Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Dare to be Different

“Truth, justice and the American way!” For decades this phrase has been the hallmark of superhero movies, the driving ethos behind the action-packed morality tales of good versus evil. Whether it’s the good natured Superman, the grim and brooding Batman or the persecuted X-Men, the format behind these movies remains the same. Family-friendly action and adventure with clear-cut heroes triumphing over evil (and acting as prolonged toy adverts to boot).

And then came Deadpool. An obscure, virtually unknown comic book character, Deadpool exploded onto screens this year with a movie that relished in breaking all the rules. Replacing the existing all-ages superhero format with an R-Rated movie of ultra-violence, the kind of swearing that no child should ever hear, and irreverent comedy that frequently breaks the Fourth Wall (which is like me admitting that I’m not a well-paid member of the T&S team, but actually a worker trapped in a Southeast Asian social media blog-writing sweatshop).

How did audiences react to this massive change in the superhero movie? They universally said “About damn time!” (not with their mouths but, y’know, with their wallets). From a budget of just $58 million, Deadpool garnered a worldwide opening of $264.9 million from 62 markets! It grossed more than traditional movies from established superheroes like Batman, Iron Man and Superman.

The world is ready to do things differently when it comes to entertainment. It’s been thirty-eight years since the first Superman movie arrived in cinemas (and even longer since the superhero film serials of the 1940’s) so OF COURSE audiences are crying out for something different! Their world is constantly changing, and to be effective we have to play differently to how we did five or ten years ago.

If the mainstream is getting more tolerant of edginess and conceptual storytelling, this can filter down to corporate videos. Our web series The New Guy” is a perfect example of this conceptual storytelling. Presenting the client’s message with an ongoing story composed of running jokes, antagonists, conflicts and mysteries. The New Guy has strongly connected with its audience, racking up over half-a-million views for the first series alone.

Our web series Lily’s World is another example of presenting a bold new format for delivering the client’s information. It takes risks with its tone and presentation, and those risks have paid off to the tune of over 99,000 views for the series.

No, we’ll not be swearing or shooting people any time soon in our work (at least not in front of the camera) but the principle remains. If you are clever, challenging and different, you’ll connect more deeply with clients than the more traditional or straightforward ways.

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