Thursday, August 12, 2010


Consumer.  To consume.  To buy and use and then discard.  Our economy grows or dies on our level of consumption.

Over the last one hundred years, research has been fine tuned and advertising has become extremely effective.  The experts are extremely good at what they do-- convince you to buy.

I remember pitching an potential investor for one of the movies and he jumped up and went to his white board and began a twenty minute lecture on advertising (he was very proud of the fact that he had taken several radio stations from obscurity to big market share numbers).  Several times he told me that I wouldn't learn this at Harvard Business School.  Seeing as I wasn't enrolled and wasn't going to be, I had to take his word for it.

What he told me was that he had discovered the one thing people wanted when he built the largest Christian radio station in the country.  While I visualized Jack Palance and Billy Crystal, he continued.  He told me what the one thing was and then gave it to the people and behold-- big numbers!  (Too bad Jesus didn't use some Madison Avenue Advertising strategy... but that's another story).

My mentor defines Manipulation as the coercion to do something the person hadn't intended on doing.  Well, that applies to most advertising.

At the same time, I'm working with a client that deals in the consumer debt industry.  Well no wonder the US consumer is saddled with unsecured debt (ie credit cards)-- the culture here is to buy, buy, buy.  The advertising and marketing has gotten so good, that it's eating the foundation out from under itself.

And the consumer, like a good staph infection, has become resilient to antibiotics, so the Madison Avenue guys keep finding new and better ways to target.  It's amazing-- I've sat in on some conference calls for our upcoming small theatrical release, and there's teams of people dedicated to reaching different market segments.

In the meantime, no wonder it's hard to self-distribute your own movie.  You're competing against an army of advertising and marketing experts who can quickly and efficiently get the word out.

But in all this vast advertising improvement, target marketing, niche marketing, viral marketing... the number one form of advertising is the same today as it was when Jesus walked the earth during his three and a half year ministry.  Word Of Mouth.

So I think about "The Imposter."  We can drop some good money advertising... paying those specialist.  But at the end of the day, the most effective will be you-- if you liked it.

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