Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Thoughts: Circus Afro; or Madagascar 3's Genius Marketing
Yeah, you've seen this. You've seen this fucking commercial, or at least this fucking clip. And if you're anything like me, you fucking hate it so fucking much.
But here's the thing: people hated it so much that they began to love it. It became a weaponized joke. You'd start singing it or you'd post the picture of it, and everyone would rage at you because you got that fucking song stuck in their head and couldn't get it out. It became a new Rickroll, and arguably a better Rickroll.
The Circus Afro dance is annoying, it is narmy, and--worst of all--it is catchy. That is exactly what gives it so much potential for a meme. And a meme it became! A meme that, as part of a frequently aired commercial, became prevalent that even the people who don't know anything about memes can and will recognize it.
Madagascar 3 looks stupid. It looks so incredibly stupid. It's a type of movie that most people will look at and say "does there really need to be another Madagascar movie?" It looks objectively bad. And yet, the commercial manages to weaponize that badness. The entire Circus Afro sequence, like I said, had potential to become a meme. And that's exactly what the team marketing Madagascar 3 intended to happen. They knew they had a pile of shit on their hands, and they knew that they could capitalize on it somehow.
You see, we live in an age where ironic enjoyment of things goes beyond a joke. People will watch something bad for the sake of watching something bad. That's what shock films like The Human Centipede and films full of bile like The Room are for. If The Room wasn't so famous for how bad it was, would you even consider seeing it? No. But right now, there are people who are looking at this clip and thinking "Wow. Madagascar 3 looks terrible. I want to watch it so that I can laugh about just how terrible it is with people."
Yes, folks. The marketing team at Madagascar 3 is selling their movie on the entire premise that it is bad. The Circus Afro dance is an incredibly stupid trainwreck that makes you think "how could Chris Rock have fallen to this level?" and then makes you curious enough to entertain the possibility of actually going to see how far Chris Rock has fallen. The catchiness ensures that you remember it and don't just simply wave the commercial off.
Madagascar 3 set out to sell a bad movie on the premise that it is bad by creating a meme. And some of us will fall for it. Some of us will actually go and watch Madagascar 3 for the Circus Afro, just like some of us watched Death Note for the potato chip scene or played Portal because of the cake and Companion Cube. That, my friends, is genius marketing. I applaud whoever made Madagascar 3's trailer. You, sir(s) and/or madam(s), are brilliant. I applaud you, but I will not fall for your wily ploy.