My Mantra

Helping brands and leaders be more influential
by embracing their humanity and personality.

Movies & Hollywood Archive

The Most Authentic Movie Marketing Campaign Ever?

It’s hard to imagine a movie trailer without “The Voice.” You can probably hear it in your head right now. Usually “The Voice” starts with the same three words: “in a world …” There are few marketing campaigns as well scripted as movie marketing. Though the timing and strategy may vary slightly, the trailer is the most typical marketing method used to showcase the best parts of a movie to try and convince you to come to see it. The other common tactic is to grab random quotes from reviewers and publications promising “a gripping adventure” or a “masterfully told story.” The strategy comes down to two predictable priorities:

1. Use a trailer to show the best scenes of the film.
2. Use random quotes for endorsements and social proof.

To see any film break from that traditional model seems like news in itself. The marketing for the upcoming animated film Epic is so dramatically differently, that it may just be the most authentic movie marketing campaign ever. What’s the big difference? The strategic choice to ask the actors to share their genuine excitement for the film by introducing the animated characters that they lend their voices to. The film brings together singers and actors to create an ensemble cast of superstars that each can pull their own fan bases toward the film. Here are a few of the actors who have recorded trailer videos talking about the characters they play:

Steven Tyler:


Josh Hutchinson:


And here is the full traditional movie trailer:

As we head towards another big summer movie season kicking off with the Iron Man 3 premiere tonight, the Hollywood marketing machine will be following the script week after week to inspire us to visit the theater often. One of the facts I shared with an audience several months ago during a keynote to the Americans for the Arts Conference was that personal connections make a difference when it comes to the passion people feel towards the arts. Do I feel connected to Beyonce? Probably only as a fan. But hearing her explain why she is excited about Epic takes me beyond the story. It makes it slightly more authentic than “The Voice.” And yes, I’m now just a little more inclined to go and see the movie in theaters as a result.

Aziz Ansari’s Simple 30 Second Marketing Trick


Aziz Ansari wasn’t planning to stick around after his show for photos. Most of the people in the packed theater in Washington DC where I saw him perform his Buried Alive Comedy Tour last week probably weren’t expecting that anyway. Despite social media breaking down virtual barriers to conversations with unreachable people (and Aziz has plenty of them with more…Read More >>

The 2012 Influential Marketing Book Award Winners


The books on your shelf say something about you. That’s why most of us have books that we put on our shelves over the past year which we haven’t quite had a chance to read yet – but still display as a declaration of what we believe. As an author, I usually make it fully through at least 30 books…Read More >>

How The NRA Just Used The 3 Biggest PR Crisis Response Tricks In The Book


When the tragedy struck in Newtown, the National Rifle Association (NRA) decided to take down their Facebook page and go dark. In the press conference they just completed, they refused to take questions. In a world filled with conversation, the NRA chose to skip transparency and authenticity … and instead used three time honored strategies of crisis response to help…Read More >>

How To Spot A Trend: 7 Social Media Trends That Matter In 2013


There has been a single pink folder on my desk since January 15th of this year. That day matters to me for two reasons – first because its my birthday, and second because it’s the day when I start an empty folder with the intention of collecting ideas for my year end trend report. Then throughout the year, I steadily…Read More >>

8 Ways Arts Organizations Can Be More Human

spunk -rohit

When I was 17 years old, I wanted to be a playwright. Deciding that I was going to try and learn from within, I landed an internship at the well known Studio Theater in Washington DC. It was 1992, and they were producing a show called Spunk – which adapted several short stories from Zora Neale Hurston. A big part…Read More >>

How Personal Relationships Will Make (Or Break) The Future Of The Arts


For Nate Dern, the unlikely path to acting micro-stardom would come from a simple three letter catchphrase that most people would barely consider a word. As the artistic director of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York and a sociology PhD student at Columbia University, Nate had spent years auditioning for different roles. In late 2011, he landed a…Read More >>

12 Big Trends Transforming The World Of Retail Right Now

Last week I had the chance to deliver a keynote presentation at a merchandising event put on for some of the largest retailers in the US by the trade association  I shared some trends built upon consumer behaviour and incorporating some startups that are getting a lot of attention right now.  I don't share many of my presentations as…Read More >>

“Somebody I Used To Know” & The Co-Created Future Of Musical Storytelling

“Somebody I Used To Know” & The Co-Created Future Of Musical Storytelling

The moment in 1981 when MTV officially launched its music channel by airing The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star" was a big moment in the history of music. While it may not have been the first moment when videos were merged with music, it was certainly one of the most powerful. All of a sudden you could not only…Read More >>

Timing – The Most Creative Lunch In History

Timing – The Most Creative Lunch In History

NOTE: This is an excerpt from Chapter 8 of my new book Likeonomics all about Timing, the 2nd principle of Likeonomics. I hope you enjoy it! In 1855, a Scottish clergyman named James Gall had an idea that should have changed every map ever created, but didn’t. It was four years before Charles Darwin would publish his Origin of Species,…Read More >>