In the last post, we talked about the hypothetical scenario of Alfred Hitchcock walking into your office and taking over your marketing department. But what if that someone was Stanley Kubrick? We know Halloween is around the corner but nothing can be quite as terrifying as two of film history’s greatest directors tag teaming on a brand or campaign. It’s truly terrifying – and yet equally exhilarating and even a little bit intimidating.
Hitchcock and Kubrick are both suspense builders but in a completely different style. Hitchcock gives little in the way of effects and costumes. Less is more with him. His storytelling is like stage theater – just enough to build the story then he pulls you in to help him build the rest. Kubrick is quite the opposite. He can be ostentatious with cult classics like 2001 Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange. Like Hitchcock, he doesn’t make the storytelling obvious but allows it to unfold. However, he does like to use compelling visuals and sound to drive the story. He likes to make his audience deeply uncomfortable.
The hallmark of a Kubrick film is that it leaves you unsettled. Whether it was the space scenes in 2001 Space Odyssey paired with unlikely music that seemed almost discordant to the viewer, to the film’s eerie all-knowing psychopathic Hal or even the ominous monolith, the fact is you felt uncomfortable. The same goes for this other films, especially in A Clockwork Orange that blurred the lines between right and wrong, hero and villain, where Kubrick relished pushing boundaries with jarring scenes right up to the very end.
Coming in as marketing director, he’s going to want your brand to do the same. Take creative risks, take advantage of multimedia marketing opportunities, and pair unlikely elements to create something that isn’t just a cliche attempt at art. He’s going to want your marketing team to create something that makes people uncomfortable enough to be unsettled. This is different from controversy; you’re not just being provocative, you’re also being thoughtful.
Just like Hitchcock, Kubrick builds up the story without being obvious about its direction. Once he’s at the end of the story, once the message is ready to be shared or the punchline revealed, it is different from most stories out there today. It’s different because it isn’t obvious. Translate this to a brand by getting rid of the cheap slogans and cliche marketing pieces, opting instead to build narratives that push larger stories. What Kubrick is going to recognize is that his role as marketing director is essentially not that different from being a film director. Both roles have the same elements in play and require planning and orchestration.
The real difference between Hitchcock and Kubrick is how both would actually work together for one brand or campaign. This is where you divide and conquer. Hitchcock style is best for content, while Kubrick would be exquisite for audio/video storytelling. The real challenge is pairing both styles for graphic design work and branding.
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