Using Films for Political Campaigns: Good for Politicians, or Bad for the Films?

You might have seen Trump’s MARVELlous campaign video. Ha ha. Not really. Anyway, twitter account ‘Trump War Room’ which claims to be managed by ‘Team Trump’ released a video campaign promoting Trump’s potential re-election in 2020.   

It shows Donald’s face on Thanos’s body, in an (apparently) very famous scene from the Avengers film. I actually saw this film and it still doesn’t make much sense to me. (My attention span only goes so far when Julia Roberts isn’t involved). Basically, the jist is, Donald /Thanos declares that his re-election in 2020 is “inevitable” and then clicks his fingers (because that’s how Thanos kills people apparently). Yep.

Anyway, this lil stunt didn’t go down so well (SHOCK) for a couple of reasons:

1. Thanos is a baddie.

2. SPOILER ALERT: Thanos dies seconds after this scene.

3. People don’t really like when politicians ruin use a film they love to promote their questionable political agendas.

4. Because (some) people consider Trump to be a baddie, too.

So yeah, Trump compares himself to an infamous villain that no one but himself likes, who vows to wipe out all of his enemies. And wants to kill everyone. And then dies. After he’s wiped out by his enemies. No, it wasn’t the Democrats who came up with this. It was actually Trump’s team. I know. 

Now, Trump’s not the only one doing this (that’s the most defence I can give him). Britain’s Donald Trump Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, did something similar the other day. Only it was worse. He tried to associate himself with the iconic classic, “Love Actually”. How DARE he taint the name of one of the GREATEST films of all time. Despicable.

And for obvious and similar reasons, people weren’t happy.

For one, the actual film creators don’t want associations unless they’ve been agreed and paid for. (A lil thing called “copyright infringement” is a bit of an issue, you see).

Jim Starlin (the man who invented Thanos) wasn’t happy at all either, (again, SHOCK). He said, “After my initial feeling of being violated, seeing that pompous fool using my creation to stroke his infantile ego, it finally struck me that the leader of my country and the free world actually enjoys comparing himself to a mass murderer. How sick is that?” I hear ya, Jim.

Plus, when politicians use a film we love to promote themselves, it doesn’t make us like them. It makes us not like the film.

It’s like when brands use songs in their ads, and then play it to death. Any time you hear that song, you get flashbacks to the ad. So while Trump might want people to think of him when they watch Avengers. People don’t want to think about him. Wonder why. Sure Pharrell Williams has already told Trump to stop playing his song “Happy”, because people might think they’re associated. Poor Pharrell.

Saying that, when you’re known as a “controversial” figure, some negative tweets probably won’t phase you. And, doing something like this does get a lot of attention. Do you think someone like Jim Starlin would feel the need to speak out about his outrage to a standard, promo video of Trump? Unlikely. This got the public, celebrities, and news outlets talking. And, they get to annoy their opponents, which is probably a bonus for them.

So, maybe using popular films to promote political campaigns does work. When you’re someone like Trump or Johnston, what have you got to lose anyway?

Just please, PLEASE, leave ‘Love Actually’ alone.