By Becky Tumidolsky
At the risk of offending the more serious reader (if I haven’t already with the above clip), I’m going to talk about camp horror films—specifically, writer/director Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series—and what on earth they have to do with B2B content marketing.
How Evil Dead Became a Beloved Brand
When it comes to buying movies, I rarely do. But I made a point to own these ridiculous films—The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), and Army of Darkness (1993). I consider them classics. They appeal to me for many reasons; for starters, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Not at all seriously, in fact. That’s part of their charm.
It isn’t that smart, talented people didn’t produce these movies. It’s just that they don’t pretend to be smarter than their audiences. With a pitch-perfect blend of familiar horror conventions, bad special effects, goofy camera angles, farcical dialogue and a cocky-but-hapless hero (Ash, played by Bruce Campbell), these filmmakers contributed something clever and unique to a well-worn genre with nary a hint of self-importance.
What’s more, they clearly love their craft. These guys didn’t set out to win awards; they set out to connect with their target audiences using seemingly bad film making as a blunt instrument of humor. The gleeful way they peddle their signature silliness is, to fans like me, irresistible.
Now, I’m not suggesting these films are timeless works of art. But the people who like these films tend to LOVE these films. Unlike so many other movies—many of which involved bigger production values, bigger stars and bigger hype—the Evil Dead franchise has enjoyed a devoted following for decades. Perhaps even more surprisingly, Evil Dead fans take great pride in their brand loyalty.
Oh, How the High and Mighty Fall (Flat)
Recall the many films that have bombed at theaters, despite massive budgets, intense marketing, and A-list producers, directors, and actors—e.g., Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs (2007); Steven Soderbergh’s Che (2008); Jerry Bruckheimer’s The Lone Ranger (2013). Though not all box-office flops have been critical failures, all of them failed to attract viewers.
Are such movies cursed? Or is something else at work here? Leave aside for a moment the laughably bad ones, like Battlefield Earth (2000) and Catwoman (2004), and the colossal misfires, like Disney’s John Carter (2012).
Worst of all is the supposed work of artistic genius that alienates and insults audiences. Pretentious, self-absorbed, self-congratulatory films serve their creators’ egos, and little else. People don’t just expect them to fail; they take joy in their failure.
Build Bonds, and You’ll Build Loyalty
I believe cult classics like Evil Dead offer important lessons in humility, ingenuity, and resonance for B2B content marketers looking to build brand loyalty.
- Be relatable. If you’re self-centered or cerebral for the sake of seeming smart, few readers will appreciate your efforts. With each and every communication, strive for an engaging experience marked by straight talk, sensitivity, genuine feeling, and maybe some good humor.
- Tap into the familiar, but show audiences something better. If you’re creating content that reflects audience expectations but doesn’t offer something new and memorable, you’re just adding to the heap.
- Invest yourself fully in the act of content creation. Draw on your expertise, your motivation to serve, and your passion for the work you do. They will undoubtedly shine through—and win you some diehard fans.
Since 2001, Becky Tumidolsky has written awareness-building content for B2B brands and their discerning audiences. Her work has appeared in leading publications such as Forbes, U.S.News & World Report, Bloomberg Markets, Newsweek, and Inc. as well as corporate blogs, websites, white papers, and other content assets.
Becky loves writing fluid, error-free prose. She’s even more passionate about building the foundation for her work—uncovering core brand distinctions, framing them thematically, and developing fresh, compelling narratives that advance corporate strategies.