How Ben Affleck’s Story Carried Argo to a Best Picture Oscar (And What We Can Learn From It)

Argo_Best Picture

When Argo won Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, I was thrilled. Don’t get me wrong; there was some stiff competition in the category, and I was impressed by some of the challengers, most notably LINCOLN. However, it was interesting to watch how Ben Affleck’s Best Director snub by the Academy became a leading story, how the actor handled it, and ultimately, how it helped push Argo to the forefront of the Best Picture discussion. And of course, how we can all learn from it.

Ben Affleck has been in Hollywood a long time, bursting onto the scene with his pal Matt Damon while winning an Oscar for Best Screenplay for Good Will Hunting in 1998. As he noted in this year’s rambling, heartfelt acceptance speech,

“I was here years ago or something. I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all… really just a kid.”

Despite this initial success, Affleck continued to seek out and learn from others in the industry while honing his craft. He thanked the “… so many wonderful people who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it in Hollywood.” We can all continue to learn every day, no matter how many years of experience we’ve accumulated or success we’ve achieved. Appreciate those who have contributed and continue to contribute to your career. 

In addition to learning every day, perseverance is key.

“It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is that you gotta get up.”
-Ben Affleck

We all need to learn to persevere because things won’t always go as planned. There are a lot of potholes, detours and speed bumps on this road we call life.

Along with his perseverance, one of the qualities throughout the entire process that drew people to this story was Affleck’s humility. He didn’t respond angrily when the Academy snubbed him of a Best Director nod; he only spoke of the deserving directors who were recognized. This was a big reason why the press and social media picked up the story and brought Argo back to the forefront of the Best Picture race. People empathized with Affleck, spoke positively about him and rooted for his movie.

When you are humble, it goes a long way to connecting with others and forming meaningful relationships — in business and in life. 

So there you have it — continued learning, perseverance to his craft and humility along the way; three reasons that Ben Affleck has achieved success and his personal story helped carry his film to the forefront of the Best Picture discussion. The same three qualities that can help carry you in business and in life. If you missed Affleck’s heartfelt speech (or just want to watch it again), enjoy!

What do you think?

Did Ben Affleck’s personal story help carry Argo to a Best Picture win? What are other examples of the press and/or social media bringing an issue to everyone’s attention and affecting an outcome? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

photo credit: Disney ABC Television Group

Cheers!
Jaime, amateur de cinéma

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“What’s the most amazing way to do it?”

Great thought from Sir Richard Branson…

What's the most amazing way to do it?

How do you make what you do amazing?  As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Photo courtesy of Richard Branson’s blog

Enjoy the weekend!
Jaime

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What LINCOLN Taught Us About Business (And Life)

Today, February 12th, is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which brings me to LINCOLN the movie. I had high expectations due to some of the names involved: Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones — and the trailer looked intriguing. But WOW, was I blown away.

While reflecting on the movie afterward, I realized that there were some interesting takeaways I could apply to my business, and even my life.

Lincoln contemplating history

  • Seize the moment While some shy away from critical decisions and important moments, Abraham Lincoln (portrayed so eloquently by Daniel Day-Lewis) was proud to be a part of history. He knew that abolishing slavery was going to be a moment that changed our country’s future, which only made him want to pass the 13th amendment even more — despite the law’s unpopularity at the time. Lincoln knew the amendment was necessary for the country to reunite, heal and move forward together. Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to make the decision that everything hinges on or step into the spotlight. Live in the moment.  

“We’re stepped upon the world’s stage now with the fate of human dignity in our hands. Blood’s been spilled to afford us this moment.”

-Abraham Lincoln

  • Cast your characters well LINCOLN, the movie, was cast perfectly. I’ve already mentioned Day-Lewis, who should win an Oscar, and Tommy Lee Jones played the powerful Thaddeus Stevens perfectly. Sally Fields was so elegant, yet human, as Mary Todd Lincoln, and the list goes on. Takeaway: Choose the people around you carefully. Hire people for your business who fit into your culture, think for themselves and have the necessary skills, not only the latter. Associate yourself with people who bring you up, not tear you down.

Daniel Day-Lewis as LINCOLN

  • Be yourself in everything you do. One of the reasons I love LINCOLN so much is that the characters are portrayed as human. You see their strengths and their weaknesses, what ultimately drives them and what they’re willing to compromise on. Takeaway: You are unique and bring value to your business, life, social circle, etc. When you’re transparent, people become more comfortable with you. That’s when they buy from you, work with you, spend time with you and develop relationships with you.

Have you seen LINCOLN? What are your thoughts?

What other movie(s) made you think about your life or business?

Will LINCOLN win Best Picture? Daniel Day-Lewis best actor?

Chime in!

Happy birthday, Abe!
Jaime

Image credits: LINCOLN the movie

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My 2013 Bucket List: What’s On Yours?

What’s on your bucket list?

I was thinking about adding another (overdue) 50 Things I’m Grateful For.. post when I came across Lesley Carter’s entry about entering a contest to fulfill a bucket list trip. Lesley’s Bucket List Publications is one of the blogs I follow, because her updates about checking items off her always evolving bucket list inspire me. As she notes, “Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.” That’s exactly how I feel about life.

Without further ado, my 2013 bucket list:

  • Attend a Kent State University basketball game (my alma mater!)
  • Go ice skating
  • Watch a hockey game live
  • Attend a professional networking event
  • Go for a twilight hike
  • Enter a trail running event
  • Register for my first triathlon
Akron Marathon 2012 "Blue line, blue toes"

Celebrating hitting my goal in my 3rd — and final — half-marathon in Sept 2012

  • Get together with my family at least monthly
  • Celebrate special occasions with family & friends
  • Watch the inauguration festivities for the first time
  • Bring on 5 new dream clients
  • Read 100 books! (Yep, full fledged book worm here.)
  • Write the first chapter of my novel
  • Make time for me 🙂
  • Jump out of another airplane!
skydiving crew!

The skydiving crew — Sean, Steven, Yours Truly & Greg (celebrating his bday!)

  • Go to the theatre
  • Pay It Forward
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take advanced coding classes
  • Attend a NASCAR race
  • Spa day 🙂
  • Finally bring home a furry friend
  • Travel, travel, travel — across town & across the world
Hilton Head

Lounging on the beach in Hilton Head listening to the ocean

  • Watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
  • Step outside of my comfort zone
  • Watch the fireworks at an Aeros game
  • Book a spontaneous getaway
  • Unplug & connect with nature for a day
  • Laugh often
Laugh often

Having a ball at my brother’s wedding

  • Create with my hands
  • Swim in the ocean
  • Walk on water again –> paddle boarding 🙂
  • Get up close & personal to the octagon at a UFC event
  • Be ready for my next great opportunity & pounce on it
  • Get muddy often
trail running

I love trail running — and mud.

Because it’s February, I’ve already crossed a few of these off my list.

How about you? What’s on your 2013 bucket list? Leave your list in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

Watching the snow fly-
Jaime

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Super Bowl XLVII: Not A Complete Blackout

I planned on writing about marketing lessons to be had from some of the better Super Bowl commercials until I read 5 Marketing Lessons From the Super Bowl’s Most Popular Commercials from the fine folks at Entrepreneur this morning via Pulse. So that’s been done.

Speaking of the Super Bowl commercials, I felt like they grew more interesting along with the game in the second half, and more specifically, after the blackout. Or I should say during the blackout.

How about Oreo? It almost seemed as if the company knew the blackout was coming. (Hmm, cue up the conspiracy theorists.) More likely, this fun brand was just prepared for the big game instead of sitting back and watching its ad run. Talk about great social media management. And better yet, it’s impromptu ad reminding us all that “You Can Still Dunk In The Dark.” actually made me crave an Oreo. Go figure, an ad that sells!

Oreo Super Bowl blackout ad

As of the writing of this post, Oreo’s clever tweet had earned nearly 16,000 retweets and almost 6,000 favorites on Twitter alone not too mention its success on other social media platforms. There’s something to say about being ready to take advantage of an opportunity!

Of course, Budweiser weighed in with another winner. I almost expect this giant in the beer industry to top USA Today’s Ad Meter and satisfy fans annually. The company used its famous Clydesdales for instant brand recognition and included a direct call to action, which many ads did not. People watching the commercial were asked to help name the baby Clydesdale pictured in it by suggesting names with the hashtag #clydesdales on Twitter.

Budweiser just launched its first-ever Twitter account on January 27th (after Twitter introduced age verification), so the commercial was a great way to attract attention to its new handle. As of February 5th, the new account already has nearly 10,500 followers despite being restricted to fans at least 21 years old.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s not forget about JELL-O! The legendary snack company came on right after the dramatic ending to congratulate San Francisco on being #2. How many companies have thought of that strategy?! JELL-O promised fans in San Fran free product today (Feb 5th), because winners shouldn’t have all the fun.

In addition to free pudding, distraught 49ers fans can install the Baltimore Blocker Google Chrome extension, which replaces the words Baltimore and Ravens anywhere they appear on the Internet with blah blah blah and swaps out pictures of celebrating Ravens fans with cute animals. This strategy has people talking on Twitter, Facebook and watching the pudding drop on the company’s website. “Who’s the big winner now, Baltimore?”

Well, that’s my wrap on Super Bowl XLVII, which despite a dramatic second half and some intriguing commercials, will be remembered for a blackout. While I had no loyalties on either side, I am happy for Dean Pees, current Baltimore defensive coordinator and former Kent State head football coach. Way to represent, Coach Pees!

What’s your take? Did you enjoy the game? The commercials? Or did you switch over and watch Downtown Abbey? (I DVR’d it.)

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media. I”m always up for a discussion, especially on football or commercials.

Waiting for pitchers and catchers to report-
Jaime

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The Harbowl: A Marketer’s Dream (Oh, And Those $3.7 Million Ads!)

As marketers, we’re always looking for the story beyond the story. The one that will draw you in, grab your emotions and make you care. Yes, even for mammoth events like the Super Bowl.

In 2013, the game is full of story lines, but the one grabbing everyone’s attention is the sibling rivalry. For the first time, two brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, will lead their teams in the biggest game of the year. Imagine what their parents, Jack and Jackie, are thinking.

Harbowl

Of course, there are other story lines as well. Ray Lewis’ final game in a remarkable career. The overnight sensation Colin Kaepernick has become. With the game on the line, how confident is anyone in David Akers? Including David Akers?

While the game actually looks exciting this year (not always the case), people around the world will tune in for the ads. As I used to ask my training session attendees, what’s the one day of the year that people watch advertising? Yep, the Super Bowl. In fact, an estimated 44% of women and 31% of men admitted to tuning into the game ‘primarily for the commercials,’ according to a 2012 survey by CouponCabin.com.

And at $3.7 million per 30-second spot (according to the Ad Age Data Center), this year’s advertisers will once again be shelling out. Obviously these companies and brands feel like the ROI (return on investment) they generate makes the high price tag worthwhile. It’s hard to believe that when you actually watch some of the spots though.

It has been interesting to see the increase in social media marketing leading up to, during and after the game. Pepsi made quite a splash in 2010 by only utilizing social media for the big game. I’m not saying that’s the right choice for everyone, but it definitely raised some eyebrows around the industry and helped fuel the discussion about social media marketing as a legitimate option, even for larger companies.

Speaking of Super Bowl advertising, what’s your favorite? Immediately, two ads/advertisers come to mind for me. The first is Budweiser, who does a fantastic job every year delivering attention-grabbing ads that tie into their brand. (No, I’m not a customer; I’m more of a liquor fan.) It’s not just that people are still talking about their ads the days following the big game, but they’re also talking about Budweiser. (That’s not always the case with popular commercials.)

One of my favorite Budweiser spots (of many) is Respect, aired during the ’02 game. It was Budweiser’s tribute to New York City after the terrorist attacks the previous fall.

My other favorite is the iconic Mean Joe Greene commercial for Coca-Cola which aired during the 1980 game. Yes, I’m a Steelers fan, but the spot still resonates with viewers today and instantly brings Coca-Cola to mind. (In a tribute to the ad’s popularity and effectiveness, Downy has actually remade the spot for this year’s game.)

Now I’m passing the ball to you. What’s your favorite Super Bowl commercial or advertiser?

Oh, and one more question… John or Jim?

Advertising enthusiast & football fanatic,
Jaime

Image credit: marsmet481 on Flickr

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