12 Must-watch Movies about Marketing and Advertising

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about watching movies? Amusement? Fun? Idling after all? This is certainly true. However, apart from being a great source of entertainment, movies possess an uncanny ability to teach us valuable lessons. Those lessons that you can’t learn in the real world without suffering a fair share of bumps and bruises. So why not, say, mix business with pleasure – have fun and make the most of the unique opportunity movies open up?

Those who are into marketing and business are the lucky ones in this regard in that there is a host of movies for marketers out there that enable them to kill two birds with one stone – relax and educate at the same time. Here is our pick of the best inspirational movies, documentaries and TV series that provide valuable educative insights into marketing and advertising.

Here we go.

1. The Joneses (2009)

jonases family amont the best 12 movies about marketing and advertising

The ever-increasing significance of social status and high standard of living can’t but play right into marketers’ hands. Wondering how? Then go watch the movie. Being more of a domestic comedy, the movie won’t bombard you with tiresome instructions, but at the same time it will surely help you come to grips with the power of influence, delve deeper into conspicuous consumerism and fully grasp the meaning of the old idiom “Keeping up with the Joneses”.

2. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)

the greatest movie ever sold - 12 bet movies about marketing

No wonder savvy lecturers recommend this movie as a guide to integrated advertising. The film provides detailed insight into how companies push their products through movie and television product placement whereas media companies gain sponsorship to get their movies made. By the way, Spurlock decided to make his film through showcasing products from brands that subsidized his documentary. Smart move, Morgan!

3. Wag the Dog (1997)

wag the dog movie - 12 best movies about marketing

Having being caught red-handed in a sex scandal shortly before the reelection, the President of the United States takes a shot at quelling the situation through fabricating a war in Albania to divert attention away from himself. The main lesson you are sure to learn from the movie is that man can make anyone believe absolutely anything, distract attention from significant events and shape the way other people think. No more lecturing. Just watch and learn!

4. Mad Men (2007-2015)

Mad_Men_12 best movies about marketing

The award-winning drama TV series depicts the world of advertising in 1960s New York. Its lead character, an ad executive Don Draper, is gonna show you it’s ok to fight for your place in the sun by any means necessary. Advertising is not as fair as it may seem to be – the number one lesson to learn.

5. Thank You for Smoking (2005)

thank you for smoking - 12 best movies about marketing

What can be more difficult than promoting something the majority disapprove of or even crack down on? Everyone knows smoking has devastating impact on health. However, Nick Naylor, a lobbyist working for a tobacco company, is trying to convince people otherwise. This movie will certainly teach you to never back down whatever happens and bulldoze your way. And what about marketing ethics? You decide.

6. What Women Want (2000)

What-Women-Want-12 best movies about marketing

Though being a golden oldie, this funny comedy movie delivers an invaluable lesson that is still relevant in this day: every ad expert should know their intended audience inside out to create a truly effective advertisement. And if it requires going to extremes – then go do it.

7. Jobs (2013)

Jobs - 12 best movies about marketing and advertising

Surely we couldn’t leave it out in the cold. The biographical drama film chronicles the turbulent yet epic life of Steve Jobs, a legendary entrepreneur and the man behind the tech juggernaut Apple. There is one big thing you’re gonna take away from this biopic: it’s the little things that count in business. Every slightest detail makes a big difference when it comes to business prosperity and success.

8. Syrup (2013)

syrup -12 best movies about marketing and advertising

The highly engaging drama film shows two marketing executives trying to sell their energy drinks by means of creating the right image. A soft drink itself is just syrup and water and it is not what really matters. Brand image is everything, and consumers are gullible. Watch the movie and learn how the marketing industry does whatever it takes to sell a product, how to grab your buyer’s attention, create upmarket image and sell yourself.

9. Art & Copy (2009)

art&copy - 12 best movies about marketing and advertising

One more powerful documentary on our list that is definitely worth watching. The film sheds light on the work of the brightest advertising creatives – artists and writers – who managed to get the attention of millions through their unique advertising campaigns and remained unknown outside their industry. Dough Pray, the director, interviews marketing gurus like Lee Clow, Mary Wells Lawrence, Hal Riney, Dan Wieden and others to give us valuable insight into such brilliant campaigns as “Just Do It”, “Where’s the Beef?”, “I Love NY”, “Think Different”, and more.

10. Crazy People (1990)

crazy people - 12 best movies about marketing and advertising

Looking for the ways to perk up your day? A hilarious movie about the truth in advertising fits the bill nicely. Emory, an ad executive, goes nuts and starts composing honest and funny ads that play a dirty trick on him shortly after he presents them to the boss. Being considered crazy, Emory is sent to the asylum. This is where all the fun begins.  “Come to New York, there were fewer murders than last year.” Want more? Enjoy the movie and have a great laugh!

11. Lemonade (2009)

lemonade - 12 best movies about marketing and advertising

Having lost their jobs in the “Great Recession”, 70,000 advertising professionals didn’t lose their imaginative ability and creative thinking. The motivating documentary focuses on 15 ad experts whose lives changed for the better after they had been laid off from their ad jobs. The film will unequivocally teach you to never give up and take advantage of the downtime to find your true calling in life.

12. Boiler Room (2000)

boiler room - 12 best movies about marketing and advertising

Being highly inspirational, the film is a total must-watch for every salesman and businessman. The movie tells about young stockbrokers who make six figs fast and over and over again through hard selling worthless or bogus stock to unsuspecting buyers with high-pressure telephone tactics. Though focusing on scam and foul play, the movie will give you strong motivation that you need to step into the harsh world of business and entrepreneurship.

Take your pick or better watch them all and find the one you’ll keep coming back to again and again to refuel your motivation.

Lazy learning is something all of us can do on a daily basis. It's time to take a closer look to our list of 12 must-watch movies about marketing and advertising.
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