The Watchmen PR Failure

Last night, I wandered along to the South Bank to see what was being touted as a fairly major PR stunt for the forthcoming Watchmen movie. The event was billed as:

“Dr Manhattan, the blue skinned, super-powered being beloved of all Watchmen fans, will rise above the murky depths of the Thames to a height of over 70 feet and tower over all those who dare to attend.”

Wow I thought – and while not overly excited about the movie, this just had to be seen.

Double checked with the Port of London website to see where the barge would be moored (a handy tip if ever attending a river event!) and wandered along to have a watch.

Got there a bit before half past seven and various people were already securing prime spots on the Hungerford Bridge – which seemed to be the best viewing point and I quickly ran off to grab a coffee and returned to get a good location. There was a barge blowing a huge screen of water into the air and projecting various images onto the wall of mist – along with some spotlights whizzing around for dramatic effect.

Watchmen promo - 2

Looked like it could be quite good!

Watchmen promo - 2

The bridge filled up with various types, but the majority had that stereotypical look of the sort of person who will like the movie – and as Big Ben tolled the 8 O’Clock for the event, the bridge went quiet in anticipation.

Nothing happened. Hmm, wait a bit – 8:05, nothing going on; 8:10 and still nothing; 8:15 and yet nothing is happening – just the same video on a wall of water about 20 ft high. Ohh, spotlights started blinking, so excitement rose – but nothing happened. I knew the warning about the barge on the PoL website said it finished by 8:30, so as the crowd started to wander off disappointed I hung around a while longer.

Suddenly, a huge yellow smile was beamed onto the Shell Building – gasps of delight as the event was about to start – then it was switched off.

8:30 came and went, with no sign that anything was going to happen.

It was a freezing cold night and despite constantly putting alternate hands inside jackets to try and keep them warm, by now I was so numb from the cold that I could barely use the camera – and was desperate to use the loo.

At 8:40, the bridge was manned by just a few die-hard fans and random people who stopped to have a look as they walked over the river – but I decided to give up by then.

What could have been a really impressive spectacle turned into a PR disaster – which could have been mitigated if the PR firm had some staff on the bridge explaining what was happening. But no PR people were around, no information was provided, and after over an hour of freezing on the bridge, I had had enough.

Not impressed – and no chance to get the photo of Dr Manhattan rearing up over Big Ben that  I had hopped for.

Watchmen promo - 3

« « Previous Blog Post Next Blog Post » »

Sign up for my free weekly email newsletter

Sample Issue

8 Comments

  1. petoskystone

    no pr people = not even a good story behind a lead-balloon failure. hope someone is embarssed over this.

  2. IanVisits

    The Telegraph seems convinced it was an amazing spectacle.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/4942752/Watchmen-Dr-Manhattan-rises-out-of-Thames.html

    …although that reads like a press release/agency copy and not an actual report from someone who was there.

  3. SilkSpectre

    I was quite impressed I thought it looked fantastic! I dunno what you’re talking about. Maybe I had a better angle to look at from.

  4. IanVisits

    I was on the Hungerford Bridge right in front of the display.

    If I am told there will be a 70ft tall display at 8pm – then I don’t think it unreasonable to expect that.

  5. petoskystone

    i’m with you–i would expect to see a 70ft. worth of lights!! of course, i mainly want to see if such a display would distract drivers/pilots. but then, i have been called perverse.

  6. That thing looks really cool.

  7. yellowstone

    Ignore the negatives – this deffo looked brilliant on the night, there are loads better images on the web than those here. If anyone had bothered to move about a bit you would have seen Manhattan in all his doctoral splendidness. It looked like he was emerging out of some wormhole in hyper space or something. Brilliant. And PR failure??!!.. It’s everywhere – do a search on Google

  8. IanVisits

    Regardless of the photo quality – when told something will “loom over us”, I don’t expect to spend all the time looking DOWN at it.

    I expected some looming to occur – and there was a very noticeable lack of it.

    The fact that the bulk of the people around me were expecting “something big” to happen at 8pm suggests that I am not along in being disappointed with the lack of looming that resulted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

web