10 Movies Every Marketing Professional Should Watch at Least Once

November 16, 2020

Woman laying on bed, eating popcorn

I don’t know about you, but for me, those few minutes right before a movie starts are pure bliss. 

What’s not to love? You’ve got your snack situation just how you want it, a refreshing beverage within reach, and not a thing to do but barely move and be entertained for the next 1.5+ hours. 

As good this feeling is, though, it’s even better when there’s extra reason to be excited about the feature presentation. And while Hollywood’s scriptwriters haven’t reserved too many starring roles for marketers (the nerve!), they have crafted a few plots of particular interest to professionals like us. Next time you have a few hours available, seek out some functional entertainment with the following 10 flicks. 

10 Inspiring and Thought-Provoking Movies for Marketers

From examples of content marketing in action to valuable life lessons around relationships and creativity, these movies all provide food for thought -- to go along with the popcorn and candy.

The LEGO Movie (2014)

Quick Pitch to Marketers: How many other movies can you think of where the brand is the title? The LEGO Movie is content marketing encapsulated, showing what can happen when we drill deep into the “just have some fun with it” creative potential that exists within our products and our teams.

Memorable Quote: “You don’t have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are special. And so am I. And so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it’s also true. It’s about all of us. Right now, it’s about you. And you can still change everything.”

Groundhog Day (1993)

Quick Pitch to Marketers: While our roles aren’t as repetitious as others, over time, certain aspects of the job might become hauntingly familiar. Groundhog Day serves to remind us that, when our own little world seems to remain the same, we can create new realities by changing how we engage with it. 

Memorable Quote: “Maybe it’s not a curse. Just depends on how you look at it.” 

Art & Copy (2009)

Quick Pitch to Marketers: This documentary dives into the minds of leading advertising men and woman, such as Hal Riney, Lew Clow and Mary Wells Lawrence, who share the secrets to ground breaking campaigns such as “Just Do It” and “I Love New York.” 

Memorable Quote: “I think creativity can solve anything.”

What Women Want (2000) 

Quick Pitch to Marketers: Mel Gibson plays an ad exec who, due to an electrical accident, has been “blessed” with an ability to hear women’s inner dialogue. While this gift gives Gibson’s character a newfound ability to better understand women both professionally and personally, he quickly realizes that what people say they want and what they actually want are often at odds. 

Memorable Quote: “It’s never too late to do the right thing. That’s what I’ll do, I’ll go over there and do the right thing.”

The Neverending Story (1984)

Quick Pitch to Marketers: Showcasing the power of immersive storytelling, The Neverending Story gives marketers permission to make themselves the hero, imagining a world where their audience couldn’t survive without them. It’s a fun and potentially productive indulgence, even though, to truly become anything close to a content marketing hero, we’re best advised to reserve the hero role for the person reading our content. 

Memorable Quote: “Never give up and good luck will find you.”

In Good Company (2004) 

Quick Pitch to Marketers: If your movie-watching partner thinks your life as a marketer is a breeze, this movie will allow them to see the sometimes ruthless world of business and ad agencies, not to mention the pressure to stay professionally relevant in an era when marketers are displaced by new talent and technologies. 

Memorable Quote: “Timing is everything in life.”

Steve Jobs (2015)

Quick Pitch to Marketers: This biopic about one of the most brilliant consumer-minded business innovators in history sells itself to marketers much the same way the iPod sold itself to music lovers. 

Memorable Quote: “The greatest artists like Dylan, Picasso, and Newton risked failure. And if we want to be great, we’ve got to risk it too.”

Thank You for Smoking (2005)

Quick Pitch to Marketers: Powers of persuasion can be used for good or evil. That tidy division feels right because we want it to be right, but tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor shows us that moral lines can be spun and spun until they’re blurry at best. Suddenly, we realize that powers of persuasion can make us perceive evil as good, and good as evil. So tread carefully, content marketers. 

Memorable Quote: “That’s the beauty of argument. If you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.”

Crazy People (1990)

Quick Pitch to Marketers: After experiencing a nervous breakdown on the job, an advertising executive starts creating campaigns that are unconventionally honest: “Fly United: Most of our passengers get there alive.” As a result, the ad exec is institutionalized. But then a funny thing happens. I won’t play spoiler here – most of you haven’t seen this movie – though you can probably figure out what happens next. 

Memorable Quote: “We can’t level, you crazy bastard, we’re in advertising!”

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Quick Pitch to Marketers: More and more, marketing is about raising the bar for customer experiences. The Greatest Showman shows marketers that no dream is impossible when boundless imagination meets enduring audacity. This tale of P.T. Barnum and his quest to entertain the world may inspire you to give your audience an unforgettable show.

Memorable Quote: “The noblest art is that of making others happy.”

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