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Things the Movie “Army of Darkness” Can Teach Us About Internet Marketing


This post was written by our Social Media channel sponsor Full Sail University.

“Alright, you primitive screwheads, listen up!” For those familiar with the work of movie director Sam Raimi, “Army of Darkness” is, no doubt, a perennial favorite. For those as yet indoctrinated, I’d encourage you to check out the film. It’s one of my favorites! In addition to being funny and imaginative, the chief protagonist, Ash Williams, would make a great Internet marketer. Really! Here are some lessons Internet marketers can take from Ash’s example.

“Say hello to the twenty-first century!”

In Army of Darkness (1992), everyman Ash Williams finds himself stranded in the year 1,300 A.D. To return to his own time, he must battle the formidable “Army of the Dead,” with limited manpower and crude technology. Rather than resign himself to failure, Ash examines the materials at hand (excuse the pun), crafts a powerful mechanical arm, makes gunpowder, and even cobbles together an ad hoc tank to fortify his allies against the evil forces.

In a more modern context, what if no one’s sure what to say on Twitter, or how tweets should differ from Facebook posts? You may be in the metaphorical Dark Ages at your company, but surely there are resources at your disposal. Use what you have.

Consider repurposing White Papers, marketing collateral, keynote speeches by executives, and any existing advertising into content for your company blog or social media feeds.

If enthusiasm for the cause is lacking, you need to be the driving force, the leader, behind any new efforts – it may be a grassroots movement at first, but once word of mouth spreads about your efforts, you may find yourself flush with internal supporters, willing to contribute their talents.

“Just me, Baby. Just me.”

In an effort to rally the last 60 residents of the village to fight against overwhelming odds, Ash makes a motivational speech of sorts in which he assures the frightened townsfolk that he will stay and fight. “Are all men from the future loud-mouthed braggarts,” asks the leader, Lord Arthur. “Nope. Just me, Baby,” is Ash’s brash reply. Although Ash’s confidence may seem misplaced, he had the intelligence and resourcefulness to give the villagers a fighting chance.

Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. We’re taught that self promotion is rude or socially unacceptable, but the fact is that your target audience can’t know who you are or why you’re worthwhile unless you tell them. Don’t hesitate to draw attention (in a tasteful way) to your accomplishments, talents, and points of differentiation. So long as you can live up to your promises, there’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn a bit.

Marketing Pilgrim’s Social Channel is proudly sponsored by Full Sail University, where you can earn your Masters of Science Degree in Internet Marketing in less than 2 years. Visit FullSail.edu for more information.

“Klaatu Barada Nikto”

As depicted in the movie, Ash rushed through learning the ceremonial words he had to recite when removing the Necronomicon from its resting place. When the time came to make the necessary declaration, he could not remember the entire phrase (“Klaatu Barada Nikto,” for science fiction fans out there), and mumbled the last bit. The results were disastrous. “Klaatu Barada N… Necktie… Neckturn… Nickel… It’s an ‘N’ word, it’s definitely an ‘N’ word!” Fudging words can come back to bite you.

Similarly, using a bad turn of phrase on your blog or social media feed can set off a chain reaction of negative sentiment that will take you months to clean up. Before publishing, carefully consider the words you’ve chosen: could they be misconstrued or taken out of context? Are they unintentionally insensitive in light of breaking news? Try doing publishing to a limited, internal audience (which is especially effective for large organizations). Anything incendiary should be brought to your attention in fairly short order.

“Now… Who’s with me?”

If you’re going to prevail in the battle for your audience’s attention, you’ve got to have a strategy. Adding to the noise online will only alienate the people you’re trying to reach. Without a strategy, you’ll be crushed.

In the movie, while the Army of the Dead approaches, Ash gets to work. In two days’ time, he trains the villagers, creates a battle plan, equips his fighters as well as possible, and turns them into a force to be reckoned with. Otherwise, the enemy would have come upon a disorganized, ineffective resistance, and crushed it.

Before sending a single tweet or making a single Facebook post, have your overall strategy in place. Understand what you’re trying to accomplish with each channel, and how you will use the different platforms in different ways to create value for your audience.

Equip your team: identify the people in your company with a passion for your mission – whether or not they’re in marketing or PR – and enlist the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable to serve as internal spokespeople for your brand.

Having laid out a strategic plan that uses the assets at your disposal to their best advantage, you can rest assured that you’ve given yourself the best possible chance of success. Groovy.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of Marketing Pilgrim.

About the Author

Kerry Lee Gorgone teaches New Media Marketing in the Internet Marketing Master of Science Program at Full Sail University in Winter Park Florida. Follow her on Twitter: @KerryGorgone

  • http://www.orbitalalliance.com Simon Yohe

    Interesting article, but can’t question anything that references Army of Darkness…

    All these quotes, and no reference to “boomstick”? ;-)
    Hail to the king, baby!

    • http://twitter.com/kerrygorgone Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

      An unforgivable oversight, Simon! Maybe I’ll have to do a whole Evil Dead series now, just so I can work that in.