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The Art of the Teaser

From Posters to Trailers, it’s a Fine Line.


Movie shocker
Image via Getty Images

One aspect of advertising that we rarely touch on here is movie, game and television advertising and marketing. Which is something that will be put right over the coming months. We are avid consumers of these forms of entertainment, and we love the marketing that goes with them. From the toys and promotional tie-ins, to the merchandise and posters, we can't get enough of it.

Movie and television studios will throw many millions of dollars behind their creations, in an effort to build hype, buzz and feed the social media channels. And often, they have to do it with little or no assets from the product itself.

As anyone in the entertainment industry will tell you, the marketing often has to be out there months, or even years, before the movie, documentary, game or TV show is even near completion. And that leads to some creative, and often ingenious, solves for posters and "teaser trailers."

Examples of Great Teaser Trailers

There have been some incredibly creative solves to the teaser dilemma over the years. On the one hand, movie studios want to create buzz for the movie and get people talking about it. On the other, they don't want to give too much away, or, they simply don't have any footage to work with.

In that case, it takes some lateral thinking and some clever editing to put something together that gets hearts pounding and minds racing. Here are some of the best:

The Shining

Stanley Kubrick's incredibly haunting and nightmarish movie needed something just as scary. The trailer is one scene, most of it a static shot. But oh, what a finale.

See The Shining teaser trailer here.

Jurassic Park

Using footage shot just for the trailer, Spielberg's CGI masterpiece created intrigue without showing a single dinosaur. Great stuff.

See the Jurassic Park teaser trailer here


Sir Ridley Scott recently used the same stunning sound design in his trailers for Prometheus, the Alien prequel (of sorts). And we can see why. Chilling.

See the Alien teaser trailer here

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Once again, footage was specially shot just for the teaser. Answering the questions of all fans, namely "how do they build them?" the teaser got every jazzed.

See the Terminator 2 teaser trailer here


Bad timing meant that this teaser was pulled shortly after it was released. The scene involving the twin towers was obviously too sensitive for some people. But now, it can be seen for what it was…a truly inspired teaser with footage shot just for this project.

See the Spiderman teaser trailer here


The movie did nothing for most fans of the original Godzilla. And to be honest, even people who knew nothing of the monster weren't impressed. But, following on the heels of Jurassic Park, this massive foot stomp makes the T-Rex foot look like a chicken. Again, footage was shot just for this.

See the Godzilla teaser trailer here

The Da Vinci Code

The movie disappointed fans of the book, and fans of good movies. It was slow, Tom Hanks seemed to phone in his performance. BUT, the trailer was a work of art. Taking inspiration from the opening titles of Tim Burton's Batman, it was a nice way to encapsulate the buzz around the book and the coming movie.

See The Da Vinci Code teaser trailer here

Star Trek (2009)

When you reboot an entire franchise, you'd better do a good job. J.J. Abrams let Trek fans know the beloved characters were in good hands with this teaser. None of this footage appeared in the film. It had already done its job. Stunning.

See the Star Trek teaser trailer here

The Dark Knight

Following the success of Batman Begins, and with hype surrounding the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker, this spot was put together using only soundbites from the early production reels. The result gave Batman fans chills.

See The Dark Knight teaser trailer here

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