Sunday 12 August 2012

Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy: The Highs and Lows of a Promotional Campaign

I doubt there's a person in the civilised world who doesn't instantly recognise the poster for Danny Boyle's 1996 heroin addiction drama, Trainspotting. With its stylish 'line-up' framing and bright orange against black and white colour scheme, it's a poster that has adorned many a bedroom wall in the last 16 years, is a lasting icon of Cool Britannia and easily one of the best quad posters of all time.

The same level of brilliance cannot be said for Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy, a film that saw a brief theatrical run earlier this year and was most notable for trying to use author Irvine Welsh as its primary selling point, sticking his name in the title and even going as far as using a positive quote from him on the film's poster. That's a quote from the original writer being used to promote a film, because it's not like he would be biased in any way, would he?

To be fair, the theatrical artwork for Ecstasy is quite stylish (with the cast lining up on a flattened down pill packet), and if the film had managed to tap into a generation's consciousness in the same way Trainspotting did, it wouldn't be a bad poster to see hanging on your wall. Sure, it clearly comes from the same design aesthetic (it's by Mark Blamire, the same designer as Trainspotting's poster), but at the very least it looks nice and could be forgiven for offering subtle nods to Trainspotting's artwork.

In fact, Blamire ended up re-designing the film's poster campaign after seeing the earlier, pre-release efforts be little more than Trainspotting rip-offs. As he revealed to Creative Review, he got in touch with the director and producer and they invited him on board to give the film a distinct look, but then the film underperformed at the box office, so for the film's DVD release the marketing team had a bit of a rethink, removing the cool pill packet idea and doing away with any pretense that this film distributors would like you, the dim-witted and the partially-sighted to think this is Trainspotting 2.

Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy arrives on DVD on August 20th, and would look ridiculous lined up to Trainspotting in your collection.


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