In 2008, Disney came out with a new movie based on a futuristic and dystopian world where humans utterly destroyed the earth and left robots to clean up the mess that they left behind as they made a long voyage through space. Yet, audiences weren’t necessarily interested in the dystopian aspect of it. They instead became entranced with the main character; a lovable little robot who was the namesake of the movie, Wall-E. This happened because the film and the advertisements for the film emphasized the relationships between the characters. It made the destroyed world become more of a backdrop for the drama of the love story between Wall-E and Eve. Although there are still important elements of the plot that revolve around dystopian themes, such as the fight to bring plants and the spaceship full of humans back to Earth, the advertisements for the animated film really emphasized the characters and not much else.
In this movie poster, there is a clear focus on the relationship between the two robots due to the fact that they are in the center of the poster and are illuminated by both the moon in the background and the streetlight. The robots are surprisingly expressive and exude personality through their body language; in the adoring gaze of Wall-E and the scrunched up giggly face of Eve. This makes them more appealing to audiences and makes the audience want to get to know them better. The dystopian theme literally fades into the background of the poster. The desolate and grungy landscape, the spaceship in the upper left, and the hovering robot make it evident that this movie takes place in the future, but there is really no other distinct information. Overall, whoever sees this movie poster would walk away thinking not about the setting, but about the adorable characters.
In this advertisement on the side of a building, it is really stripped down to the essential element of the movie, Wall-E himself. Yet, it is still an effective advertisement. This image brings Wall-E’s personality to the foreground and creates interest through his body language. The way that Wall-E holds his hands and has the little tilt to his head and the expressiveness of his little robot eyes make him seem like a person, not a robot. Despite the fact that it gives absolutely no more information or context for the movie, it doesn’t matter. It still communicates exactly what it needs to, the character of Wall-E himself.
Even in this movie trailer, the surrounding circumstances of the movie are not well explained at all, it instead develops Wall-E as a character. Showing his daily activities and how he reacts to different things in his everyday life. It establishes his intensely curious personality and lovable, quirky sense of humor. It gives the audience a character to latch onto and something to care about. Making the audience care is essential, because it establishes a relationship with the character and makes them want to watch the movie.
This approach to advertising the movie is a stark contrast to the advertisements for The Hunger Games that we examined in class, where the ads were from the point of view of the Capitol and were ineffective in really grabbing the attention of the audience. By eschewing the point of view of the dominant group, the corporation Buy-n-Large, Pixar relates more directly to the audience with character appeals.