I took some time Friday night to watch a movie that was recommended to me. At first I wasn’t sure why the person thought I would like this, but it turned out this movie was in fact very pertinent to how I feel about brands and advertising. The movie is called Branded. The main character is an advertising executive who in the beginning shows the audience how he uses focus groups to draw the biggest audience.
How many times have you gone to see a movie only to feel by the end that the trailer had the only decent part of the movie? That’s how using a focus group can sell even a bad movie. While selling us a movie that might be a waste of our time to view, Branded then shows us the heads of the fast food industry who have gathered together to meet a man who is reported to be able to fix any business.
The fast food industry is quickly going broke, no one wants to eat fast food any longer. The question posed to them is “How far are you willing to go?” The first response is that they will do anything, but one person has a temporary conscience and replies, “Within the law”. He is told that won’t be far enough.
The main character walks away from advertising and the bustle of the city, only to return to a completely changed way of life in the place he had called home. He realizes advertising has finally taken over people’s lives and decides something must be done and the people saved.
I don’t want to give too much away and spoil the movie for you so that’s all I will say about the details. But since watching I’ve wondered if we put a stop to advertising how would that change our lives. If we didn’t see the advertising for new drugs for every medical condition would we still go to a doctor and ask for a pill to help us? If children didn’t see commercials and flyers with toys would they be happier without ever knowing about those toys? What would they do for fun? Maybe something like this?
Would people still go to the malls looking for something, anything to buy? And would they still want their fast food if advertising was banned today, or is it a habit that is so well-formed those establishments wouldn’t see a drop in their bottom line?
While I was pondering these questions, I happened to see in my inbox Kate’s thoughts on the movie “The Legend of 1900″. This is a story of a new-born baby boy who is abandoned on a luxury liner and grows up to be a piano prodigy. He never leaves the ship, and there is a good reason why. Kate’s thoughts on “The Legend of 1900″ so closely resembled my own after watching “Branded” you might want to stop by and see why he doesn’t leave the ship and how Kate applies her impressions to today’s society.