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Off Target

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At the Basingstoke Odeon the other night, in an almost empty cinema, I counted six advertisements for different kinds of booze (two brands of vodka, one sweet liqueur, one bourbon and two beers, as the John Lee Hooker song doesn’t quite go), three or four car ads, a couple for violent computer games and one recruiting for the Royal Marines. I resisted the urge to go on a binge, get behind the wheel and fantasise about killing. The army recruitment spot came immediately after one of the computer games; they weren’t easy to tell apart. But the slogan for the second game was a sly corrective: ‘As close to war as you’ll ever want to get.’

The movie that followed, Jennifer’s Body, has been a massive flop. This is largely because the target audience, as the ads at the Odeon would seem to bear out, has been teenage boys and young men. But if the marketing team at Twentieth Century Fox had been able to see through the horror clichés that the film plays around with, they might have realised that a story about the disintegration of a friendship between two teenage girls isn’t, unfortunately, the kind of thing that teenage boys usually go for.

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