is The New Good

by Marianne Richmond on August 22, 2006

Yes, I am really writing a second post on Snakes on a Plane. Why? Because my 13 year old son asked me this morning if he could go see it. His reason? "Because I heard it was really stupid and I want to go see what its about."

And that just about sums up the impact of all that blogger buzz translated into the spoken word of the target demo (Mack pointed out today that I wasn’t in the target demo, but I am the mother of two card carrying members of the target demo so I do think I have a proxy opinion).

Now, Seth Godin pointed out today that awareness doesn’t translate into purchases. He said, " I fear that people are missing a fundamental truth: just because people know who you are doesn’t mean they’re going to buy what you sell." It is indeed a fundamental truth that seems to be frequently forgotten, or at least disregarded. But, what about "Because I heard it was really stupid and I want to go see what its about."

Well, I asked my son who else was going to the movie he named two friends. When he says "I heard" it doesn’t mean he read a blog (THAT he thinks defines stupid), read it in the newspaper, or saw it on the evening news. Most likely he saw the trailer at another movie (he has gone about twice a week this summer) and/or saw commercials on ESPN. He and his friends most likely "talked" about the movie on IMs. It is highly possible that their were more than the three of them "talking" about the movie and "how stupid" it was online. OK, the sample size is small. But, I think it gives credence to the "its the experience, stupid" contingent. Mack, you called it

Jackie Huba wrote a post about the five lessons to be learned from Snakes on a Plane. Number 5: "The experience is the difference between profit and failure. SoaP was not just a film but a film-going experience…. some people said it was the most fun they’d had at a movie in years. That’s welcome news for an industry whose revenues keep declining."

So, when I picked my son up from the movie he got in the car, grinned and said, "It was awesome, mom."

"Awesome?"

"Yes, he said, It was so bad it was hysterically funny."  And there you have it….it was funny. They had fun. OK, maybe not THE "film going experience" but a positive nonetheless. They are not going to go out and buy rubber snakes and go see it twenty more times.They are not planning an audience participation party. But, they will tell their friends, who will tell their friends…..This may just make the difference between profit and failure.

Now, I am not taking back anything else I said previously,  even, " I think part of the experience is a good movie; a good experience requires a good movie." I will revise the definition of "good movie." They thought it was FUNNY….this made it a good movie. This made it a good experience. In my opinion, Seth Godin is right: "The best way to succeed is to have a really great product." OK, well this one we will just call a good experience. Bad is the new good. Or the new awesome.

I still believe that bloggers could focus on more deserving movies. Like Karl Long wrote, "Dear Blogosphere, Can We Promote A Better Movie Than SoaP to Promote Next Time?"  But then again, the MSM is hanging onto the Jon Benet Ramsey/Mark Karr story for dear life. John Stewart nailed that one. CNN, Fox, and MSNBC really didn’t cover the plane carrying Mark Karr taxing down the runway, live. Did they?

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