Usually, it's the hot movie poster campaigns that garner the publicity, though there really hasn't been one since . . . well, since Batman. Remember? It was just the film logo: a symbol both blatant and understated, flogging the product without stooping to desperate hype - a neat trick considering the movie's massive merchandising tie-ins.

Less commented upon are the poster campaigns which might as well just be white spaces bearing a single legend: 'Don't see this picture.' There's one doing the rounds at the moment, a supposed advertisement for A Home of Our Own starring Kathy Bates. The poster looks like the sort of sentimental painting your Mum might have put on the wall after skipping her anti-depressants: a smudged Kathy floats in the sky, surrounded by her soft-focus brood. The effect reflects no faith in the product, which might be the point. Sometimes film companies decide in advance that a movie isn't going to be box-office, so why throw good money after bad? Or internal politics dictate that a certain producer's project be doomed, simply because competitive colleagues didn't cotton on to it in the first place. The marketing department feels the vibes - the posters become self-fulfilling prophecies.

A Home of Our Own might be a wow, but the visual publicity dares you to find out. Indeed, if not for the lavish reviews accorded to last year's Bad Behaviour, who would have turned up on the strength of the billboard image - cartoon faces clustered around a toilet bowl, gazing up with expressions suggesting either idiocy or brain death. No wonder bill stickers will be prosecuted.

(Photograph omitted)

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