13 Marketing Movies Every Marketer in Your Team MUST Watch

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Seth Godin

My heart sinks to even imagine the separation of two people madly in love with each other. I had tears rolling down my cheeks when I saw this old man trying to recollect memories of his dear wife, Loretta, who passed away in 2018. Pictures that capture the beautiful moments spent together help you relive them, right. So, our old man queries Google – “How to remember things?”. A solution that Google suggests is the Google Assistant. 

The man then goes to Google Assistant and asks, “Hey Google! Show me some photos of Loretta and me!” Google Assistant took the old man down the memory lane. It showed the meals they shared, the places they visited, their hugs and kisses, their younger selves, their favorite movie, Loretta’s laughter, and many other beautiful memories. While going through these pictures, the man kept talking to the assistant, asking it to remember things about Loretta. Google Assistant kept making notes of all these beautiful times. In the end, Google Assistant even recapped the things it recorded.

By the way, everything I just described was happening in an ad by Google. Kudos to the marketing team who created such an emotional video and wisely portrayed the help their product can offer! How do people get such creative ideas? Well, inspirations can come from anywhere, including movies. So, we have pulled a list of 14 movies that every marketer on your team must watch! You would be amazed to see how these movies will stimulate the brains of your marketing team.

So, let the show begin.

  1. The Social Dilemma
  2. Emily in Paris
  3. The Great Hack
  4. The Founder
  5. Steve Jobs
  6. The Internship
  7. Moneyball
  8. The Social Network
  9. Up in the Air
  10. Mad Men
  11. The Pursuit of Happyness
  12. Kinky Boots
  13. Thank You For Smoking

1. The Social Dilemma

Year of release2020
Type Documentary
IMDB Rating7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating85%
Link for watching Netflix – The Social Dilemma

“People using social media are not your customers; they are the product.”

Sounds intriguing? Perhaps it is.

This movie indulges its viewers in a deep discussion of the creation of social media, its alarming impacts on human behavior, screen time patterns, and many more things. You can see tech experts who once worked with the companies – Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others. 

These people talk about their experience of developing the digital powerhouse companies and the guilt they feel today for birthing such entities that influence society today. The guilt came from the misuse of the platform and its effect on the consumers. 

You can also see the effect of social media and remarketing campaigns that help gain customers. For a marketer, the main takeaway from this masterpiece is – that the people using social media platforms are not your customers; they are the product. In layman’s language, this means when you sign up on any social network, you are looking to have your personal and demographic data shared with companies with the goal of commoditizing who you are as a person. The aim of developing the platform was to “sell you” to the companies looking to advertise placements.

2. Emily in Paris

Year of release2020
Type Series – Comedy – Drama
IMDB Rating7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating63%
Link for watching Netlix – Emily in Paris

Sexy or sexist? What do customers think? You care, or you give a damn? Watch the movie to see what this young and dynamic marketer – Emily did!

This Netflix series talks about Emily – a young marketer who gets transferred to Paris to bring an American touch to a French-based marketing company. It is very captivating to watch her ups and downs in this journey and the marketing strategies she comes up with as a marketer. She was indeed successful in bringing the American touch the company needed. By the way, the series has two seasons: our favorite is season 1.

The series gives the best example of marketing when a perfume brand collaborates with the company where Emily works. They use a naked girl for the advertisement and describe it as sexy, to which Emily raises a conflict stating it to be sexist. She then generates a poll – “Sexy or Sexist” to see what exactly the customers of the perfume brand would take the advertisement. That was a camouflaged lesson for the marketers to learn that the customers’ opinion matters the most. When you start looking at your campaigns or products from a customer’s point of view, you are most likely to understand better what to deliver.

Moreover, Emily’s approach to creating Instagram content, showcased in the series, is quite exemplary. The series truly inspires all the marketers watching it to think out-of-the-box and bring ideas to the table that stands out.

3. The Great Hack

Year of release2019
Type Documentary
IMDB Rating7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating85%
Link for watching Netflix – The Great Hack

“There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.”

Philip Kotler

This Netflix movie tells us about a disreputable company ‘Cambridge Analytica’ that used social media (Facebook) as a weapon to spread misinformation. The disclosures regarding Cambridge Analytica and its role in the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US Presidential elections are disturbing, but that was only the beginning. Cambridge Analytica did innovative marketing, even though they crossed the ethical boundaries sometimes (for which they paid the price).

The question is, how did they influence the result of such massive campaigns? The answer is they used digital media to target persuasive voters at the right time, and then they advertised to them. The approach is not wrong; it is just contemporary and common-sense marketing.

The key takeaway for your marketing team is that audience segmentation is the key. It is essential to identify your key audience. Understanding ever-changing consumer behaviors is crucial for contemporary marketing.

4. The Founder

Year of release2016
Type Movie – Drama/History
IMDB Rating7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating81%
Link for watching Netflix – The Founder

“We are not in the Hamburger business; we are in the Real Estate business.”

Ray Kroc, President of McDonald’s.

The movie Founder is a story based on an ingenious salesman – Ray Kroc. Ray Kroc is a 52-year-old milkshake machine salesman, played by Michael Keaton. Unlike most of Ray’s customers, who only need one five-spindle milkshake maker at a time, the McDonald brothers placed an order buying eight for their single shop.

He became so intrigued that he decided to visit the restaurant. With their engineering brains, the brothers overhauled the whole drive-in restaurant idea to focus on quality food through a reduced menu of only the most popular items (hamburgers, fries, sodas), and maybe most crucially, speed in having any order available within seconds. However, the brothers failed at the business expansion despite having an efficient process in place.

Ray immediately saw the potential in McDonald’s restaurant. However, Kroc believed that the fast-food joints wouldn’t make as much money as the real estate business. He wanted to market the idea and bring the concept to larger customer sizes. He then worked on a similar vision and created a billion-dollar franchise, today known as Mcdonald’s. 

Like Kroc, every marketer could relate to the fact that to be successful; you don’t need to have an original idea; improving an existing one can be an option too! Let’s face it – there is no such thing as the original. You could be up all night, coming up with a mind-blowing idea. Another million-dollar company could create a similar solution. 

For someone planning strategies for business marketing, this is the movie you must watch.

5. Steve Jobs

Year of release2015
Type Movie – Drama
IMDB Rating7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating85%
Link for watching Amazon Prime – Steve Jobs

A thrilling success story of a college dropout!

During his college times, do you know that Steve Jobs didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life and how college would help him figure it out? So he decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out ok. 

Steve Jobs, the brain of the multi-billion dollar company – Apple, was the most imaginative product designer for millennials and a generation older than them. This movie is his biography, where we get to see the creativity and development of Apple along with his ups and downs in the journey toward today’s technological evolution. 

This movie gives us an idea of how the business innovators sold themselves to marketers, just like the iPod sold itself to those who live for music. Remember the quote,

“The greatest artists like Dylan, Picasso, and Newton risked failure. And if we want to be great, we’ve gotta risk it too.”

This movie made all the marketers realize that it is essential to risk failure for a successful business.

6. The Internship

Year of release2013
Type Movie – Comedy
IMDB Rating6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating35%
Link for watching Netflix – The Internship

Imagine someone your dad/mom’s age sitting in the same class as you? Exciting, right?

Something similar happens in this movie called ‘The Internship.’ It is about two old sales associates, Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson), who aim to work for Google despite lacking technical knowledge. Somehow, they manage to take up an internship with people half their age in the company but are one of the misfit “Nooglers” in the organization. 

The movie displays their dedication, hard work, and journey on how they caught up with the technological advancements. One of the most memorable moments in the film was the reference to Quidditch from Harry Potter.

Molding it to the marketing side, what would Quidditch be if the players couldn’t fly? 

The above situation could be a similar case with your website. It will not be visible to your audience if it does not rank in the Google search results. This indicates that your website never ranked well. Search Engine Optimization is going to be your support here.

7. Moneyball

Year of release2011
Type Movie – Sport/Drama
IMDB Rating7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating94%
Link for watching Netflix – Moneyball

“When your enemy’s making mistakes, don’t interrupt him.”

Sounds like a hack?

Isn’t it applicable in the marketing world as well? 

This is one of the most memorable quotes from the movie.

Moneyball is a movie about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt. He builds a baseball team on a shoestring budget by applying a data-driven strategy to acquire new players. This film recounts that one should neither be satisfied with minor wins nor underestimate the value of statistics.

Several such moments in the movie demonstrate the parallel between baseball and marketing. Both fields, for example, make data-driven judgments. 

Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) hired an assistant who looked at the numbers, not the players. While the rest of the league was obsessed with home runs and batting average, the A’s focus was on base percentage, reducing errors, and favoring matchups that resulted in more wins. Billy wasn’t just looking at numbers differently. He was also looking at the right numbers.

By looking at the actual numbers, you will see what is working. If a webpage gives you a 5% conversion rate compared to 2%, does it matter what the page looks like? Stick to the actual numbers and not the eye. It can be deceiving. It is all about the results for business regardless of your circumstances or challenges.

Pro tip: If you need 30 standout SaaS growth hacks to attain double the growth for your SaaS business, fill out the form below!

8. The Social Network

Year of release2010
Type Movie – Drama/History 
IMDB Rating7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating96%
Link for watching Netflix – The Social Network

“I made so many mistakes in running the company so far; basically, any mistake you can think of I probably made. I think, if anything, the Facebook story is a great example of how if you’re building a product that people love, you can make a lot of mistakes.”

Mark Zuckerberg

This movie is about the birth of a platform that changed the way people communicate forever – Facebook. This movie has been a game-changer in today’s world of digital solutions. Taking us into the life of Mark Zuckerberg, this movie has brought a revolution in the digital marketing world.

The film’s plot shows us what inspired him to create Facebook, how long it took, what steps he took, and the challenges he faced. The movie gives practical marketing lessons on how a person can build a business from a brand persona and what steps he should take to lead the brand to stardom. Facebook simply works on a basic marketing principle – making connections, which many businesses follow!

9. Up in the Air

Year of release2009
Type Movie – Romance/Comedy
IMDB Rating7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating90%
Link for watching Netflix – Up in the Air

If the marketing team is not leveraging data for growth, they need to get into #FoMo.

Ryan (the movie’s main lead) understood the importance of data when he met Natalie Keener, played by Anna Kendrick, who brings digitization to his job role.

In the movie, Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, works as an “outplacement counseling” specialist for many businesses. His responsibility is to fire employees on behalf of his clients by delivering motivational speeches to make them feel powerful by letting go. He tells them that even though their professional lives are “up in the air,” they can have a good look at their ambitions from up there.

Another critical message from Ryan is precision in the timing when to strike the appropriate chord and what to say. He had done some prior research on Bob(one of the fired employees) and tailored his discussion accordingly. Marketers must also plan their efforts in a customized manner, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all, pre-cooked solution.

10. Mad Men

Year of release2007
Type Series – Drama
IMDB Rating8.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating94%
Link for watching Amazon Prime – Mad Men

In many companies, there is a policy that “the customer is always right.” “Rule 1: The customer is always right. Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, re-read Rule 1“. 

Inspired by this idea, Man Men is a series based on a 1960s advertising firm – what else does a marketer need? 

It is just like a comic book to all the marketing nerds. This series will show you how the lead, , can be a fantastic role model for your marketing team, not for his life choices, though!

Professionally, marketers can learn many things from the ‘misfit’ team at Sterling Coopers and Partners, an advertising agency. One of the most memorable scenes from the movie was when Don yelled,

“I sell products, NOT advertising!”

When one of his rivals Duch Philips was ready to take over Sterling Cooper, he aimed to boost earnings by reducing the creative department’s position and pressuring customers to increase their media budgets. 

This short outburst showed everyone why Don Draper has been so successful. He focused on offering the services (products) that were helpful for his clients. We might want to focus on “what can I do for my client” over “what can my client do for me,” right?

11. The Pursuit of Happyness

Year of release2006
Type Movie – Drama
IMDB Rating8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating67%
Link for watching Netflix – The Pursuit of Happyness

In one of the scenes, Chris Gardner, the main lead, says, 

“You got a dream; You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves; they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

The movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ is an inspiring plot, especially for entrepreneurs who want to launch commercials that serve a more extensive, brighter purpose of helping others in some manner. 

The film is about a single father, Chris Gardner, who raises a 5-year-old son and loses a lot in life before winning it all through ambition, perseverance, and values.

Furthermore, this film can inspire marketers to create advertisements full of positivity and passion. 

12. Kinky Boots

Year of release2005
Type Movie – Drama/Comedy
IMDB Rating7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating56%
Link for watching Amazon Prime – Kinky Boots

Charlie didn’t let his company fall into the grave and just die — instead, he chose that he was gonna make it rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

This movie is about Charlie Price, who inherits a soon-to-be-bankrupt shoe factory. Things change when he meets Lola, the star of a Drag show. He sees potential in an underserved niche market: high-quality shoes for drag queens that suit their persona and feet. With inspiration, he strives to restore his father’s factory by producing drag queen boots.

Marketers can learn from this plot how crucial it is to find a solution to any problem and stay true to the “why” of the business, just as Charlie did with his shoe factory. Charlie understood the tenets of his company’s “why,” or brand promise – to make high-quality, hand-made shoes, so customers felt comfortable and confident. The film also highlights some everyday struggles that marketers face, like striving in the face of economic challenges and searching for ways to be recognized. It then advises on being open and flexible to changes in your business environment and brings out a lesson “Change the mind: Change the world.

13. Thank You For Smoking

Year of release2005
Type Movie – Drama/Comedy
IMDB Rating7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating86%
Link for watching Amazon Prime – Thank You For Smoking

Cigarettes are harmless. 

Thank You For Smoking movie focuses on the same concept. It shows how a comprehensive content strategy and consistent, persuasive marketing can help you completely change consumers’ perception of your product, even if it can kill them. 

The movie is about Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for the tobacco industry whose job is to promote cigarette smoking when the health problems related to cigarettes are apparent to most people. Though the movie is about the cigarette sector, the movie’s message applies to many other industries. 

When the movie’s main character says, “I get paid to talk,” it sounds very familiar to the role of marketers. This is probably the best example of why behavior-based marketing is so effective in spinning a product the right way and selling it to anyone with persuasion. It’s worth watching for every marketer who wants to build trust among its audience.

Parting Words

Sharing this list with your marketing team offers you an opportunity to hit two birds with one stone. 

One – You can ask your interns to watch these movies as one of their weekly tasks. This will help them build a thought process, and you will be giving them a story to share about your company. (After all, how many companies ask their interns to watch movies as an assignment.) 

Two – As the involvement of the senses is much higher while watching a movie than attending a meeting or reading a blog, this might be an awesome hack to train your marketing team. This is most likely to save a lot of your time in making them better at their jobs.

Ready to share this list with your marketing team, or want to save it for the future?

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