Being Heroic in a Corrupt World
By Oscar Hammond
With the mainstream success of their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Marvel is currently riding their biggest high in nearly 80 years.
But how did they get from the edge of bankruptcy to global juggernauts raking in over 15 billion at the box office in just 10 years?
We love the MCU here at Hammond Thinking and we appreciate Marvel has had a long history, far longer than you probably realise.
We a,lso know that in this time they’ve had their ups and downs.
So how have they mapped their way to the top in the last decade or so?
We believe it all comes down to belief, as most things in the world do.
Sure, Marvel Studios draws big crowds by making great movies and then mashing all their most popular characters together in never before seen cinematic events, but the appeal is much more guttural than that. Good movies are one thing, but movies that make us feel and make us connect, are other things entirely.
We drilled down to the creamy core of what it is that Marvel Studios projects to their legions of fans and we believe it comes down to an old psychological theory named ‘The 12 Jungian Archetypes’ after it’s creator Carl Jung.
For clients of BE Brands, you will recognise this methodology as part iof our rebranding process. In this theory Jung describes 12 archetypes that make up the elements of the collective consciousness that can be applied to personalities and collectives, and can be used to study certain psychological aspects of human nature.
He talks of the jester, the nurturer, the explorer and the sage, the magician, the innocent, the outlaw and the every regular man. What we want to focus on with Marvel is of course, The Hero. Something that the Marvel brand embodies above all others.
Everybody wants to be the hero, and when they can’t, they want to see the hero and hail the hero.
As a heroic brand Marvel promises to fight for the little man and to take on the world. Marvel does this in an unconventional way, by creating insanely brave role models and heroic figures; as such marvel is empowering people to see that change in the world is possible.
One of the cornerstones of a heroic brand is that they help people be all they can be, and I believe that Marvel lives that philosophy every day.
Of course, there are a lot of heroic brands in the world, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, lots of other superhero movies in the world. So what makes marvel special in an increasingly oversaturated market?
The simple an swer is that Marvel is not only being heroic, but it’s being the best it can be. More specifically, their movies are being the best they can be.
If you’re still not following me, think of what makes all-star teams or line-ups so appealing. From the Harlem Globe trotters to Oceans 11 to your favourite reality show’s all-star season, popular culture has made it clear that people like to see teams or individuals when they’re at their best and they like to see the best making each other better.
It’s the same idea that makes the FIFA world cup or the Olympics so popular. Its peak performance, but more than that, peak collaboration.
This is what Marvel figured out before everyone else, being heroic is good, getting every hero together to be more heroic en masse – that’s even better.
We know this works not just because of the mountains of money the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made, but because of all the copycats that pop up trying to replicate what makes marvel resonate with the world. Where the others fall short is that they don’t actually understand what marvel did.
DC in collaboration with Warner Brothers are the best example of this.
They misinterpret the connection that Marvel has with their fans as merely corporate pandering and movie worlds colliding, without understanding that Marvel and their movies are about making people feel like they can also be heroic.
Because of this they make misstep after misstep in a reactionary effort to try and figure out what can make them the most money. This will fail every time.
Marvel celebrates heroes, it brings them together for us to see all star heroes and it, in itself, acts heroicly in the risks it takes in movie choice, plot choice and even actor and director choice.
We, the comic book lovers, applaud their vision and boldness as they personify the very essence of their brand – heroes.
If only more businesses, big and small, understood the simplicity of consumer desire for heroes. We love the small business owner who shows their heroic battle to serve us. We would love it if a big corporation stood up for real causes.
Heroes are big money and as Marvel has shown, heroic brands command the very best in loyalty and consumer connection.
Marvel doesn’t just tell stories about heroes, they are heroic, and we love to love through them and by them.
As for their recent foray into stadiums, we wait to see how heroic they make that venture.