AAC banks on Bon Cop

Alliance Atlantis has brought out the big guns to conquer the two solitudes with its bilingual buddy cop movie Bon Cop, Bad Cop - with marketing campaigns totaling some $1 million in place for Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Alliance Atlantis has brought out the big guns to conquer the two solitudes with its bilingual buddy cop movie Bon Cop, Bad Cop – with marketing campaigns totaling some $1 million in place for Quebec and the rest of Canada.

The Érik Canuel-directed comedy – starring Patrick Huard and Colm Feore as police officers, one French and the other English, partnered to solve a murder – will bow in Quebec on Aug. 4 on around 100 screens and on a similar number a week later in English Canada.

Since its early days, the picture has been touted as a near-certain hit, thanks in part to the script’s take on the English/French divide, to which the ad campaigns also play.

The French campaign aims at market saturation through a multiplatform advertising attack – with Huard featured in an extensive billboard and transit-shelter push for eight weeks, plus TV and radio spots, a one-hour ‘making of’ special on TQS, and a red carpet premiere on July 31 at Place Des Arts in Montreal.

The more modest English campaign will target young males with a yen for Hollywood-style action-adventure, with two 30-second TV spots to be seen on TSN, Rogers Sportsnet and the conventional networks.

‘We’ve always felt the film had an inherent value in Quebec, and so we’re going to build buzz first in Quebec,’ says Jim Sherry, president of theatrical distribution at AAC’s Motion Picture Distribution.

Both campaigns focus on the movie’s co-leads, an easier feat in Quebec where Huard (the Les Boys film series) is a homegrown star.

But, to appeal to tribal loyalties, the English-language spots cast Feore as the hero and Huard his buffoon-like foil, while those in French flip the roles.

The trailers similarly feature jokes likely to appeal in one market, but not in both. In the English trailer, for example, Feore’s character asks Huard’s whether he breaks the rules because he’s ‘ignorant, stupid or French.’

‘That’s not that funny to the Quebec audience, but we hope that works in Calgary,’ notes producer Kevin Tierney, who contributed to the script along with Huard, Leila Basen and Alex Epstein.

Pascale Hébert, general manager of marketing, promotions and communications at Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm, is aiming at market saturation in Quebec for Bon Cop on a level comparable to what AAC might do for a U.S. blockbuster.

That means the cast is appearing summer-long on Quebec talk shows and magazine covers, for example.

‘We’re covering everything. I don’t think any [Quebec] media will ignore the film,’ says Hébert.

The Quebec campaign also recruited Best Buy as a sponsor. The electronics retail giant will supply prizes for contests run by various Quebec radio and TV stations, and offer digital cameras to Internet surfers who upload video spoofs of Bon Cop, Bad Cop to friends.

In English Canada, on the other hand, the film by Park Ex Pictures faces stiff competition for the same audience from the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, now playing, and Miami Vice, out July 28.

‘We’re up against a machine [in English Canada],’ Tierney says soberly.

They will also have limited access to Feore, who is engaged at the Stratford Festival all summer. Feore will be at the July 31 Montreal premiere, but stage commitments will keep him away from the Aug. 9 red carpet in Toronto. *

www.allianceatlantis.com