Posted in Blog

The Girl on the Uninspired Marketing Train

Girl on the train poster
Movie Poster: Source

“Based on the thriller that shocked the world”

I didn’t read the book of the same title by Paul Hawkins when it was released. I saw the trailer and my interest was piqued. It was tempting enough to encourage me to read it.

With such an exciting and intriguing story, the structure of the marketing lacked an engaging narrative.

By knowing the casting while reading the book, picturing the action was easy (though I wouldn’t imagine anyone thinking Emily Blunt is ‘distasteful’). The trailer was just phenomenal, and sets up the action so well. Honourable mention to that song, Kanye West’s Heartless. GAH! Such chills – phenomenal music and film pairing.

So they have the basic social media profiles: Facebook, TwitterInstagram and a website.

The marketing materials the team behind the film have produced are visually amazing and engaging; there is no doubt about that. But the content they are producing for the social media profiles has been traditional and dare I say lacklustre. This film is a cinematic adaption of the book and was treated as such, there was nothing added in its rebirth as a film.

With the style of the piece, I’m surprised they weren’t more creative with the marketing. There were so many opportunities for engagement and heightening intrigue, but instead they took the traditional promotional material and provided some simple, thematic tags.

Girl on the train instagram marketing
Taken from The Girl on the Train Instagram account

While I did discuss Magnificent Seven earlier (also starring Haley Bennett) and mentioned that they didn’t need anything outside of the trailer and traditional promotional material, the genre of that film was different, with different audiences who are less likely to seek further narrative.

Not only was The Girl on the Train a successful piece of literature but its themes of voyeurism, psychological identity crisis and addiction (amongst other things) are prominent in our cultural landscape today.

Perhaps these could have been explored further, if not directly then artistically.

If the company is expecting the film to be a success, maybe they don’t want to put the energy into further advertising. I think due to the popularity of the book and the star power behind the film, there didn’t appear to have been a need to do anything further creatively. Which is sad.

Something about the marketing process feels rushed. This review by SlashFilm suggests that some characters are ‘painted too broadly’, and I would suggest that to be the same as the marketing efforts.

I wonder if they encouraged the comparisons to Gone Girl as it was free publicity and would draw on an exisiting audience. Although it also represents the minimal capacity the greater public have with appreciating flawed female characters in popular narrative contexts highlighted in Paula Hawkins’ The Guardian and Time interviews.

Posters for Gone Girl

I really enjoyed the book and the film but the marketing for the film almost alienated me. It was delivered as a product of the mainstream machine, painting its audience with broad brushstrokes of people who seek no further than what is put in front of them.

Did you have any strong feelings about The Girl on the Train marketing materials? Leave a comment or Get in Touch!



Marketing Communications professional with a love of film and theatre. Enjoys rollerskating, comic books and daydreaming of Batman.

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