Marketing Movies: 5 Films That Accurately Depict Marketing

by Jess Mannering

Most people look to movies as a way to escape reality. But, for some, movies can actually inspire you to do many things like becoming a better person, friend, and worker! In fact, if you work in the marketing realm, this should come as no surprise to you. Keeping that thought in mind, here are our top five movies depicting marketing:

Marketing Movie 1: The Social Network (2010)

Coming in at number one, we have The Social Network, which tells the story of how marketing juggernaut Facebook was born. While the movie itself has many anti-marketing themes, watching the behind-the-scenes history of the platform is fascinating. The site was originally supposed to serve as an exclusive website for students within ivy league schools, and, well, we all know where it ended up.

For those who work in the marketing realm, it’s incredibly interesting to see how the creation of Facebook transpired starting from ideation all the way to execution. It is especially intriguing considering this movie is based on a true story. We know the powerhouse that is Facebook today, but it wasn’t always like that. There were plenty of ups and downs to get the company to where it is here in 2021.

Marketing Movie 2:  Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball follows Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), general manager of Oakland Athletics in his attempt to assemble a competitive baseball team. Within the movie, Billy Beane and assistant general manager, Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill), are faced with the difficulty of building a team with the franchise’s limited budget.

So, how exactly does this depict marketing? Well, Beane and Brand made data-driven decisions. With such a small budget, Beane and Brand were forced to recruit a team of undervalued talent by taking a different approach to scouting players. Oakland Athletics abandoned the traditional way of scouting talent for more of an atypical approach.

In the end, the data proved itself to be worthy as the Oakland A’s won the most games in baseball that year (2002). Data has become quite literally one of the largest components in their process, not just in reference to baseball but marketing as well.

Marketing Movie 3: Catch Me If You Can (2002)

This movie is based on the real-life Frank Abagnale (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a guy who successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars prior to his 19th birthday. Some of his crimes included posing as an airline pilot, a doctor, and a parish prosecutor. Although, his most prominent crime was check fraud. He was so successful in crime that the FBI actually sought him out to help catch future check forgers.

But how does this depict marketing? Well, it’s quite simple: marketing requires the power of influence. Think about it, what are the odds that an average 16-year-old could pass as an airline pilot? Slim to none.

But Frank Abagnale wasn’t an ordinary kid. He was a kid who had mastered the power of influence.

In Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, he touches base on the six psychological principles of influence which include commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, and scarcity. These principles, which marketers use on a daily basis, are prevalent throughout the movie.

Marketing Movie 4: Jobs (2013)

Jobs follows the life of Steve Jobs from 1974 while he was a student at Reed College all the way to the introduction of the iPod in 2001. Essentially, this movie showcases his startup and the rocky road leading to the company’s exponential growth.

That’s where marketing comes into play.

In the marketing world, every minor detail makes a big difference when it comes to a brand’s success. In essence, it’s the small things that make the biggest impact. You know the saying, “You’re one decision away from living a totally different life”? Well, Steve Jobs truly was.

At the beginning of his professional career, he was working Atari as a video game developer. From there, he continued climbing to the top where he eventually was named the CEO of a massive powerhouse brand, Apple. The journey wasn’t easy and to be quite honest, he stepped on a few people to get to the top. However, every small decision led him to get where he was prior to his passing in 2011.

Marketing Movie 5: The Joneses (2010)

Have you ever struggled with understanding the significance of influencer marketing? If so, this is the perfect movie for you.

This movie focuses on The Joneses, a family that’s good-looking, incredibly charming, and (to the public eye) has a perfect life. But that isn’t actually the case. Their “perfect life” is all just an act.

To the outside world – Kate, Steve, Mick, and Jenn Jones are a picturesque family that moved to the suburbs as a result of Kate and Steve’s changing careers. However, Kate is the leader of a team of stealth marketers.

For those unfamiliar with the term, stealth marketers are professional salespeople who disguise product placement as a part of their day-to-day routine. This includes their clothing, household items, food, and more.

The team of four quickly integrates themselves into the surrounding community, recommending products to their peers. Soon enough, local stores and businesses are stocking products based on the recommendations of the “family.”

While this family experiences a number of ups and downs throughout the movie, one thing is clear – influencer marketing really does work.