Usually, when marketing a show, you would choose a strategy that illuminates on certain prominent aspects of it. For example, in a show about gangsters, you’d show people shooting guns, or, in a show about doctors, you’d show people making snarky remarks or getting to third base in a storage closet. The people behind 666 Park Avenue had two things at their disposal: vague shots of people turning around and that guy from Lost, and only half of those things are sort of in the actual show.
666 Park Avenue had a bafflingly inept advertising campaign. It’s time to dive right into a pit of confusion and determine whether or not you’re curious enough to follow-up with it, week after week.
The first time I saw a promo for 666 Park Avenue, I was watching the 2012 Emmy’s. Now everyone who watched that particular awards show knows that it was an assault on the very, very penetrable fortress of humor. Christina Hendricks joked about duck lips, Kathy Bates revealed her true, beast form, Tracey Morgan played possum as a trick on the lucky people not watching the show and one of the guys from Hatfields & McCoys literally began to talk to the spirit world, on-stage. It was a mess, and Homeland won everything.
The commercials, which I found myself waiting for, luckily came plentifully. And, in a mix of ads for new ABC shows came one for 666 Park Avenue. I’d seen the title somewhere before, with no knowledge of the contents of the show. This knowledge would not be expanded upon after the commercial ended, but, with a name including the mark of the beast, and a place in New York, I expected at least a poor attempt at Rosemary’s Baby, or possibly Pretty Little Liars with an occult edge.
Did I get any of these things? Maybe. I honestly have no idea. Let’s look at an early promo and see for ourselves.
It starts with some showcases of “the finest living in the city.” This includes revolving doors, because, if a door doesn’t have a handle, poor people will immediately attempt to eat it, and rich folk hitting some golf balls, for the same poor-people related reason. Five seconds in, we see the Lost guy eyeing some other guy with curiosity. We know that Lost guy is up to no good. His expression is the perfect way to say “You’re going to have a rough first season.”
I get that brief glimpses of Terry O’ Quinn, the Lost guy were meant to attract Lost fans. But shots of him staring at the camera and looking mischievous only really mean anything to people who know that the guy is at his best when he’s looking mischievous. To me, it means nothing. I have no prior concept of this man, as I have only seen one episode of Lost. I would’ve watched more, but the relationship I had with the girl who I tried to impress by watching it was something I like to call 500 Days of Screaming.
The video then cuts to people making creepy faces at each other, until doors start slamming shut, which is the international symbol for magic n’ ghosts. After that, now that they’ve gotten all the spooky stuff out of the way, they can move onto what viewers really want: people a few minutes away from having sex with each other.
They’ve got a guy breathing hot on a girl’s neck as he slowly unzips her dress. They’ve got a girl looking backwards, playfully. They’ve got a girl getting disrobed, and looking backwards. And then they have the same girl who looked backwards previously looking backwards, playfully, again. I don’t know if they were trying to build a character’s trademark movements or if they just forgot that they’d already had a bunch of people halfway through the process of turning around. I also don’t know what audience 666 Park Avenue was aimed at, besides Lost fans and people who were on the death bed of boredom.
Then, we see the blond girl laying on her back, her guy awkwardly lying on his side, with his nose deep in her neck, sleeping in a sexy way that absolutely no one does, saying to herself “Are we gonna be okay here?” And then, if the trailer had been any longer, they would’ve cut to Terry O’ Quinn smirking at her, as she turns to look back at him, one more time.
The primary symbol of 666 Park Avenue is the spiral staircase, and they’ve put that shit everywhere. Half of all the posters and promo images have some kind of staircase that surrounds the heads of the cast. Terry O’ Quinn is looking steely and composed, in a suit, as expected. And the blond girl from the commercial, she’s…well, she’s in the process of turning around to look at us.
Why is that such a provocative pose? I get that, if you could see her whole body, we’d watch her figure as she turned. That’s the whole reason they had Scarlett Johansson turned halfway in The Avengers poster, so that we could see her figure in full, glorious form. But here, it’s just the girl’s head.
And that’s why I’m surprised that anyone watches 666 Park Avenue in the first place. I know that ratings had quite a large dip from the first episode to the second, but in my mind, decent ratings should’ve never even been in the ballpark for the premiere, because, to me, 666 Park Avenue just seemed to be a guy from Lost smirking and repetitive head-turning.