Man Versus Shark

So I heard an English movie critic promo-ing his latest book. 170,000 words on Fast Times and Excellent Adventures: The Surprising History of the ’80s Teen Movie.

The engaging James King obligingly suggested his Top Three:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986; from the maestro of the genre, John Hughes).
Porky’s (1981; so influential, set the template for teen sex comedies).
Risky Business (1983; the one with everything, launching Tom Cruise to stardom).

As an aside, the interviewer ended the slot asking directly for these top three. A terrific idea, readily applicable to a Sales setting. A prospect meeting when there’s a plethora of options all round, where you ask for the top three indicators, aims, instances or such like. Also think of a recruitment interview too on a selling issue of note…

An Eighties Teen myself, I felt duty bound to listen on.

He made the initial contrarian argument that the 80s actually began in 1978. Listing a number of big films from that year that laid the foundations for what was to follow. Big budget star-driven productions (reaching their nadir with Heaven’s Gate, a notorious failure after which he claimed studios were put off spending huge sums) being outsold by smaller, independent almost first-timer pictures.

Then he went further still. Forget 1978. The 80s began in 1975. With Jaws.

He argued that this was the first ever “summer blockbuster”.

Not only that, it also began the principle of what he termed the “high concept” film.

I’ve blogged touching on this now Hollywood staple many times before (here’s a pair by way of sample, from 20152011).

For Spielberg’s classic, he summed it up as, “man versus shark”.

In just a few short words, anyone can understand what you’re about.

Translate this onto your product (or company) pitch and you are riding a winner.

This is an especially useful task when launching a new product.

It can be part of – as in one sense is similar although not the same as – a clutch of routines where you restrict your words strictly to specific totals.

So why not summon the spirit of the hit teen movie and hopefully pleasantly stay in your prospect’s thoughts throughout the ages. Or until they sign and make hay with your wares, at least.

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