Why The Nun’s Social Media Advert Is Problematic


It’s not news to many of you that I’m a big fan of horror films, even though they seriously freak me out. Maybe that’s part of the appeal to me. However, not everyone is so in love with the genre. Many people actively despise horror and will do their very best to avoid it, which brings me on to the point of this article.

In the age of social media campaigns, everyone is thinking of new and exciting ways to make their product, service or film stand out amongst the crowd. I see this every day in my day job as a Social Media Copywriter. I understand the appeal of creating something that will wow your audiences. However, what new horror film The Nun did is not only lazy, it’s also incredibly irresponsible.

I stumbled across the below tweet which explains the nature of the advert in question. Thank you to Twitter user @bbydvas for letting us know about it:

To give you some more context, the advert is about 10 seconds long making it unskippable on platforms such as YouTube. The advert features the volume sign from an iPhone / Mac being turned down, then out of nowhere a creepy face appears and starts screaming. There’s no indication anywhere that this is from a horror film, so there’s no way for you to mentally prepare yourself for something freaky. An unexpected shock like this could be very upsetting to someone with anxiety or similar conditions, or even dangerous to people with heart conditions.

I know that some of you might be rolling your eyes and thinking “oh it’s only a little scare”, but I firmly believe this is lazy marketing on The Nun’s part. They’ve created something short, simple and unclear to deliver a massive scare, and it really isn’t okay. I don’t know what targeting options their marketing team settled on, but it’s incredibly difficult to accurately target certain social platforms, especially YouTube. Everybody knows people lie about their age on YouTube, so who knows who this video is going out to? I’ve also seen tweets saying this advert has played before videos that have nothing to do with horror (ie: game walkthroughs, funny cat videos, etc). This would be a different story if it was only reaching people like me, but it’s not. Imagine a little kid being greeted with this? Nightmares for days…

I don’t think it’s fair to shove this kind of content in front of people with no forewarning. 99% of the time horror film trailers are easily identifiable, so even if they’re unskippable, users know exactly when to look away or mute their devices. That’s fine. What isn’t fine is random, out of the blue scary stuff like this. It’s also something that could’ve easily been avoided, which only disappoints me more. There are much better ways to create fun content than doing something generic that could’ve been associated with literally any other brand or film.

So now you know what to look out for, if you really want to avoid it, turn your volume down quickly. And to the people behind the idea, try harder next time. You know you’re better than this.

One thought on “Why The Nun’s Social Media Advert Is Problematic

  1. As someone who on occasion carelessly leans back on their chair legs I’m glad to hear that I will now die by crappy YouTube ad. Thanks for the heads up, agree with what you had to say and it appears YouTube has removed it but the movie now gets to say that it made an ad “too scary for Youtube”.

    Liked by 1 person

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