Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Teaser and Trailer

A trailer is a preview that features as an advertisement of a movie that is yet to premiere in the cinemas. Trailers in the past were often shown at the end of movies in theatres. This however was not effective as the audience would leave the cinema right after the movie ended.

Today, you will find trailers at the beginning of films. A teaser is a shorter trailer which is used to advertise an upcoming film, by building anticipation and interest from the audience watching. Teasers are pretty short and may not contain much information of the movie content. Both are however used to advertise and create awareness of an upcoming movie.

What is a Teaser?

Teasers are really short videos that contain clips of the most eccentric parts of a film that is yet to premiere. It contains minimal detail of the movie only highlighting the most amusing parts of it. Just as the name suggests, teasers tease the viewers, with minimal dialogue and action clips from the movie, without giving out too much content of the movie.

They are often released before trailers, and work well in building the anticipation of the audience. Teasers are very short and could last for less than a minute. One of the very first teasers to be made was the ad for the Idol Dancer movie that was released in the year 1920. In the past teasers would be showcased right before the movies launches, approximately within a week. Today teasers are released way ahead, sometimes even months or years before the official release dates are announced.


What is a Trailer?

Trailers also known as previews are more detailed advertisements of movies that will premiere in the near future. Trailers contain the exciting, funny and important parts of a film shortened into two and a half minutes which is the maximum length approved by the Movie Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The very first trailer was created in the year 1913 for the movie, The Pleasure Seekers. Trailers follow a three-act structure, where important excerpts from the beginning, then the middle and finally the end of the movie are composed into a short clip. The concept behind trailers is being used up within several other industries as a marketing tool. Other than the movie industry, television shows, books, video games and theatrical events use it.


Differences Between Teasers and Trailers

Duration of Teasers and Trailers

Teasers are meant to be short and can last from 13 seconds to a minute. The maximum time for a teaser is a minute.

Trailers, on the other hand, can last between one minute to two minutes and thirty seconds, which is the regulation set by (MPAA).

PurposeĀ  of Teasers and Trailers

Teasers have a main aim of teasing the audience, stirring up anticipation and getting the audience intrigued about the film.

Trailers serve a slightly different purpose, their main aim is to inform the audience of the movie, it dishes out much more information of the cast and the plot twists, giving the viewers a better insight of what to expect.

Creation Time for Teasers vs Trailers

Teasers are created much earlier than trailers. They could even be created a year or two before the production of a movie begins. There are however no guidelines regulating the creation period.

Trailers are created after the movie production is complete, hence the ability to capture more content.

Plotline for Teasers and Trailers

Teasers contain no plotline, they just highlight entertaining and exciting features of the movie.

Trailers contain the plotline and content of the movie right from the beginning.

First Use

Both trailers and teasers can be traced back to close to a century ago. The first teaser was used in the year 1920.

The first trailer was used in the year 1913. Trailers are older in use when compared to treasures.

Movie Details

Trailers showcase all the details of the movie, including; the studio, the directors, the cast, cinematography and assistant directors.

Teasers contain no such information.

Structure of Teasers vs Trailers

Teasers have no structure within their composition. They comprise of the most exciting and amusing parts of a film without no arrangement whatsoever.

Trailers mostly follow the three-act structure, this is where content from the beginning, the middle and end parts of a film are composed into a short clip.

Teasers vs. Trailers

Summary of Teasers vs Trailers

  • Both teasers and trailers create awareness of the movie to be released in different ways. Teasers do so by creating anticipation and hyping the film while trailers so by informing the audience of the content and plotline.
  • Teasers are short excerpts that could last for less than a minute while trailers last for a minimum of one minute and a maximum of 2 and a half minutes.
  • Trailers are regulated by the Movie Picture Association of America.
  • Trailers are created at the end of production of a movie. Teasers are created before a movie is produced or during the production process.
  • Trailers follow a three-act structure which captures the beginning, middle and ending of the film. Teasers capture the intense excerpt without a relevant arrangement.
  • Both trailers and teasers have a long history of use, each can be traced back to close to a century.


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  1. Best info. Thanks.

  2. Nice
    I understand very clearly..

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References :

[0]Johnston, K. M. (2009). Coming Soon: Film Trailers and the Selling of Hollywood Technology. McFarland.

[1]Fox, B. (2015). Documentary Media: History, Theory Practice, CourseSmart ETextbook. Routledge.

[2]Ulin, J. (2010). The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content. Taylor & Francis.

[3]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bagogames/16531566560

[4]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tales2astonish/7187991341

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