Below is a response I made at Adpulp
after following a link
from Mike Bawden’s Much Ado about Marketing
blog. The posts relate to a disappointing box-ofﬁce summer in the United States, and query whether the movie theatre
Segmentation has never stopped, and a lot of it has been driven by what technology can offer consumers. What this is part of is an even greater trend begun by the ﬁrst romantics—now that we can “own” (more correctly, license) a movie on DVD, the cinema continues its slide into becoming more defunct. Yes, it remains a special night out, and cinemas are right to have more luxurious surroundings to entice us there—but they are becoming more “tourist attractions for locals” when DVDs offer similar potential clarity and the chance to pause, rewind and allow for bathroom breaks.
Possible reversals to the trend will include a sense of community, one which we marketers predict at the beginnings of each decade, but we have so far been wrong. The ’80s were meant to be less selﬁsh than the ’70s, and we were wrong. The ’90s had the same selﬁshness but with a politically correct bent. The 2000s have begun with the same individualism. American consumers, in particular, seem caught up in the idea that they are the stars of their personal TV shows, as though The Truman Show were real for them, and products and services have continued to treat them accordingly. Only if a sense of community returns—the opposite of the behaviour exempliﬁed by Fear Factor or Survivor contestants—will we start seeing a reversal, or at least a realization that our individual, selﬁsh “personal stardom” is a farce in the big picture.
I don’t advocate for a second that we all dress in the same Mao suit or see the same movie, but there are many things which we have in common. The idea of “world peace”, for instance, is common throughout most of our 6·5 billion, but we just aren’t at the same stage in our respective countries to demand that of our leaders. I still hold hope for the internet as a uniter, for the wind-up $100 laptop for developing countries, and sufﬁcient people wanting to help their fellow human beings, but to achieve this we need to change our thinking from “starring roles” to “supporting roles”—something which will take a bit of a societal shake-up to kick off. Sadly, 9-11 didn’t manage to unite the world beyond October 1, 2001, so it makes you wonder.
Perhaps there will be that one great movie, or that one great movement, that will speak to every person deeply. Or, maybe the cinema will simply have to adapt to our ever-segmenting tastes, become venues for digital entertainment, and develop new technologies where small booths see the movie of their choice, on larger-than-TV screens—an intermediate step before we become engaged in virtual-reality experiences.
Not much directly on branding
, but there is much on the underlying reasons behind why Beyond Branding
was even written.