What Online Marketers Can Learn From the Horror Movie Masters

By August 28, 2014Online Marketing

Whether you love horror movies or hate them, you have to have respect for horror movie makers who are, like many of us online marketing professionals, working on a very tight budget with limited time in order to send their vision into the eyes and ears of audiences. So maybe it isn’t so crazy to wonder what we might learn from horror masters who make it work while leaving an impression on an audience that lasts a lifetime. Follow us down into the depths of the blog below to explore how your online marketing strategy might benefit from paying attention to the horror movie making greats.

How Horror Movie Making Lessons Can Help Online Marketers

Don’t Show the Shark

When Steven Spielburg made the iconic horror classic Jaws, he intended to have the shark feature much more prominently than it did in the final cut. But because of trouble with budget and the pneumatically powered sharks, Spielburg was forced to keep the shark off camera for much more of the film than he originally intended, which had the unexpected consequence of creating a memorable atmosphere of suspense and dread that would not have been present otherwise. The takeaway for online marketers? Sometimes when you’re looking to create a memorable campaign, less is more. As Antoine Rivarol noted, “It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit”–and that includes the consumer’s pursuit of a product. Create some mystery in your campaign and you’ll create engagement, too.

Never Sleep Again

Horror legend Wes Craven said that one of his biggest influences for creating the slasher classic A Nightmare on Elm Street were stories about a phenomenon called Asian Death Syndrome, a 1970’s phenomenon in which Cambodian refugees refused to sleep because of horrific nightmares only to finally succumb to their own exhaustion–and physical death while in a dreaming state. Craven translated the story into a message about the power of sleep and dreams. The film’s heroine Nancy encounters Freddy Kruger in her dreams and tries (unsuccessfully) to avoid sleep, only to realize that she had no choice but to confront Freddy in her dreams. The takeaway for online marketers? Some of the best ideas come from dreams, but recent studies have shown that sleep deprivation actually enhances creative capabilities. If innovative ideas are eluding you, you might follow Nancy’s example. Hide a coffee pot under your bed for awhile and see whether staying awake gets your creativity flowing again.

Start With a Scream

Kevin Williamson’s Scream is credited with revitalizing the horror industry in the nineties, becoming the highest grossing slasher movie of all time. What did Scream have that other horror movies didn’t? It was self-aware in a way that few horror movies have been before or since. Williamson’s script crafted characters who were savvy, who knew all of the rules for surviving a horror movie and even shared these rules with the audience. Later in the film, the established rules were broken one after another, creating a memorable sense of shock and surprise. The takeaway for online marketers? If you want to get your audience’s attention, take the rules and subvert them. Tell your audience what they can expect from you and then give them something totally different.

 Making Movies Isn’t So Different From Making Marketing

Like horror movies themselves, turning the lessons from the movie masters into innovative online content isn’t for everyone. That’s where we come in. Are you ready to learn how Turn the Page Online Marketing can help you create online content that ‘s so engaging it’s scary? Call (816) 527-8371 to talk to one of our online marketing experts today.

Author Amanda Hall

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