If the one-sheet for Simpson and Bruckheimer’s “Crimson Tide” looks familiar, it’s because moviegoers have seen it before – or at least something very similar.
The poster for Hollywood Pictures’ “Crimson Tide” uses a fire-engine red background with the stars’ faces (Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington) superimposed in black, and block letter typeface accompanied by an image of a submarine.
The ad is almost the spitting image of Paramount Pictures’ 1990 campaign for the actioner “The Hunt for Red October,” which used virtually the same graphic elements.
The “Crimson Tide” one-sheet was done by ad vendor BLT& Associates, which, as it happens, shares office space and works in conjunction with Kaleidoscope, the ad vendor that did the “Hunt” campaign.
“I think the reason people think it’s similar is because of the red and black tones. The reason this campaign is so effective is because it’s so simple,” according to Buena Vista’s VP of creative print services, Glenn Garland, who said there was no conscious effort to mimic “Hunt’s” campaign. “We knew it had similarities, but this has different images and a different typeface. We needed something really eye-catching like we did with the red suit and Tim Allen with The Santa Clause because the readability is important.”
“In 1990 we did a groundbreaking campaign for ‘Hunt for Red October,'” said Paramount Pictures’ president of worldwide marketing, Arthur Cohen. “Now, five years later, it’s interesting that another studio considers it so effective. Imitation is the best form of flattery.”