“Get Out” Of Marketing

Mar 8, 2018

With art, a person’s emotional response to a piece does not determine its quality.

When someone looks at Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream it may conjure up feelings of horror, humor, joy, excitement, or even dread. Just because someone reacts one way (or in multiple ways) doesn’t make that person right or wrong, and it doesn’t make the painting good or bad. All art is inherently subjective.

All art, that is, except for Hollywood movies.

In February of last year, Universal released “Get Out.” It was the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, half of the duo from Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele.” Initially, the movie was marketed as your typical, low-budget horror film—cheap scares, supernatural activity, and perhaps a murder or two. Prior to its release, few knew what to expect from a horror movie directed by someone so well known for his jokes, much less so his ability to scare.

What they got ended up being one of the highest-grossing films of the year, earning two Golden Globe nominations along with four nominations, including a win for Best Original Screenplay, in yesterday’s Academy Awards.

But there was an apparent problem with those accolades.

While Universal marketed “Get Out” as a horror film, the Golden Globes actually categorized it as a comedy. Many considered that an insult to the movie’s depth. Others, meanwhile, thought it was more of a thriller that offered a fresh (and scary) look at current race relations in the U.S.

No matter how it was (or should’ve been) categorized, the movie was a hit at the box office and with critics. “Get Out” was one of the rare films that could evoke different emotions in different people.

All that matters now is how much of an impact this hypnotizing piece of filmmaking will continue to have years down the road.

Long story short: marketing can’t always influence how someone reacts to your product. Sometimes your customers decide that for you. But as long as they “get out” of your product what you want them to—a positive experience—semantics often don’t matter.

This article also appeared in our weekly newsletter, Long Story Short. It was written by Joe McIntyre.

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