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The Telegraph (16/Oct/2012) - This sly new marketing ploy for 'Hitchcock' is worthy of Hitchcock himself

(c) Scott Jordan Harris in The Telegraph (16/Oct/2012)

This sly new marketing ploy for 'Hitchcock' is worthy of Hitchcock himself

Last week, the trailer for Hitchcock – starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as the eponymous director and Dame Helen Mirren as his wife, Alma – was released online to much discussion. A few days later, to considerably less discussion, another promotional clip was uploaded to YouTube.

This second clip shows Alfred Hitchcock, or rather Hopkins playing Hitchcock, warning cinema patrons not to talk or text during the forthcoming movie. Presumably, it will play before films in the run up to Hitchcock’s release next month. And it’s a brilliant way to create a trailer to which cinema audiences will actually pay attention.

Many trailers are interesting and exciting for film fans but I’ve felt for a while that they are most interesting and exciting online, when viewers can choose how and when to watch them. In cinemas, films are now preceded by so many seemingly interminable trailers, and other adverts, that many filmgoers begrudge having to sit through them.

But a reminder to keep quiet and switch off your mobile is something that everyone who has bought a ticket for a film – except the unforgivable few who think texting and talking is suitable cinema behaviour – is always grateful to see. Not least because it often means the adverts have ended and the film is finally about to begin.

What’s more, a warning about silencing mobile phones is precisely the sort of thing Hitchcock would have recorded had cinemas of his day been cursed by the odious bleeping of BlackBerries and the bright rectangles of iPhone displays. The Master was famously fussy about how his films – particularly Psycho, the making of which is detailed in Hitchcock – were watched in cinemas and would have abhorred the idea of mobile phones being allowed into picture houses at all.

However, the comic irony of watching this clip is that it appears to have been recorded on a camera phone.

But that is, itself, likely to be a clever trick. The main reason anyone is aware of clip's existence is that Hitchcock’s PR people are emailing film journalists (though admittedly not me) and pointing them towards it in the hope they will write blog posts like this.

If the camera phone effect is fake, it demonstrates a perfect one-two punch of modern movie promotion: one old-fashioned trailer and one sly piece of online viral marketing. It’s a ploy of which Sir Alfred would have approved.