The Closer You Look: Marketing Lessons from “Now You See Me”

The Closer You Look : Marketing Lessons from “Now You See Me”

Recently, Hollywood has been showing particular interest with films themed with magic, with “Magic Magic” early this year followed by “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”. The most anticipated one was “Now You See Me, which boasted an All-Star cast and a clever plot that people still talk about, with or without a satisfying idea of its conclusion.

In a nutshell, the film deals with the extent to which 4 ordinary magicians would go in order to be part of an ancient mystical organization which is said to recruit deserving members only twice in a century. However, because of the stunts they had to pull off, which usually involved breaking laws, the quartet got tangled with the FBI and Interpol in a wild goose chase.

The premise of the story generally involves showmanship through the art of trickery and controlling the way people see or perceive things in front of them. It can teach marketers a thing or two about dealing with the public eye, getting their sympathy and ultimately achieving one’s goals:

  1. Make your audience want to believe. As a marketer, it’s your job to convince people that your product or service can bring satisfaction. To do this, it requires a spectacular presentation that would make them suspend their disbelief and see nothing but wonders, much like in a magic show. Although your intention is not to mislead or betray people, the key is to highlight what they need to see to persuade them.
  2. Stay in character. Even when the FBI were interrogating the 4 magicians (or Horsemen, as they like to call themselves), they were still undaunted and they didn’t show any sign of weakness. They considered themselves magicians on and off the stage, and they never allowed anyone to extract their true nature. Lesson: the most precious asset of a product is its brand. The brand is the symbol – it carries with the integrity of the entire business. As long as marketers stick to whatever their brand stands for, people will continue to respect it.
  3. Technology is a loyal friend. The 4 Horsemen used stage theatrics, 3D projectors, and advanced machinery to perform their demonstrations in public. They went from street magicians performing for small crowds to high-tech show wizards with the whole world as their stage. Marketers also have no choice but to embrace technology as a means of connecting to people. It’s the emblem of the coming of a new age, and its evolution is inevitable.
  4. Plan ahead and be patient. One of the main characters (which shall not be spoiled) displayed a tremendous amount of patience in carrying out his (or her) plans. Investing in something personal and meaningful is a profound thing – if marketers are able to envision a plan that stretches 2, 5, or 10 years into the future, they can move mountains.
  5. The closer you look, the less you see. The message of the film is to always look at the bigger picture. Don’t give in to misdirection and sleight of hand; the more preoccupied you are with just one aspect of a thing, the more you lose sight of what’s really happening. What’s the big picture for marketers? Making your audience happy and satisfied – and nothing else should be bigger.