Ads give Sarah Marshalls some unwanted exposure

Times Staff Writer

Sarah Marshall of Glendora didn’t get a lot of notice. Until about two weeks ago.

That’s when hundreds of billboards started appearing in five cities, including Los Angeles. They proclaimed, in black letters scrawled against a white background: “I’m So Over You, Sarah Marshall,” “You Suck Sarah Marshall,” “My Mother Always Hated You, Sarah Marshall,” and “You Do Look Fat in Those Jeans, Sarah Marshall.”

The billboards are part of a marketing campaign for the comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” from Universal Pictures, about a dumped boyfriend trying to get over his ex.


The animosity toward their fictional namesake has brought the real Sarah Marshalls -- who include an advertising student in Texas, a special-education teacher in Connecticut and a high school senior in Glendora -- an outpouring of concern.

“They’re everywhere, and they’re so annoying,” said Sarah Marshall the Glendora student, who lives three blocks from one of the billboards. Adults called her parents to ask if she was the target of a hate campaign. “I wish they specified that it’s a movie,” she said.

Ad student Sarah Marshall of Fort Worth, Texas, one of 276 Sarah Marshalls on Facebook, said: “I got a lot of e-mails and phone calls asking if my boyfriend and I were OK.”

But don’t expect any sympathy cards from the Universal marketing department.

“We wanted people to ask the question ‘Who is Sarah Marshall?’ ” said Adam Fogelson, president of marketing and distribution for Universal Pictures. “And everything we hoped would happen has come to pass.”

The outdoor campaign -- which also includes thousands of ads on buses, taxis and bus shelters in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas -- will be replaced this weekend by more traditional advertising for the movie.

If that doesn’t draw crowds, Universal can at least count on Sarah Marshalls across the country buying tickets. Said Sarah Marshall Edmond, the 30-year-old special-ed teacher in Connecticut: “I’ll have to see it now.”