Why Extremists love Narrative Marketing Feature Image

Why Extremists love Narrative Marketing

I once had a conversation with a friend of mine, who told me about her grandfather who lived through Mussolini’s Italy and believed it was the greatest time of Italy’s history. One could immediately dismiss such thinking as antiquated thinking of a befuddled old man. However that still doesn’t hide the fact that extremist states were formed with the collective permission of their citizens, and that die-hard attitudes fascists was a thing during the closing years of World War 2. Maybe it was the economic benefit, one of the “lucky few”, me and my friend (thankfully) weren’t there to witness it. My personal opinion? That Hitler and Mussolini were popular for creating one of the most compelling narratives of their generation.
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Mad Max Transmedia Feature Image

Mad Max is a Marketing Warrior

Mad Max invaded Toronto, or at least decided to start a Car Wash, Mad-Max style.

Set up on a parking lot in downtown Toronto, pedestrians choked down sawdust, watching military grade hummers and commuters Hondas get tagged with Mad Max images by half-naked guys who looked like extras from the film, flaunting their Mad Max tattoos.

On its own, it’s an incredibly clever piece of marketing, encouraging people to watch the upcoming Mad Max film, and entered the twitter-verse with hashtag #dustycarwash. It’s also a perfect example of marketing films through engaging narratives.

Dusty Car Wash Promo

I’ve mentioned before about effective viral marketing in movies, as unconventional marketing techniques have taken an increasingly important part of movie marketing. Having a trailer, TV spots, is all well and nice, but with the ridiculous rising costs of marketing movies, Film Producers should be marketing movies smarter not harder.

This should involve more Engagement Marketing i.e. Guerilla or Transmedia marketing. Transmedia Marketing is effective as 91% of us would tune in to things happening in real-time. And the possibility of marketing through the creation of real-time narratives which involve potential audience members is one that has shown to be incredibly prolific.

Article Mad Max Transmedia- Ex Mahina Ava Tinder

As movies are already narratives in themselves, the marketing of said movies should involve narratives, it’s what we came for anyways. Narrative marketing is also an opportunity to reflect the  movie’s narrative, such as Ex Machina’s Tinder Marketing savviness, where the actress playing the A.I., was able to trick guys into conversing about what makes a person human and why they were attracted to her before directing them to Ex Machina website (her being hot also helped).

It also has an opportunity to eclipse the actual movie itself, take the Blair Witch Project. The found-footage horror film, that was made on a budget of $22,500. It grossed $248 million dollars, and become one of the most effective viral movie marketing campaigns in modern film history. With a limited budget, they chose a incredibly low-key marketing approach in the lead up to the movie’s release, posting nuggets of information on college campuses, engaging on online forums and putting up Missing posters of the actors, played up the possibility it was real and more importantly made potential audience think they had stumbled into something genuine and worth watching.

Article Mad Max Transmedia- Blair Witch Project Marketing

Marketing is always changing, and with consumers changes varying and demanding more, one of the most consistent strengths movie marketing have is narrative marketing. Expect that #dustycarwash is just part of a growing trend of marketing that will become more narrative-focused and engaging in the future.

What Lives Inside Narrative Marketing Feature Image

Intel starring J.K Simmons, puppets, and Narrative Marketing

In a week, Hulu is premiering the fourth film of it’s the Intel ”Inside Film” series called “What Lives Inside”, produced by Pereira & O’Dell and starring J.K. Simmons (playing not a psycho conductor), Colin Hanks (where the hell have you been) and Catherine O’Hara (Yeah Schitt’s Creek is okay). As gleaned by the trailer, it’s about Colin Hanks returning home for dad’s, aka J.K. Simmon’s, funeral, entering his workshop and finding a goofy Alice in Wonderland-esque world. From first impressions of the trailer, its got some great production value, on the scale of a high-quality TV film. It’s also a fancy ad for Intel’s new Dell Venue 8 7000 Series tablet.


But it’s not “just” a fancy ad, it’s also a social film not to revolve around Intel’s newest tablet but to revolve around Intel’s narrative. “What Lives Inside” is just another example of the grown trend of “Narrative Marketing” and a decline in traditional marketing. Definition: Marketing has become more entertaining.

Stories not Advertisements

The Truman Show was ahead of it’s time, 24-hour live-cam, obsession with other people’s privacy and what we really think of product placement. One of the most elaborate reality show’s in fiction and yet it’s product placements still played out like a bad infomercial. By acting like Truman was just a audience to sell her stuff, it became one of the factors that broke Truman’s sense of reality (though the only surprise is why it took Truman to wonder why his wife was so batty). But it’s the same premise for many ads that attempt at a skit between actors, and no clever the script, it comes to an awkward halt when product plans and sale prices are being listed out.


For “What Lives Inside” Pereira & O’Dell chief creative officer PJ Pereira was quoted as saying “We had to find a role to make the product not the subject of the story we are telling, but a character. Because characters are what the audience will remember and love months after the campaign is gone.” In the trailer it’s all about Colin Hanks reconciling with J.K. Simmons and the fairytale land. The Intel tablet comes into only once, and it’s so brief you would have missed it for the visual design and trying to spot J.K. Simmons. Simply put, what will make “What Lives Inside” genuine and believable is if it’s able to stand up on it’s own with or without a tablet with it.

What Lives Inside Intel Tablet 

Quotes not Slogans

The goal of any work of art whether movie, novel, painting is to connect with the audience. And one of the easiest ways to make this easy is to collapse it in a digestible quote/slogan/picture/etc. In the “Dead Poet’s Society” Robin William sums up the entire movie in his iconic lesson to his students “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” and then proceeds to lead a merry year for the boys as they go on to do stupid and (mostly) unregrettable things.

 Dead Poet's Society, Carpe Diem Quote

The theme of all the “Inside Films” is the Intel Tagline: “It’s what’s inside that counts”, a great theme that could be inserted as a memorable quote in any feel good movie. And it’s representative of Intel’s narrative, that it’s up to us to do great things (and doing it with a tablet just makes it more awesome). It also sets the potential for a great movie as the movie is free to be about Colin Hanks tries to come to terms with the great things his father created and his own relationship with him and not how to use a table for every conceivable situation.

What Lives Inside J.K. Simmons workshop

Participants not Customers

The hope for any creator to put their work out there is to not just have fans willing to buy their work (pay the bills and all), but to share that work with everyone they know and even be inspired by it to create their own work. One of the most successful examples of fan support are the fans of the Firefly tv series. After the cancellation of one of the greatest Science Fiction TV series, fans of “Firefly”, through their petitioning, were successful in having a Firefly movie greenlit for release, and their continued support has ensured Fireflies place as a classic in the Sci-Fi world.

 Firefly Fans

A running practice to promote “Inside Films” is social participation, where a calls have been made for photos, videos even auditions to be part of the films. In the creative-heavy theme of this most recent movie, it’s artwork from fans. By asking participants to submit artwork of fantastical creatures of which a few would appear in the film, Intel is inviting it’s fans to be part of it’s narrative and so connect with Intel on a deeper level than just buying a tablet. Definition: Narrative Marketing at it’s finest.

What Lives Inside Artwork Contest