Yesterday, accompanying a news item about Tom Hardy discussing “Venom,” I added a clip of a new commercial from ESPN that featured the anti-hero. It was this odd mixture of athletes attempting to act, horrible jokes that fall flat, and the clear use of trailer footage super-imposed over the ad to make it seem like Tom Hardy actually showed up. At first glance, it seemed to be an anomaly in the marketing strategy. Some sort of odd, random deal that Sony made with ESPN to help promote the big-budget superhero film.
Boy, was I wrong.
In retrospect, instead of being an anomaly, the ESPN ad was just one symptom of a larger problem — Sony is trying anything to market “Venom.” And to prove that point, international Sony social media accounts have revealed some truly weird marketing materials for the film. While Sony-Prime seems to go the traditional route, with the random clips, a couple of the smaller Sony accounts seem to be going off the rails trying to market a superhero film where the main hero bites the heads off of villains (in a completely PG-13 way).
READ MORE: ‘Venom’ Star Tom Hardy Discusses PG-13 Rating & If He’d Like To See The Character Crossover With The Avengers
Let’s take a look at Sony India, who posted this odd Twitter video, with the caption “How would your mom react if she comes across your inner anti-hero?” What follows is a video of a text conversation between you and “your mom” as she asks if you’re eating on your own for dinner. The reply is simple, “Yes, will feast on some bad guys on my way home.” You know, because when you’re Venom, you have the wherewithal to be courteous to your mom’s texts, apparently. “Mom” asks if you’re drunk (naturally), and you reply “no.” Then, because I guess this is something mom’s do, she asks for a selfie to prove your soberness. To which, the video shows a “selfie” of Venom. Mom of course goes attempts a version of a text-message-exorcism(?). It’s completely batshit crazy.
READ MORE: ‘Venom’ Director Hints At “Unrated” Cut In Light Of PG-13 Rating & Gives Update On ‘Zombieland 2’
But even more ludicrous and odd is what Sony posted on their official Chinese Weibo account. Courtesy of Twitter user Darren Mooney, we see that Sony China has decided the best way to market the movie about Tom Hardy losing control of his body to an alien symbiote that wants to wreak havoc on the entire city of San Francisco is to show cartoon art depicting Venom as a…model boyfriend?
We have Venom using his symbiote powers to hold the smartphone for a great selfie with what I assume is his “squad.” There’s Venom using his powers to create an umbrella for a woman during a storm, with noticeably filed teeth and no creepy tongue. And how dare you call yourself a good partner unless you carry all your girlfriend’s shopping bags? Venom is clearly here to listen to your problems as you shop. Lastly, and this is obviously aimed at the Asian demographic, Venom is shown shielding his girlfriend while she rides the subway.
READ MORE: ‘Venom’ Director Won’t Admit Spider-Man’s Absence, As Eminem Releases New Song From Soundtrack
So, is Venom the devil or a world’s best romantic partner? Maybe he’s the latest hire for ESPN? Well, if you use those marketing materials as proof, he’s all of the above.
Over in the States, outside of that ESPN ad, there’s also news that Walmart is going to copy “Deadpool 2” and make “Venom”-inspired packaging for DVDs like “Underworld” and “Ghostbusters.” Because that makes sense? Also, we get a new clip from the film, which shows the character that you’re supposed to be rooting for killing multiple police officers with no remorse for just doing their job. So, I guess, really, he’s a mindless killer that’s hellbent on eating people at random, no matter if they’re public servants attempting to apprehend a clear maniac?
“Venom” hits theaters on October 5. Who knows what to expect at this point?
How would your mom react if she comes across your inner anti-hero?
Comment now & see #Venom on Oct 5. pic.twitter.com/3opcPuMXVz
— Sony Pictures India (@SonyPicsIndia) September 25, 2018
These are from Sony Pictures’ official Chinese Weibo account, explaining why Venom would make a good boyfriend.
I kinda want THIS movie. pic.twitter.com/xQzouqN5Pb
— Darren Mooney (@Darren_Mooney) September 25, 2018
We're taking over @Walmart with #Venom-inspired packaging on some of your favorite movies and exclusive @OriginalFunko Pop figures – head in store to check it out today. pic.twitter.com/0vlgvLDcam
— Venom Movie (@VenomMovie) September 26, 2018