What “Animal House” can teach us about marketing

National Lampoon’s Animal House is over 30 years old yet when the movie runs on premium cable channels it still draws an audience.  Is it because of the excellent cast ?  That probably has something to do with it but more likely the reason we like to watch the movie is because it takes us back to a time when we were in college. A time before deadlines, mortgage and car payments.  People remember moments and Animal House is great at taking us back to moments of our lives that were less stressful.  Marketers should remember this.

Even if you’re not old enough to associate what it was like to go to college in the 60′s there is a good chance you remember where you saw Animal House for the first time.  For me it was in a packed movie theater in Yonkers, New York.  I remember waiting on line and going with two of my best friends.  To this day whenever I watch the movie it takes me back to that night.

With all the stress living today people often like to look back and remember the “good times”.  Products that help them get there make an emotional connection with consumers that all the marketing dollars in the world cannot duplicate.   Remember, for example, that first cup of Starbucks or that first McDonalds burger ?  How about the first time you had an Oreo and a nice big glass of ice cold milk ?

To escape stress people often look for products that either make them feel better about themselves or product that takes them back emotionally to a better time when things were easier and less stressful.   It doesn’t work for every product or brand but establishing that emotional connection is a great way to reach out to consumers.

It all goes back to asking a basic question; “what are we really selling?”  Here are some examples;

Remember that consumers often do not make purchases based on logic. It isn’t logic that causes someone to pay a 40% premium for an Apple iMac over a PC it’s that emotional brand connection.

Animal House is a great movie to watch and watch again because it takes us back to a time when were less stressed and the only thing we had to worry about was school or what to do tomorrow.  Now, more than ever, consumers are looking for ways to help them put the daily stress of their lives on hold and some products can actually fill that need.

One more thing….

There has been a headline recently, via a press release, that a majority of consumers research products online before purchasing them.  That is pure bullshit and PR spin.  I mean is anyone going to really research a new brand of cracker, salad dressing or cereal online before making their purchase ?  Of course not.  The bottom line is that there is a direct correlation between the importance of the purchase and how much time someone will spend online researching products.  Usually the higher the price the more research online.

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