The practice of releasing teasers for film trailers is relatively new, but a format like Instagram makes the appeal obvious: The fifteen-second, scroll-by-it-on-your-phone format lends itself to both viral marketing and quick dopamine hits, making it a natural place to view a brief reminder that a movie or TV show that you're interested in is on its path to release. It may feel a bit like the snake eating its own tail, but when it's just a fifteen second interlude, who minds too much?
And if the practice of unveiling brief teasers for full-blown trailers is interesting, more interesting about the latest film to pursue that path is the platform on which it debuted: namely, Beyoncé's Instagram account, which played host to the teaser for Fifty Shades Of Grey over the weekend. The teaser itself is very slight, given that it's a fifteen-second preview-of-a-preview, but it features a few flashes of the soft-porn aesthetic that made the book series a massive hit.
Still, the question of how the film landed a cross-promotional deal with Beyoncé lingers after the fifteen seconds are up: Fifty Shades Of Grey is hotly anticipated by a certain segment of the population that has not had many opportunities to spend money at the box office on sexually aggressive material directed toward them, but its release date--scheduled for next February, when studios typically bury uncertain films--suggests that no one involved is all that confident that Fifty Shades Of Grey will be a hit. So it's surprising to see Beyoncé tie herself to a brand that may be on the decline--it's hard to imagine that Fifty Shades Of Grey will be a bigger cultural phenomenon in 2015 than it was in 2012, after all.
On the other hand, Beyoncé--the 32-year-old married mother of a two-year-old--fits firmly within the Fifty Shades Of Grey demographic. Maybe she lent her Instagram presence (and, presumably, a song or two on the soundtrack) to the film because she's a big fan?