Simplicity is gold

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I have to admit, I had my doubts about seeing The Artist. As a typical tablet owner who spends at least 90 minutes a day on my iPad watching news clips, TV shows and videos, I wasn’t sure a 100-minute silent film with only 11 spoken words would keep me engaged (or awake) past the first scene.

Needless to say, with five Oscar wins, including Best Picture, The Artist was an undeniable success. In fact, until last Sunday, no silent film had won the top Oscar since the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929.

What is it about The Artist that not only has critics raving, but has also drawn and charmed audiences around the world? It’s clear to me that this exceptional film possesses the same qualities as some exceptional brands. Here are a few of the parallels I noticed:

Powerful story. The movie is about George Valentin, a 1920’s Hollywood silent movie idol, who fears that the new talkie “fad” will send his career into extinction. The plot develops as Valentin is forced to experience a series of basic human emotions (love, anger, jealousy), which makes the story relatable, but still elegant. Here at Siegel+Gale, we create elegantly simple, powerful stories in order to help brands better connect with their audiences. The Artist was able to do that and had no trouble engaging movie-goers and impressing critics.

Clear, compelling communication. In the world of branding, clear communications win customers and help companies boost profits. The Artist’s ability to communicate a compelling story and connect with the hearts and minds of its viewers is what garnered success. Now I do see the irony in attributing a silent film’s acclaim to its ability to “communicate,” but I stand by my observations. From an award-winning score that clearly depicts the characters’ emotions to costumes that emulate contrast in how we see the main character (and how he sees himself), The Artist was able to convey more than words ever could.

…And last but certainly not least…

Simplicity. Sure, I love a good dramatic thriller with twists and turns at every corner. Who doesn’t? But The Artist reminds us that sometimes it’s best to keep things simple. The simplicity of the plot, not to mention the film’s aesthetics (black and white, no special effects), is what separates this movie from the over-the-top blockbusters we’ve grown accustomed to these days. When it comes to movies, and brands, are we nostalgic for the simple, technology-free days of the past? Well, according to The Artist’s widespread success, and Siegel+Gale’s Global Brand Simplicity Index, the answer is a resounding yes. Simplicity truly does take the cake. Or, in this case, the Oscar.


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