The Marketing Scheme of a Lifetime: The Surprising Success of Sonic

Okay, guys, just hear me out.

Now, this is all conjecture on my part. I don’t know if any of this is true. My imagination has run wild with “what ifs,” and it’s driving me insane. So I’d thought I would share with you the crazy idea running rampant in my brain.

So you all remember when the Sonic the Hedgehog poster was first revealed, right? Almost immediately, we were thrown off by the strange body proportions of Sonic’s silhouetted form and we feared what that would portend for Sonic’s entire look.

And boy, were we right.

That first trailer was a disaster.

Not only were we given the strangest musical accompaniment ever heard during a movie trailer, Sonic just looked bad. His smallish eyes and tooth-filled smile creeped us out to no end.

All signs pointed to Sonic the Hedgehog being a disastrous movie.

But then the promise came. The filmmakers sent out a statement saying they were going to take some time to redesign Sonic, make him more palatable for human eyes. Fans of the franchise were skeptical, but appreciative of the clear acknowledgment that their voices were being heard. At a time when Game of Thrones fans were being “ignored,” Sonic fans could create all the memes they wanted that at least their franchise was taking fans into account.

Next, the new trailer came out, and it was the exact opposite of the first. Sonic looked like Sonic, and the music playing in the background was actually relevant to the character. We breathed a sigh of relief, but prepared ourselves for a movie we were still unsure of.

Finally, the movie released in theaters, and audiences loved it.

I went to see it with a group of friends ready to laugh ourselves to tears over how bad it would be(the same group I went to see Cats with), and imagine our utter shock at actually having a good time. Sonic the Hedgehog is by no means the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it has the distinct honor of being completely satisfactory, especially given what we expected.

But that got me thinking…

What if it was all on purpose?

What if the film’s marketing team purposefully lowered our standards by showcasing absolutely horrible materials to us, and then reversing course and releasing an average movie?

I know this is crazy, and no reasonable marketing team would do this (probably).

But the Below Average person that I am can’t help but marvel at the possibility of someone being so ingenious as to use below-averageness to blow people’s expectations out of the water.

5 thoughts on “The Marketing Scheme of a Lifetime: The Surprising Success of Sonic”

  1. Interesting theory, but I just think they screwed up. I work in marketing and the way some ego creative director goes, I think they’ll have storyboarded it and agreed it was a genius idea because, you know, he/she is a creative director so must know best.

    The same for Cats. The same with New Coke in 1985, which I wrote about years ago and had some bloke claiming it was a marketing exercise.

    In marketing and creative industries there are a lot of dumb decisions which, inadvertently, have a way of working out.

    Liked by 4 people

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