In the movie industry - like life, there are no guarantees of success. Giant studios can throw hundreds of millions of dollars at productions starring the biggest names in the business - marquee names with track records making and starring in hit after hit. And then…Ishtar happens. No-one seems to really agree about what went wrong with Ishtar - even the experts would rather forget it. The movie going public hardly had a chance to forget it - they never bought tickets. It was giant stinker of the first order.
Gary Cooper knew a thing about the movies. He'd starred in a few and was offered the chance to play Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind. He turned down the role and was glad that it would be Clark Gable who got the part. He was sure it would be a flop. It was one of the biggest grossing films of all time for a long time.
A big budget is no indicator. The Blair Witch Project cost just $600,000 to make and market but it made $248.3 million at the box office. A 20,591.67% return for a movie that conformed to no known formula. Remember Ishtar? Total cost: $55 million. Revenue $14.4 million. In today's dollars, $82.1 million lost (oh, I know it's not fair to pick on Ishtar - I almost feel like I am boosting it here).
Small budgets can lead to great success and big budgets can go down the gurgler very easily. The same is true with marketing budgets. There have been product and brand launches in New Zealand that have been disasters - remember 10 beer? Of course you don't. It wasn't even a three.
Finding the right balance between gung-ho enthusiasm for an idea and prudence in't easy. Too little investment and the brand might disappear without a trace. Over commitment can have exactly the same result.
To quote another Hollywood source - 'Nobody knows anything." The only suggestion is that it might pay to get another quote - just to reassure yourself. Sometimes advertising can be as out of touch with reality as Tinseltown.
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.