“The Movies Were Bad!”

Ok, so this really isn’t about bad movies…but it could be.

While I didn’t often agree with the political views of the show, I LOVED the TV show “The West Wing.”  I thought the writing was superb, the camera work was engaging and the actors played their parts to perfection.

What has me thinking is one specific segment from the second episode of Season 2.  For those of you that haven’t seen the show, I’ll give you a quick overview.  At the end of Season 1, shots are fired at the President and top aides as they leave a town hall meeting.  We find out in the first episode of Season 2 that the Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman (played by Bradley Whitford who is now on Studio 60…another show you should watch!) was hit by one of the bullets and is rushed into immediate surgery to repair various internal injuries including a collapsed lung.

That episode and the one that follows is then a series of story lines following the current story and numerous flashbacks to how each of the main characters came to be involved with the campaign and subsequent Presidential administration.

Ok, so that was the long way ’round to get to the part that I’ve been mulling over.

In that second episode, there is a segment that shows how the Press Secretary, C.J. Cregg (played wonderfully by Allison Janney) came to join the campaign.  As the clip starts, she is called into her office at a major PR firm to meet with the company’s president and an important client who is a movie producer or director.  He is upset that he is paying them for PR for his movies and they only received 2 Golden Globe nominations.

It is then that C.J. (Janney) explains the lack of success and sums up PR and Marketing in a short sentence.  She says, “They were bad movies.  If they were unknown, I could help you, but they weren’t.  The movies were bad.”

She continues on, and eventually gets fired, but to me, the sentiment of the constant struggle by PR and Marketing folks is summed up right there.  Often, after marketing and PR efforts don’t bring about the desired results, the “powers that be” blame the marketing, blame the PR.  They assume that if we, the “spinsters” had done our job better, they’d be getting the results/business they desired. 

That’s not always the problem.

Sometimes, it might just be that “they were bad movies.” 

We can promote/market until we’re blue in the face, but if what we’re promoting or marketing isn’t good…nay, isn’t GREAT, no one will care.  Dare I say, if it’s not a Purple Cow, people won’t notice.  Or, if they do notice, they will most likely be indifferent.

Contrarily, if the product/service/idea is great, or is worth knowing about, even small FAILURES at PR or marketing will most likely succeed because the strength of the offering will entice people to talk.  I know this topic has been done to death, but the message still hasn’t gotten through to far too many people.

So, let’s stop promoting “bad movies” and start creating things worth promoting. 

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“The Movies Were Bad!”

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