Last night my computer crashed. The wireless connection on the backup crawled.
Frustrated, I decided to finish watching Woody Allen's "Another Woman" on Netflix. It has been more than twenty years.
My daughter was nice enough to watch with me. All of it was new so I explained the plot. In the process I realized that many elements in Woody Allen movies are similar:
- A woman who is intellectual, neurotic, tormented vs. one who is warm, nurturing, and uninterested in intellectual matters. Generally the contrast between abstract, snobbish intellectualism (bad) and being in touch emotionally (good)
- A man who is passionately in love with an unattainable woman
- Missed opportunities to connect, to follow our dreams, and the lifelong misery of "selling out"
- A man who compulsively cheats on his wife, is still "committed" to her, and does not feel guilty; a woman who cheats emotionally, and does
- Couples who are always with other couples, friends, and family - emotional drama before the crowd
- A self-deceiving character who takes long walks to find out what is bothering them, and/or has a dream/fantasy experience to help them resolve their emotions
- The psychiatrist as a cold, all-knowing God figure
My daughter said, "It's a very 'you' movie." Meaning, "not me."
There is a reason I will automatically prefer a movie labeled "Woody Allen" over an unknown: The characters and setting may change but the theme and plot are always the same.
It's always about coming to terms with the self behind the mask.
It's the same with Maroon 5's music. On the Internet the debate rages: Is Adam Levine a misogynist? (They use a cruder term.) In every song/video we see a woman beat him, cheat on him, reject him, leave him.
In addition the women are always like mannequins - caricatures of women - almost doll-like, beautiful in a cartoonish way.
My daughter thinks it's the producers who came up with that common theme but I don't think so.
It's not just the sound of the songs that is similar. It is what is being sung about - the narrative. A fascinating glimpse into the unconscious of the singer.
Woody Allen and Adam Levine seem to have in common the compulsive need to explore a contained area of emotional pain through art.
The result is not what some would think of as artistic genius, because of the repetitive nature.
But as a consumer who finds those themes interesting, they create a brand that works.
I don't think the choice to theme a certain way is intentional. But in a way it makes the work resonate all the more, because it's real.
Woody Allen, Maroon 5 and Theming As Brand Strategy
Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal has pioneered best practices in the federal government while spearheading dozens of digital/social media campaigns, integrated marketing initiatives, and communication efforts. Blumenthal began her career in branding at Young & Rubicam's Brand Futures Group/Intelligence Factory, and launched pioneering social media programs externally and internally at The Brand Consultancy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and USAID. She currently serves as the communications director of the Advanced Manufacturing Program at the National Institute of Science and Technology.
A frequently sought-after speaker and frequently published author who has taught marketing at George Washington University, the University of Maryland University College, and elsewhere, Blumenthal has received numerous industry recognitions, honors and awards. These include Klout Top 20% social media producer (2014); SlideShare Top 5% (2013); Meritorious Group Honor Award for website revitalization at USAID (2013); Featured Blog of the Month, USAID (2012); Top 1% most viewed LinkedIn profiles (2012); #2 Most Influential GovLoop.com member (2012); Commissioner's Award, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (2011); IABC-DC Silver Inkwell Award (2008); and more.
Blumenthal is deeply ingrained in the Washington, DC branding and social media best practices community, having revitalized the Institute for Brand Leadership (2001-2003) through a social media campaign; serving on the board of the Journal of Brand Management (2003); co-launching the Federal Social Media Subcouncil (2009); and re-launch the Federal Communicators Network through a successful social media campaign.
She holds a bachelor's degree from SUNY Empire State College, a Ph.D. in sociology from CUNY Graduate Center, and a Graduate Certificate in Organization Development from Fielding University.
Her website is located at www.dannielleblumenthal.com. Follow her on Twitter @thinkbrandfirst.