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The Power of Marketing

Riverdale and Jennifer's Body

By Alexandrea CallaghanPublished 2 months ago 4 min read

In a world where media surrounds us in a way that is inescapable there is so much that exists that it can’t possibly all be good. Now not everything that is branded as “bad” by the general public actually had to suffer that fate. Sometimes the problem isn’t the cast, plot or dialogue, sometimes it's simply the marketing. The marketing of a project can kill it or sell it more than the project itself. If a television show is marketed as a teen drama then that's the drama that you expect, however if a project is branded as satire then it's easier as a writer or showrunner as you haven;t boxed yourself into a specific genre. Both Riverdale and Jennifer’s Body get a bad rap, one because it is in fact bad but would be brilliant if marketed differently and the latter brilliant but marketed so poorly a majority of the initial audience missed the point.

Case Study #1: Jennifer's Body

Jennifer’s Body is widely regarded as a poor B rated horror film, when it should be regarded as the most brilliant use of satire in media history. What Jennifer’s Body really is a satirization of how women are normally portrayed in horror movies. The movie doesn’t just reclaim women's sexuality but it also is a much better portrayal of female friendships then we ever see in the horror genre. Having the hot cheerleader be a demon and feed on the boys of the town was a brilliant spin on the hot girl dying first. Having her “plain” and less popular friend be the hero was a perfect deflection from either woman being a damsel in distress. There is a reason that this film is a cult classic, with a fanbase of mostly women. When watched through the correct lens Jennifer’s Body is a brilliant piece of media, impactful, witty and emotional. Jennifer’s Body should be taught in film classes, and it always deserves a rewatch.

Case Study #2 : Riverdale

Teen drama’s have always been on the edge of what can be objectively considered good and bad. They’re only saving grace is that they are generally character driven stories. However the more recent resurgence of character driven, teen targeted dramas are on a new level of terrible. They’ve lost all semblance of structure, reasonable suspension of disbelief and actual character development. And here is where the problem lies, where is the line between drama and satire? Well Riverdale completely erases that line yet they don’t acknowledge it. See here’s the thing, Riverdale is one of the most memeable shows that circulates the internet, and that would be simply brilliant if the production team was at all aware of that. Had Riverdale been marketed as a satire of teen dramas the show would be considered hilarious, and brilliant and more then that the showrunners and writers would have full creative license to do just about whatever they want with the plot and characters, but the minute they decided to take themselves seriously the show became a joke. More than that lets take into consideration the source material, Archie Comics; the light, fun, and often goofy adventures of Archie, Veronica, Jughead and Betty. This show could have been multifaceted brilliant commentary; Teen drama satire, a visual representation of how the things we find comfort in in childhood never hold the same comfort as adults, how the rose colored glasses of our younger years are often blind to the realities of the world….so many options for this show to have depth and meaning and the kicker is that absolutely nothing about the actual show would have to change to depict any of that. The only adjustment would have to come from the marketing, the interviews, the way the show was advertised and talked about by its creators and cast members. And considering most of its older cast members have been on teen dramas themselves, you would think that thought might have occurred to someone.

The success or failure of a show or movie can be entirely dependent on the marketing. Branding is just as important as any portion of the production and if done incorrectly it can sink the project.

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About the Creator

Alexandrea Callaghan

Certified nerd, super geek and very proud fangirl.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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