Inception Marketing

21 Jul

*Spoilers below.  Use extreme caution if you haven’t seen Inception yet.*

I read a post the other day titled Inception Marketing – timely, yes.  Maybe a bit exploitative?  Probably – it’s part of the game.  But accurate and thought provoking?  Definitely.

As with all good cinema, Inception has something to teach us about life.  Sounds melodramatic but it’s true.  I read a fantastic post – unfortunately, I’ve lost the link – about how the movie could be interpreted as one large analogy to the movie business.  Architects are directors, dreamers the audience, etc., etc…dreams can be cathartic, more real than reality and impact the real world – just like movies.  But I want to focus on something different in this post because the essay already covered that topic in detail.  If you find the link, please, post it in the comments.

Inception is about the power of an idea.  In the words of Cobbs – “the most resilient of viruses”.  The trouble is, you can’t just insert a fully formed idea, you can only use it’s most basic form and allow it to grow on it’s own.  So there’s a bit of an art to it.  If you’re too obvious, the target’s mind recognizes a foreign intruder and puts up walls.  Nolan (the director) uses the movie as a medium to talk about making movies.  His point is that you can’t be too blatant, you need to trust the audience to interpret for themselves.  The same can be said for marketing.  And just like marketing, the better you know your customer, the higher your chances of success.

Look at Starbucks.  They never explicitly say that drinking your daily latte makes you hip, upscale and trendy.  They provide the cues – atmosphere, barristas, music selection, wifi, location, etc – and you, the customer, make the final statement.  You say that Starbucks is an upscale brand.  That positioning is more powerful because you arrived at it on your own.  Yes, Starbucks planted the seed but you connected the dots.

Their’s a parallel to social dynamics too.  Trying too hard to be ‘cool’ in high school made you (or others) look like a poser.  If you have to say it, the magic is lost.

Leave the blatant, over-the-top statements for late night TV.  Use some subtlety and tact and your communications will be far more powerful and persuasive.

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2 Responses to “Inception Marketing”

  1. Joey Strawn July 21, 2010 at 3:10 PM #

    I liked your Starbucks example and it can be said for almost any major brand that you trust. The perception isn’t forced down your throat, it’s presented to you in it’s basest form (existence) and the we fill in the surroundings to the reality for ourselves.

    I’m glad you liked the idea as much as I did.

  2. Andrew Turnbull July 21, 2010 at 10:06 PM #

    Yeah, that’s bang on Joey. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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