How Did He Do It?

‘The Adventures of Priscilla, The Queen of the Desert’ achieved staggering box-office success. Alan Finney headed the promotional campaign.

Alan Finney was an excellent advertising executive with an exceptionally good feel for the market. Herald Sun film critic, Leigh Paatsch, said that “Finney was without peer when it comes to improving the way a film performs in Australia. In his prime, he exceeded expectations with ace advertising campaigns“. Whilst it is difficult to say for certain, many credit box office success of films that he was involved in to his influence on the films promotion. In fact, Finney has handled the release of some of Australia’s biggest box office successes such as ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, The Queen of the Desert‘ (pictured right).

Finney would handle each film on its merit when deciding upon the best way to market the production.

In what is a rather self-explanatory statement, Finney has said “The release date is probably the most important decision because you don’t want to go up against something that is going to appeal to a similar audience”. 

Furthermore, Finney was known to send critics out to multiplexes or even not hold previews at all. It was all dependent on what he thought was the best path to take to increase the chances of success for a given film. A bad review can destroy a films chances at the box office. “If you’ve got what you think is an art film and the thumbs are down on that, you’re dead”. And so one can see, that by withholding previews altogether, Finney creates a situation whereby a review is not going to affect the initial stages of the release of the film.

If I think a critic isn’t going to like a film, why would I set up a situation where the likely outcome is a press advertisement costing me $5000 sitting right to a review that says it’s the biggest load of rubbish ever made?

Finney’s passion for film, particularly Australian features always motivated him to achieve successful campaigns. His advertising skills and impeccable knowledge of the market would often make this the likely outcome.


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