Though it won't appear "at movie theaters everywhere" until June 7, the film version of the Peter Benchley bestseller "The Deep" is already making movie history of a sort. With its ads.
It's not that "The Deep's" advertising budget is so staggering, but that nearly 10 per cent of it, $450,000 worth, is being spent on magazines. And not just the same silly ad for every magazine, but five separate full-color ads, carefully targeted for specific magazine audiences.
"I don't think anybody has ever gone that extensively into magazines before," says Marvin Levy, the film's advertising publicity project director. "It is unique."
After looking over studies characterizing the moview audience, scrutinizing magazine demographics and doing things like eliminating TV Guide because it has small pages and serves a television audience, the "Deep" folks found it suprisingly simple to divide America's film-going population into five easy-to-remember categories:
Lusty Men - the readers of Playboy and Penthouse were treated to a spicy photograph of star Jacqueline Bisset wearing a very wet, very form-fitting T-shirt. Levy calls this their "excitement and sex appeal" ad.
Romantic Women - a misty closeup of Bisset about to kiss Nick Nolte, her gorgeous hunk of a co-star, along with the caption, "Their Love and Lives at Risk," went into McCall's, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. "That one emphasizes the love interest," says Levy, "what half the articles in those magazines are about anyway."
Love-Struck Teens the very proper young ladies who read Seventeen and Teen were given a pin-up picture of aforementioned hunk Nolte along with the lines, "Their love is very new. The treasure is very old." No ad was targeted for males of the same age, largely because since "they don't spend as much time with hairspray, lipstick and nail polish" they don't have a magazine to call their own.
Underwater Freaks - a picture of three people in scuba gear holding an underwater torch went into Sports lustrated, presumed home of well-to-do outdoor types.
Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch America - Time, Newswekk and people got an ad with the same caption the readers of Sports Illustrated - anything worth the terror of deep?" - but with a slightly different picture that emphasizes a lof of peving around in the sand. "Since you started with a literary property," reasoned Levy, "it was not illogical to do to these publications."
"The Deep" was an ideal choice to use a magazine campaign on because like "Jaws," it would open in hundreds of theaters around the country on the same day, and because the shooting had finished soon enough to leave the advertising people time to make the very early magazine dead lines. "With films shot in other parts of the world that no one gets to see until two weeks before they opne, this wouldn't have been practical," Levy explained.
Aside from logistics, "The Deep" picked this approach as one way to combat the increasingly high cost of TV, for though "The Deep" is committed to what Levy calls "a $1 million network TV buy," those big bucks mean "you're limited in the amount of TV advertising you can do."
And when you get the right down to it, "The Deep" leaned toward magazines because they knew it was something nodboy else would do. "We have tremendous competition, there's a raft of pictures coming out this summer, most of them costing even more than our's did," says Levy. "We wanted an opportunity to have something out in advance, something that would be seen and would stay around.