Mel Gibson's recent exploits have been well documented, so there's really no point in repeating any of it. Chances are, you've already formed an opinion about the man, and it's far from positive. Regardless, the man can still be a force of nature in front of the camera, and in light of recent circumstances, his new dark comedy, The Beaver, could be transcendently hilarious and possibly marketable if approached properly. No joke.
Gibson plays a man who decides to communicate only through a beaver puppet on his hand, which to me sounds like a "South Park" fan's wet dream: Part Mr. Garrison, part "Rob Schneider is The Stapler!" Forget everything about Gibson as a human being. The movie's in capable hands with Jodie Foster directing; it could be great. Maybe I'm just twisted, but the idea of Mel Gibson wearing a beaver puppet for 90 minutes is even funnier now than it was a month ago. This is a "Funny or Die" sketch turned into a feature. Why not hit "South Park" and "Funny or Die" fans as hard as possible? Why not advertise on The Onion, SouthParkStudios.com, CollegeHumor.com, TMZ, even on RadarOnline, which broke the recent story with the audio recording.
It'll all come down to building up buzz. So, the public hates Gibson. Does it really matter? We love to discuss things that piss us off; thus, the million or so articles about LeBron James' handling of free agency. Everyone likes to chime in with their own opinion. The Beaver could be the ultimate water cooler conversation. Who's not going to at least want to watch the trailer to this? Let's be honest.
I completely disagree with this Forbes article. Trying to hide the fact that Gibson is the star is just lame inside-the-box thinking. The man is notorious right now! All the more reason why this could be one of the most polarizing comedies ever.
Instead of trying to dust the fact that Gibson is the star under the rug, why not play up the concept of him being a crazy jerk? The movie is called The Beaver, for chrissakes. There are opportunities here, and here are some concepts I'd put into play:
Remember the Forgetting Sarah Marshall wild postings from a couple years back? The ones written in faux Sharpie that were everywhere and said "I Hate You Sarah Marshall," etc. A similar concept could apply to The Beaver and Mel Gibson. I'm imagining billboards, wild posts, and web banners, with copy lines like "Mel Gibson Put His Foot In His Beaver Again," "Mel Gibson Likes Beaver More Than Jews," "Mel Gibson is a Beaver Face," "Mel Gibson = Huge Beaver," "Mel Gibson Sucks Beaver," etc. Maybe I still think like a 14-year old going through puberty, but these would get my attention. If there was ever a movie meant to aggressively appeal to the lowest common denominator, it's Mel Gibson's The Beaver right now. (Say it again to yourself: "Mel Gibson's The Beaver" and try not to at least smirk.)
I'd love to see a sponsored Twitter account, similar to @GaryJBusey (a total spoof), called @MelGibsonsBeaver that tweets absurd nonsense no less than twenty times a day. Comedians are some of the most active and followed people on Twitter. Aziz Ansari's already chimed in on Mel Gibson's recent troubles. If he were to retweet an @MelGibsonsBeaver tweet or two, the account would be more than worth it's while. And of course, @MelGibsonsBeaver could have a Facebook fan page directly linked to the Twitter page...even if this could end up serving as a perfect example of why there should be a Dislike button.
Anyway, people are predicting this movie to be a flop, if it even goes wide at all. If the marketing is timid, it definitely will be one. Mel Gibson's never been more notorious and polarizing. Why not at least be bold and compelling with the outdoor and social media marketing to drive to the trailer?
I would absolutely love to hear any other ridiculous marketing ideas you may have for Mel Gibson's The Beaver. Please leave them in the comments section, and thanks for reading.
Follow Abe Schwartz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AbeSchwartz