The Art of the Sell: The Big Sick

These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art. 

big sick
I believe this image originated with the Los Angeles Times.

I’m planning to get to my review of The Big Sick tomorrow. As a precursor, I want to offer a commendation to the sales pitch that’s led up to and accompanied the release of the comedy penned by spouses Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. In this, I don’t mean the sorts of more traditional promotional materials. The movie poster is mediocre at best, and the trailer isn’t much better.

Instead, those behind The Big Sick — led by Nanjiani and Gordon — have done an amazing job of using every other avenue at their disposal to tell the compelling story behind the film. Nanjiani and Gordon have seemingly been everywhere together, proving effortlessly engaging on podcasts, public radio staples, and in venerable outposts of celebrity celebration. That part of the campaign has been accompanied by the pair’s expert use of their respective social media presences, marked by effusive fan interaction and joyful wonder at the new world they find themselves in.

If there’s another recent instance of a film’s marketing campaign being simultaneously so ubiquitous and yet earnestly genial — defined by a humble gratitude that never feels calculated —  I can’t recall it. By the time The Big Sick made it to my town, I’d developed a rooting interest in it, as if it were crafted by a family member or a lifelong friend. Maybe that was someone’s devious plan all along. In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter. Held up agains the bludgeoning insistence of other marketing campaigns, the affection I feel for The Big Sick — and the people who made it — is a lovely feeling.

Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Art of the Sell” tag.