7 Marketing Lessons That Can Be Learned From A Wrinkle in Time

Opinion: Look for clues from the world around you to expand the way you interact on social

A Wrinkle in Time is filled with tweetable sound bites from all of the characters
SrdjanPav/iStock

As a marketer, I view life through a unique lens. When I see ads, I’m constantly critiquing them, thinking about the concept behind the campaign, what I like and what I’d do differently—and most important, what I can take away for my own leanings.

This is a hard switch to turn off, so when I recently saw A Wrinkle in Time with Digital Megaphone Marketing Council members Steph Casstevens and Ryan Zieman, the lessons were popping off the screen for all of us.

A Wrinkle in Time is a science-fiction novel by Madeleine L’Engle. First published in 1962, the story centers around Meg Murry, a gifted yet awkward teenager with scientist parents.

Disney’s 2018 groundbreaking adaptation is led by Ava DuVernay, the first African-American woman to direct a movie with a budget over $100 million. DuVernay is breaking barriers with the purposeful casting of a diverse set of actors in iconic roles

As the movie begins, we learn that Meg’s father has been missing for four years. Meg—along with her equally gifted younger brother, Charles Wallace; her friend, Calvin O’Keefe; and three well-meaning astral travelers sent to help them, Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon)—sets off on an intergalactic adventure to save her father.

Here are a few of the lessons we took away from the movie that we all, as marketers, can use every day:

Personally thank your customers

Before the first scene, DuVernay introduces the film, facing the audience in a simple one-camera shot. She looks as if she’s talking to us as she expresses gratitude to the team responsible for creating the movie as well everyone in the theater.

This simple, personal intro left us with the warm feeling that we are part of the moviemaking process and the film’s success.

Take time to make your customers feel like they are part of the process. It doesn’t need to be fancy: It just needs to be authentic. Host a Facebook Live video featuring a company executive thanking customers and answering questions, or start responding to every tweet or comment on Facebook and Instagram.

We are lucky that we live in a world where brands and customers can communicate one on one. That personal interaction goes a long way in building customer loyalty.

The power of women, children and diversity is here to stay

With A Wrinkle in Time’s successful opening weekend of more than $33 million at the box office and Black Panther surpassing a staggering $1 billion in ticket sales, it’s evident that the impact of movies that feature women, children and diversity is powerful.

Portraying and honoring these groups as the smart and passionate people they are is a potent marketing tool.

While women, children and minorities can be a brand’s biggest advocates, they can also be the biggest thorn in a brand’s side when they feel belittled or disrespected.

Remember the “Bic for Her” pen, or, more recently, Johnnie Walker’s Jane Walker campaign?

Both were deservedly slammed for failing to create a message that resonated with women. Johnnie Walker had great intentions with its Jane Walker campaign, but the idea fell flat with the message from the public-relations team that, “Scotch as a category is seen as particularly intimidating by women. It’s a really exciting opportunity to invite women into the brand.”

Right out of the gate, Jonnie Walker called women weak. A more empowering message would have been: “Women have been sipping scotch for years. It’s time to give them the credit they deserve.”

Mattel’s Barbie is a great example of a brand that honors women, children and minorities in a way that lifts them up and inspires them. The company recently released dolls based on heroines like Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson and Chloe Kim with the message, “Barbie is committed to shining a light on empowering role models past and present in an effort to inspire more girls.”