Three Valuable Takeaways from Sharknado

The other night I was actually excited to find Sharknado 3 had made it to Netflix. Somehow I had missed the third episode of this ridiculous trilogy involving National crisis caused by sharks combined with tornados. And yes, my wife, children, and colleagues are all amused how entertained I am by this spoof that rose in unpredictable popularity. I will admit, it does threaten to lower one’s IQ upon watching. But, this is true of much mindless entertainment. So whether to try to justify the 90 minutes I used of my life watching it, or simply to piggy back on the popularity, I want to offer three takeaways of value.

Number One: Never underestimate the value of networking.

From Los Angeles, to New York, to Washington, D.C. and Orlando, ‘Fin’ Shephard is aided in his heroics by a network of important individuals with talents to contribute. Not only does he have the connections, he draws upon their talents in timely ways to save thousands (maybe millions) of innocent lives. Not all of us can know President Mark Cuban, or any of the other significant people Fin works with in this journey. But, expanding a network and keeping channels open is essential to success when faced with challenges. It is impossible to possess all the talents or resources needed for every situation. But, the more connected you are, the better chance someone in your circle can provide the solution.

Number Two: Crisis fast forwards innovation.

It is funny to see how new innovations of tech are engaged in this sarcastic (another reason I love it) movie. Yet there is truth in the reality crisis breeds urgency, which in turn hastens innovation. In today’s marketplace, some so called maverick’s push forward with innovation, while others take excessive time to move forward with new ideas. Much of this relates to the basic risk-reward principle. Those who are more secure, find less need for risk. However, when survival is the reward, there is no time to waste in taking risk. That is why startups, which according to statistics on business success may only have a two-year window of success, engage in pushing the envelope of change and innovation. If urgency gets innovation the attention it needs, maybe a little crisis is not the worst thing that can happen. Sometimes paralysis by analysis can be the result of a perceived limited (or absent) need for the reward that the risk offers.

Number Three: Mindshare leads to market share.

Brand placement has become a booming concept in expanding customer base. And the reality is someone has to think about your brand, by seeing it, before they ever become your customer. Sharknado has some brilliant product placement in the movie series. I am sure this is the biggest asset in funding the mind numbing stories. Sharknado 3 featured Xfinity multiple times in scenes, and a close in shot of Redd’s Apple Ale opens a sequence as they enter a diner. But, the big investment is made by Universal Studios which is so blatantly marketed we can’t help but mention the park when recounting the movie. Subliminal clips used to frowned upon, so today the products are promoted in full view while the show is progressing.

One of the most brilliant uses of brand placement was accomplished by Ford last year. The sometimes hero, sometimes villain Tom Keene in the series Blacklist was featured in a series of Mustang commercials. Fast forward to the end of the marketing campaign when in the season premiere of Blacklist what else do we find but Tom Keene in a fast paced chase scene driving the exact same Mustang from the commercials. Excellent marketing. Sharknado invites brand placement. It lends itself to the story and rewards the participating brands. If we want our brand in the minds of potential customers, we must keep putting it out there. (Just ask Coca-Cola and McDonalds). Visibility of your product depends on it being placed where someone can identify it. Even if we are that product.


Well, there you have it. Three takeaways from Sharknado 3. Makes me want to go watch ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ for some self-help techniques. Enjoy the journey! Have a great day!


-written by James Anderson

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