Moster. Never heard of that one before.

Turns out it’s short for “motion movie poster.” Unlike a trailer which typically shows clips from an actual film, is a high resolution animation of, sure enough, a movie poster.

I came across the term when I received an email from a publicist about an upcoming Bollywood film. Happy New Year, an action-comedy, has something to do with con-artists and “fun, drama & action.” All well and good – it sounds like one of those kick-back-turn-off-your-brain-and-enjoy-yourself-to-death kind of movies.

Just released today, here’s the moster for director Farah Khan’s frenetic work:

I’m not sure what to make of the film or the video promo. One thing for sure: it is memorable. And, unlike a trailer, by definition of being based on a poster, doesn’t risk giving anything away (don’t you just feel like throwing away your beer when a trailer gives away a major plot line or twist?). If the goal of a moster is to tease and intrigue I think this one does a decent  job.

Hitting up Wikipedia, I learned that this style of promo vignette–even though new to me–has been around for a while. Apparently the first one was designed in 2005 for Hard Candy (just a slightly different film than the one above!). According to some unwritten rules a moster can only use elements of the poster itself- no live action allowed. Also it “must be under 20 seconds and must end with the same still image of the original poster.”

Is the moster more or less effective than a traditional movie trailer?

I don’t know. I’d guess the idea is that it’s just one more tool available to marketing teams looking to reach potential audiences in new ways. I don’t know if it’s yet happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised if studios have designed similar promos for distribution through Vine; seems like the short video format plus a movie poster animation would be a good fit.

Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. Interests include San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear