Whoever said movies can't be educational didn't work in marketing.
For some reason, the entertainment leaders of the world find marketing so entertaining that they keep making movies about the industry. Even movies that have nothing to do with marketing often have practical value hidden in there—sometimes simply in the way they are promoted.
If you want a refresher on some of the fundamentals of marketing, or just want to relate to/feel validated by those facing some of the issues you do on a regular basis, kick back, relax, and enjoy any of the following films.
Marketing success is heavily reliant on data. For the Oakland A's in 2002, baseball was too. This was the year the team had a 20 game winning streak that broke an American League record. They didn't even have to spend a lot of money on the best players to do it—they had the third-lowest payroll in the Major Leagues at the time. How'd they do it? Analytics. In the film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, The A's dumped the traditional way of scouting players using intuition for a data-driven method. By signing undervalued players based on metrics, they got the maximum bang for their buck. This is a lot like what modern marketers have to do: get more results with less expenditure and even fewer resources.
Not only does Moneyball demonstrate the journey marketing has taken when it comes to analytics, but it also shows what's necessary to rebuild reputation in order to attract quality customers and team members. The team's general manager, played by Pitt, along with his assistant GM (played by Hill), gave the Oakland A's a makeover, a task that many marketers know all too well.
Thank You For Smoking
Thank You For Smoking follows a tobacco lobbyist as he defends tobacco in classrooms, on TV, and even at a Senate hearing. The film illustrates that talking about even a deadly product the right way can convince anyone that they need it. Marketers often are faced with the challenge of selling a product that might not be the most healthy or safe. While this movie demonstrates that it can be done, it's up to you as the CMO how you use that power.
The Joneses are the perfect family, and it pays off (literally). They're good looking, charming, and live an enviable life. The catch? None of it's real. They're actually a group of professional salespeople who leverage their influence to promote products to their community. When their jealous neighbor wants that gorgeous new car they have, their sales go up. When their best friends strive to be more like them by investing in the same gadgets and clothes, their sales go up. It's brilliant. It is quite literally influencer marketing, without all the selfies and hashtags.
Ingrid Goes West
Ingrid Goes West follows a mentally ill woman named Ingrid, played by Aubrey Plaza, who develops an obsession with an Instagram influencer named Taylor Sloane, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Ingrid begins gradually inserting herself into Taylor's life by following her social media closely, She starts ordering the food she orders, shopping at the same stores, even renting a bungalow on the same block. The film shows the power social media and influencers can have, even concerning small details about a person's life. Sure, the film depicts the scary side of showcasing your life, but for marketers, it's a great lesson in how limitless influencer marketing can be when people feel personally connected.
The LEGO Movie
In a way, The Lego Movie and the franchise it established was one giant marketing campaign. In 2015, the year after the release of The LEGO Movie, LEGO reported sales jumped 25%. In 2014, sales increased another 14 % after the release of the movie. It also was a huge hit in theaters, getting a 95 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The LEGO Movie is a lesson for marketers in understanding how to reignite an old brand and open up a product that is traditionally meant for one very specific market (in this case, children) to a much broader one (the adults who were also entertained by the film). The overarching storyline, brought forth by Will Ferrell at the end of the movie, is also a subtle plug for the product. Plus, the man versus the system conflict is an issue any marketer can relate to. The movie is basically a CMO's dream come true.
Ri recently teamed up with the CMO Club. Access our latest research: The CMO Perspective on Reputation and Brand.
Senior Director of Global Marketing