Dr. Strange’s “magical” marketing lesson
My chick and I are going to see Dr. Strange 2 tonight (at the time I’m typing this email, not when you’re reading it).
And I caught a two-minute segment of a Kevin Feige’s interview from the premiere they hosted a few days ago.
For those who ain’t familiar, Feige is the man behind the MCU.
He’s produced 20-some movies, and last time I checked the movies averaged 1 billion—with a big, fat B—doll-hairs at the box office.
Unprecedented levels of success for any movie franchise. All because of the vision Kevin Feige had back in 2008 when Iron Man came out.
Anyway, the interviewer asked Feige if he could reveal any big surprises before the Hollywood elites watched the movie.
The trailers already gave away too much!
In fact, Feige was noticeably frustrated with how much the trailers already revealed.
And, it reminded me of a magical marketing lesson:
Before we dive into it, lemme say something:
Pissing off Kevin Feige is not a good move. He’s the most successful executive producer and studio head the world has ever known. What he’s created with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is nothing short of amazing (even if you don’t like comic book movies).
Each MCU movie is like another “episode” in a long-running TV show that spans almost 30 movies and 5 Disney+ TV shows long.
But here’s what happened:
Disney’s former CEO, Bob Iger, who was beloved by fans and business owners alike, stepped away about a year ago. And Bob Chapek replaced him. Chapek doesn’t have the best track record among Disney employees, fans, or critics. In fact, he was the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products before becoming CEO. And many blame him for some of the failures inside the parks department.
Anyway, when Chapek replaced Igor as CEO for Disney, it came with many and many-a changes.
He added a bureaucratic, managerial division above Kevin Feige (who doubles as the studio head and executive producer for every Marvel movie).
In other words…
He stripped away some of Feige’s deserved power, especially when it comes to marketing.
Feige being pissed that the trailers and TV spots gave away too much isn’t a nothing-burger. And Disney needs to tread lightly if’n they wanna keep the most successful executive producer in history.
What about that magical marketing lesson I mentioned?
There’s a fine gray line you must balance when releasing movie trailers.
You want it to be like a women’s skirt:
Short enough to keep your interest, but long enough that you don’t give everything away.
And this applies even more to emails, marketing, copywriting, and persuasion.
Let’s stick with our movie trailer example:
If you reveal too much in your trailers and TV spots, you ruin the excitement people will feel when they see it. In fact, it can deter people away from buying a ticket. (On a related note: this reminds me of “overselling” in sales — when you have a deal closed, but you keep talking and blow it.)
Same thing can happen with Dr. Strange 2.
Now, I’m not saying Dr. Strange 2 will struggle in the box office. Marvel has a lengthy track record of making kick-ass movies.
But if this was another movie with a lesser known property or “name” behind it?
It could very well ruin their box office.
Which brings me to the rub:
You’re not Marvel.
If you give away too much in your free content—whether it be emails, tweets, YouTube video, ads, whatever—you will blow the sale.
People enjoy being teased.
Your customers want you to tease them. They want you to create “earworms” in their brain that they must buy your product or service to figure out.
This is why the idea of “gIvE vAlUe” perpetrated by Gary Vee types is asinine:
The more value you give away, the less sales you’ll make.
When writing bullets, you want to give away 90% of the benefit or consequence. But if you give 100% away, it creates no action.
And here’s another weird psychological quirk crammed into our human psyches:
The more you pay, the more you pay attention.
That’s why “providing value” misses the mark:
Nobody has a financial incentive to implement what you give away.
Don’t give too much away — or you’re stealing sales from yourself.
That’s just ass-backwards, cully.
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