It’s certainly happened to us around here, and we’re sure we’re not the only ones. You click play on a new trailer for a movie you’re interested in, it begins to run, and you’re five seconds in before you discover that you’re not watching the trailer. You’re watching a teaser for the trailer, which is attached to the trailer, that you’re about to watch. That's some Inception level marketing. But why? Apparently, the point is that our short attention spans can’t be trusted to watch an entire two minute trailer.
Most recently this "trailer trailer" was in front of the new Tom Hanks movie Inferno, as well as Jeff Bridges Hell or High Water. Grey Mumford, a vice president at CBS, who produced the latter film, took to Twitter to explain the purpose of the teaser.
The Observer reports that when Grey Mumford was pressed on it, he explained that "consumers" (read: those lazy millennials) only pause scrolling through their Facebook feed for a few seconds when they hit a movie trailer, so the studio needs to cram all the important information in the first few seconds. While Mumford himself says he’s not a fan of the practice, he says their data supports doing this, so not only can we expect to see this continue, it will likely only increase.
For those times when you see a trailer for the first time within your social media feed, we can understand why something like this might be done. Half the time, especially if you’re using your phone, it may not be clear what trailer just began to auto-play. Seeing that brief teaser before the trailer, along with the film’s title, it may be enough to entice you to watch the entire thing. Even if that doesn’t happen, it still got the movie’s name in front of your face, which is the ultimate goal of any trailer.
Still, at some point, there has to be a point at which you can no longer break a movie down into smaller parts, right? The release of trailers themselves are already events that fans are looking forward to with as much passion as the film release itself. We’re now used to getting 30 second long teasers released 24 hours before the full trailer in order to build excitement even more. Now we’re summarizing the entire two minute trailer in five seconds before the actual trailer begins. Check out an example below.
How much can we parse the material down to get all the important information across in the shortest period of time? We’d be all set for one second movie trailers, except we kinda already have those. They’re called posters.