Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Selling the Movies by Janet Moat
Introduction The Star Image Fashion Marketing Techniques Graphic Styles Social History
Fact & Fiction Conclusion        
< Previous Page
Marketing Techniques

By the 1940s, press books had developed a complex and sophisticated battery of techniques to promote a film. Many of these recur time and time again. The story was often rendered as a strip cartoon, as in A Tale of Two Cities. Other ploys might include a painting contest for children, a quiz or a crossword. No angle was ever left unexploited: there was even a tie-up with car dealers to compare travel facilities in Dicken's time with 'the comfort of modern cars'.

Merchandising, too, formed a big part of the publicity campaign. In the publicity for One Million Years B.C., for example, consumers were promised 'a million years of luck' if they bought Dam Trolls, and the 'million' tag was appended to a number of ads for local shops and services. Even a top class release like Hamlet exploited a tie-up with Pollock's famous toy theatres.

Next Page >

Click on the images to view enlarged versions

Image from A Tale of Two Cities Image from One Million Years BC
Image from Hamlet