More than three decades after its debut, Halloween is still considered to be one of the best horror films in modern times. The film’s enigmatic villain, Michael Myers’ is, arguably, the reason why Halloween received such critical acclaim and continues to intrigue movie watchers to date.
The 1978 film was independently directed and grossed $70 million globally, making it one of the most profitable slasher films ever and earning it a place at the National Film Registry for its cultural and historic relevance. Not too shabby for a film produced on a $300,000 budget.
What is it about Michael Myers that makes the film intensely captivating, many years after its production? The makers of Halloween certainly understood the elements of a good story and how to narrate in a way that ultimately captures the soul of the audience.
Here’s what Michael Myers’ character can teach you about selling through powerful storytelling:
Michael Myers’ characterization allowed audience identification with the villain. Whether this is seen as a critique or a compliment, the film-makers accomplished an important goal of storytelling—making the story relatable to the audience.
Audiences are more intrigued and sympathetic to stories that almost reflect their thoughts, beliefs, fears, wants, and day-to-day situations. They want to watch, listen and read about characters they can easily relate to. That is what compels them to buy.
As part of your brand storytelling, use storylines and characters with whom your target audience can identify.
A most thrilling aspect of the Halloween sequels is Michael Myers’ entrancing, bloodthirsty hunt for his sister Laurie.
Laurie was able to survive throughout the six sequels, mostly because she was familiar with her Haddonfield, Illinois, hometown where Myers was stalking her. Her lesson? Take time to familiarize yourself with your environment; you will increase your chances of survival when faced with danger.
The point is, the film’s storyline provides multiple takeaways, which the audience can relate to in their day-to-day life.
What greater message do you want to pass across to your audience? A good narrative does not stop at a riveting storyline; it inspires the listeners, watchers and readers to take specific actions.
Every sequel of the Halloween film ends in immense suspense, leaving the watcher to anticipate the next story, to imagine what might happen next.
Whether you are selling a product or service, a good story keeps your audience wanting more. By not giving out everything, you encourage your audience to take the next steps to find out more about your product offering and your brand.
In the age of the consumer, where social media plays an essential role between brands and online users, it is also important to invite your audience to comment, ask questions, share and react to your brand’s story.
Allow space for a conversation to take place around your stories. After all, the most successful brands are those around which great conversations happen.
Every Halloween fan will tell you that they deeply sympathized with the young, sweet, six-year old Michael Myers…until he murdered his sister.
His psychopathic murder spree vilifies him and Myers justifiably becomes the bloodcurdling character who intrigues and repulses the audience at the same time.
The spine-tingling climaxes and the somber anti-climaxes of the film all serve to emotionally engage the watcher. Emotional engagement pushes you to connect deeply with the characters even though you know it is all fictional.
In the real world, emotions play a sizeable role in influencing consumers’ buying decisions. People are attracted to brands because they feel emotionally drawn to the services or products offered by the brand.
A look at some of the most viral branded stories reveals that these stories pack a punch on the emotional element whether the story is funny, serious or somewhere in between.
The first two sequels of Halloween were distinctly related, with the first one flawlessly transitioning to the second edition. However, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, veered from the gripping storyline of the first two sequels, as Michael Myers, the film’s main character, was absent.
Unsurprisingly, the third sequel was a commercial flop, forcing the film-makers to bring the main character back in subsequent editions.
The film’s fans noticed the inconsistency between the first two sequels and the third one, and this put them off.
A story is only successful at conveying a message if it is consistent and plausible to the audience. Having a consistent brand message makes it clear in your customers’ mind what you are all about and what differentiates you from others.
There is a lot that marketers can learn from film-makers, albeit being in different fields. Stories make the world go round—it is no wonder that Hollywood is one of the world’s biggest markets. Consumers appreciate a good narrative. If you are struggling to make those sales or to grab your audiences’ attention, how about formulating an enchanting story that people can learn from, or be gripped by?
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