Advertising Strategies and Lessons


Danny DeVito Day: Marketing Lessons from 5 of His Top Films

November 15, 2018 Sarah Cavill

The holidays are upon us! And this year, there’s one more to throw on the pile. On November 17th, New Jersey will celebrate its first annual Danny DeVito Day, honoring the cantankerous comedian from Asbury Park for his contributions to film and culture. At Digital Media Solutions – especially for those of us in the NJ office – we think this special occasion calls for a closer look into the marketing lessons DeVito’s characters taught us. Just as the day intended.

The Lorax — Live Your Truth.

In this animated film, DeVito provides the voice of the Lorax, a Dr. Seuss animal of unknown origin, whose only mission is to save the Truffula trees. Through it all — deforestation, greed, despair, the Lorax knows what must be done to save his precious trees. He lives his own truth, and in the end the Lorax is rewarded with the result he always knew would benefit the forest and the community. In marketing, as with any business, your integrity is your currency. If you aren’t reflecting positive values, neither your customer nor your company will benefit in the long run.

Batman Returns — Don’t Let Your Past Haunt You.

Abandoned by his parents and raised by penguins, DeVito’s Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a The Penguin, isn’t able to rise above his difficult start. Instead he descends into the sewers for a life of crime and toxic sludge in Batman Returns. In marketing, past mistakes should inform present plans of action, instead of hampering them. Don’t get dragged down. Yesterday’s failures are a great resource for curating today’s success stories.

Matilda — Be Kind.

In Matilda, DeVito plays a truly dastardly character. Matilda is one of Roald Dahl’s most endearing literary heroines, a brilliant and magical girl, imbued with all the kindness her terrible parents don’t have. Her father, played by DeVito, is a mean, dismissive soul. Thanks to the kindness of her teacher, and her own innate goodness, Matilda is able to create a meaningful life. Marketing is often a business of statistics and data, but injecting all your efforts with kindness and good intentions will create better customer relationships, which should ultimately yield better results.

Taxi — Lean on Your Team.

Before there was streaming or Friends there was Taxi. A 1970s sitcom about a group of misfits and their daily hijinks in a taxi garage. In DeVito’s first major role, he perfected his cranky-pants demeanor as Louie De Palma, straight-man to the wacky crew that populated his day-in and day-out. Of course, Louie secretly loved his team, and despite the litany of verbal abuse he regularly rained down on them, valued their time and efforts, too. In marketing you’re only as good as the team of experts and professionals you surround yourself with. Trust your colleagues. You can’t serve your business or your customers without them.

Twins — Expect the Unexpected.

Among DeVito’s most beloved roles is his comedic turn as Vincent in Twins. Devito plays his usual surly, sort-of-felonious wise guy, who discovers Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, an earnest, physically-gifted genius, is his twin brother. Hilarity, and a lot of funny visuals, ensue. Is it likely you’ll find out Mr. Universe is your long lost twin brother? No. But data can yield all sorts of surprises. Be open to them. That’s the information that could flip the script for your campaign.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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