Paramount Pictures is taking G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra "directly to America's heartland," said Claudia Eller and Ben Fritz in the Los Angeles Times. The production company's new action movie "is embedded in the Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd concert tour, advertised at the Country Music Television Awards and excerpted on giant video screens at Minnesota's Mall of America." The "subtext" is clear: "If you're a flag-waving, NASCAR-loving American, it's practically your patriotic duty to see this movie" (watch the trailer for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra).
Paramount's marketing approach "can only really be summed up as redneck pandering," said Josh Tyler in Cinema Blend. Unless you "hang out at gun ranges," it's unlikely you'll see an ad for G.I. Joe, and Paramount is only screening the movie for "critics most likely to praise it." This is a huge mistake—"marketing a movie to only a tiny segment of the population rarely pays off," and "I'm predicting failure."
Don't be so sure, said Christy Lemire in the Associated Press. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra "has a lot in common with the highest-grossing film so far this year," Transformers: Rise of the Fallen. Transformers also appealed "to a sense of patriotism nationwide," was trashed by critics, but then drew "massive crowds." And by "withholding" G.I. Joe from mainstream critics, Paramount seems confident that it "can succeed at the box office without them."