Feeling uninspired as of late? Or perhaps you need to take a break from your busy schedule but feel a bit guilty for doing something unproductive? Well, we’ve got a solution for both of these issues. Pour yourself a drink and some popcorn because it’s time to sit back, relax and watch a movie.
Movies have long been a preferred method of escapism. They help us take a break from our busy lives, and sometimes, they even teach us something new by fostering creativity. So, if you need a brain break, but also want to stay on theme with marketing, we’ve created a list of movies that might pique your interest. Have a read through our list to find your next movie night pick.
The Founder (2016)
The Founder is based on the origins of everyone’s favourite fast food restaurant, McDonald’s. The film tells the story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) who is an unsuccessful salesman who becomes inspired by McDonald’s, a small walk-up restaurant owned by brothers Maurice (John Carroll Lynch) and Richard (Nick Offerman) McDonald. After convincing them to franchise their business, Ray’s relationship with the pair turns sour as he proposes ambitious large-scale changes to increase revenue and cut costs. At the expense of a number of relationships, Ray grows McDonald’s into an empire.
McDonald’s grew to be the popular household name it is today thanks to some marketing techniques. In his search for franchisees, Ray recruits some of his wealthy friends, however, was unimpressed by their efforts. Following this, Ray opts to enlist the working class to run his restaurants as he sees their willingness to work hard. Thoughtfully considering his target market, Ray pitches the franchise to the blue collar workers as a way to provide for their families and always have a job. And his strategy is rewarded – the workers keep their restaurants in perfect condition. If you’re on stan, The Founder is currently available for streaming. Time to grab some popcorn, or better yet, Maccas run anyone?
The Social Network (2010)
This biographical drama, directed by David Fincher, tells the story of a young Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his conception of Facebook. Much like The Founder, Mark’s focus on expansion and growth lead to the slow deterioration of his friendship with his long-time friend Edwardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). Within the same timeline, Mark also encounters legal trouble as he is used for theft of intellectual property by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) who claim Zuckerberg stole their idea. Originally, the twins had urged him to collaborate on a dating focused social-network site for Harvard students. I guess they just didn’t have the vision?
Considering the ever-present involvement of Facebook in many digital campaigns, and the growth of social media and content marketing, it is impossible to ignore the importance of Facebook in marketing. With over 2.3 billion users today, there is no doubt that Facebook’s presence will diminish anytime soon. Right now, it’s pretty hard to remember (or imagine, for those too young) what the world was like before Facebook. So, it’s pretty cool to get a little insight on how it all began.
Money Ball (2011)
Money Ball focuses on the Oakland Athletics baseball team and their rise to success due to their use of sabermetrics. After facing a disappointing season, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), the general manager of the Athletics sets out to scout new players with a reduced budget. Beane is then introduced to Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a young Yale economics graduate, who suggests using on-field game metrics to select players. Taking on board Brand’s ideas, Beane recruits underappreciated players and hires Brand as his new assistant general manager. The strategy, of course, becomes a massive success, leading to a historically long winning streak (20 consecutive games). Nowadays, it’s commonplace for baseball teams to analyse measures to inform game strategy.
Using data to inform strategy – doesn’t that just scream marketing? Undoubtedly, data and marketing have become pretty much synonymous. Modern digital marketing strategies are informed by data. You can’t just pick any keyword these days, you have to pick the right keyword. You don’t just throw a website out there and hope for the best. You have to check the number of visitors, the bounce rate, the average time on page, the click-through-rate, the conversion rate, and overall progress. Data is everything to digital marketers. So, I guess you could say this film is ‘professional development’.
The Joneses (2009)
Before we had ‘We’re the Millers’ (2013), there was another family in the neighbourhood hustling their way to riches, and they were the Joneses. Though they appear to be a normal family to many of their unsuspecting neighbours, the Joneses, made up of Kate (Demi Moore), Steve (David Duchovny), Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) and Jenn (Amber Heard), are a group of marketers who have been employed to blend product placement into suburban living. The team works by integrating themselves into the community and developing relationships with their target market while surreptitiously displaying and recommending products from various companies. Does this sound like anything you’ve seen before in marketing?
Though the ethical grounding in the film is anything but stable, the whole concept of relationship building and recommendation-based marketing undoubtedly resembles the efforts of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has undeniably become a hugely popular trend over recent years, and shows no signs of easing up. In fact, according to TRIBE, $1.6 billion was spent globally on Instagram sponsorships last year. And this is set to increase in 2019. If you want to learn a little more about influencer marketing, what better way to do that than settle in for movie night?
What Women Want (2000)
What Women Want focuses on Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson), a chauvinistic advertising executive who basically only knows how to appeal to the common man. When Nick is snubbed of a promotion from his agency, which is given to Darcy McGuire (Helen Hunt), he is resentful. Upon receiving a new range of feminine products to promote, Nick takes the opportunity to learn more about the female mind by trying the products out himself. Things take a turn when Nick slips into the bathtub while holding an electrical hair dryer, which electrocutes him. When Nick awakens, he discovers he can hear women’s thoughts.
What Women Want can teach us a lot about knowing our audience, particularly patterns of behaviour. Knowing your target market is after all one of the fundamentals of marketing. Of course, life would be so much easier if we could just read minds. Are you a stan subscriber? This film is currently available within their archives so feel free to cancel all prior engagements and get into the comfiest pair of track pants you own.
“Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” stands as the single greatest example of what not to do in event planning and marketing. This documentary follows the slow and inevitable demise of the greatly anticipated Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival for affluent young people set in the Bahamas. From the start, you know what’s going to happen, but you can’t look away as the trainwreck unfolds.
Look, it’s clear that there were many things that the team did wrong. But the one thing that undoubtedly worked to great effect was their social media campaign. You can’t deny that it was simple, effective and set the trend for many future brand campaigns. Ever heard of the saying “sell the sizzle, not the sausage”? This is one of the great tropes of marketing and advertising, and something Fyre Media managed to do really well. White sand beaches, clear skies, frolicking models, fine food and bottomless cocktails – is this not the dream? Well, to most of average folk, yes it’s only a dream. But to the rich kids of America, it was all at their fingertips.
Using Jerry Media to run their socials, another genius strategy was developed. Jerry Media organised 400 influencers, including the high profile accounts of Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, to post an orange square. I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t I think of that? This of course ties into the concept of influencer marketing we covered above. By the way, Fyre is currently available on Netflix – thank us later.
Before we let the credits roll, we have some TV shows that are worth an honourable mention. If you have a little extra time, or if you just feel like procrastinated for a little bit longer, take a break and delve into these shows.
Mad Men (2007 – 2015)
An obvious mention. Mad Men is set in the 1960’s New York and predominantly follows the story of Don Draper, an advertising executive. Along with portraying the personal drama and relationship issues within the characters’ lives, the plot also follows the development of advertising campaigns which predominantly consisted of selling happiness. Quite clearly, not much has changed.
House of Cards (2013 – 2018)
House of Cards is an adaptation of the BBC miniseries by the same name. The story follows Frank Underwood, a Congressman, who upon being passed as Secretary of State, becomes obsessed with climbing the political ladder to obtain as much power as possible. Now, the plot itself doesn’t have much to do with marketing, but the conceptualisation of the show from Netflix executives is a marketing fairytale. House of Cards was created out of data. Essentially, the producers saw that people like political thrillers, David Fincher Films, and Kevin Spacey. Without even a script in progress, and completely basing their business decisions on this data, Netflix invested $100USD million for the entire first season. And it paid off. Over the following quarter, Netflix earned another 3 million subscribers, almost completely covering their invested amount. Content is king – and this is something Netflix marketers most definitely understand.
Now that you’ve got the most comprehensive list of industry films and TV shows, it’s time to settle in and get comfortable. After all, you might just be inspired with your next big idea.