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What is a Teaser Trailer?

A teaser trailer is a short promotional video crafted to generate excitement for an upcoming film, TV show, or video game. It offers a tantalizing glimpse without revealing too much, sparking anticipation and conversation. Think of it as an appetizer for the main visual feast. Ready to explore how these sneak peeks shape your eagerness for the next big release?
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A teaser trailer is a short version of a movie trailer that is designed to pique the interest of the audience, getting potential viewers excited about an upcoming film. Teasers, as they are called, are typically released months in advance, sometimes as much as 18 months before the expected release date of the film, and they are used to build anticipation and curiosity about the films they advertise. These trailers can be seen before feature films in some movie theaters, and they are also released online and shown on television.

Classically, a teaser trailer lasts between half a minute and a minute. It may include footage from the film, often in a rough stage since the film has not been completed, or it may use entirely new source material. In some cases, a teaser is simply an abridged version of a regular movie trailer, including the film's tagline and key footage in a condensed version that is more television-friendly.

Teaser trailers are often shown before a feature film for a movie coming out months later.
Teaser trailers are often shown before a feature film for a movie coming out months later.

Some companies like to make trailers that literally tease their audiences with puzzles and cryptic references. For example, one might flash a few key images, followed by a title card with the date. Viewers are supposed to recognize the images, and understand that the date is the projected release date. This works best for iconic films and films in a series, as viewers become familiar with specific symbols. A classic example of this type would be a promotion of a Batman film that flashed the famous bat symbol on the screen, followed by a date.

Trailers are an effective marketing tool on behalf of movie makers to get their potential audiences pumped up for upcoming movies.
Trailers are an effective marketing tool on behalf of movie makers to get their potential audiences pumped up for upcoming movies.

Teaser trailers may also include hints and clues that viewers can follow, if they feel so inclined. It is becoming increasingly popular to include web addresses in trailers, so that viewers can go look up the film online, and some movies had used these addresses as a jumping-off point to involve viewers in an alternate reality game or series of puzzles, thereby drawing them into the story of the film. Others offer viewers the opportunity to sign up on a mailing list for news about the film, including notifications when longer movie trailers are released.

A movie theater box office.
A movie theater box office.

From a marketing perspective, the teaser is a brilliant tool. The brief advertisement is usually not terribly costly to make or expensive to air on television, and it can suck viewers in, getting people hyped up about a movie months before it is released. These trailers are often used to promote big budget films, with the goal of getting a return on the investment as quickly as possible, and they are also used to increase fan interest in major series or eagerly-awaited film adaptations of books or continuations of television shows.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a teaser trailer?

A movie theater.
A movie theater.

A teaser trailer is designed to generate early interest and anticipation for an upcoming film, TV show, or video game. It typically provides a brief glimpse of the content without revealing too much of the plot or character details. The goal is to create buzz and stimulate conversation among potential audiences, often by showcasing striking visuals, intriguing dialogue, or iconic characters that hint at the tone and style of the project.

How long is a typical teaser trailer?

Teaser trailers are shown before the main feature in a movie theater.
Teaser trailers are shown before the main feature in a movie theater.

Teaser trailers are usually quite short, often under a minute in length. They are meant to offer just enough content to pique viewers' curiosity without overwhelming them with information. The brevity of a teaser is strategic, as it aims to leave the audience wanting more, thereby building anticipation for the full-length trailer and the actual release of the project.

What differentiates a teaser trailer from a full trailer?

A teaser trailer differs from a full trailer in its length and content. Teasers are shorter and less informative, providing a quick glimpse or hint of what's to come. In contrast, full trailers are longer, typically between two to three minutes, and offer a more comprehensive overview of the storyline, characters, and key scenes. Full trailers are intended to give audiences a clearer idea of the narrative and reasons to see the film or show.

When are teaser trailers typically released?

Teaser trailers are often released several months to a year before the actual release of the film, TV show, or video game. Studios strategically plan the release of teasers to coincide with significant events, such as major film festivals, comic conventions, or alongside other blockbuster releases, to maximize exposure to the target audience.

Can teaser trailers be misleading?

Teaser trailers can sometimes be misleading, as they are crafted to intrigue and attract audiences without providing much context. They may highlight certain themes, visuals, or characters that suggest a different tone or direction than the final product. This can be intentional, to avoid spoilers, or unintentional, due to changes in the project's development after the teaser's release. Viewers should keep in mind that teasers are just a preliminary look and not always fully representative of the end result.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseTour researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseTour researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

croydon

@Mor - I think you can still get quite a lot of info into a teaser. They aren't all just a single image, after all. Some of them are just a short sequence from the film. After all, it's the ones that aren't well known that need to create the most buzz and they need to make the most use of their advertising budget.

Mor

@KoiwiGal - I think that film production companies like the teaser trailer because it's a cheap way of creating buzz, even if there isn't a gimmick to it.

All they need to do is one really good image, that's emblematic of the film, some iconic music and a date. They don't even need to pay much for the advertising spot, when you consider that it's much shorter than the average trailer.

Of course, it only really works if they have a property that people will recognize, whether it's an existing movie franchise, or a book or comic that is instantly recognizable.

KoiwiGal

It was the Blair Witch Project which first really took advantage of viral marketing by using teaser trailers and other promo stuff online. Before then, I think at the most you would get a teaser trailer on TV or in the theater, but mostly it would be straight advertising.

The Blair Witch Project did it differently, because they kind of implied that the movie was a documentary and linking that with the way it was filmed fueled all kinds of speculation and therefore free advertising.

Since then, other films and TV shows have done it in a slicker way, but I don't think anyone has managed to build up that much speculation since.

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    • Teaser trailers are often shown before a feature film for a movie coming out months later.
      By: HaywireMedia
      Teaser trailers are often shown before a feature film for a movie coming out months later.
    • Trailers are an effective marketing tool on behalf of movie makers to get their potential audiences pumped up for upcoming movies.
      By: Joe Ross
      Trailers are an effective marketing tool on behalf of movie makers to get their potential audiences pumped up for upcoming movies.
    • A movie theater box office.
      A movie theater box office.
    • A movie theater.
      By: Mammut Vision
      A movie theater.
    • Teaser trailers are shown before the main feature in a movie theater.
      By: Artem Furman
      Teaser trailers are shown before the main feature in a movie theater.