Television and cinema have used the notion of a dream to escape reality, indicate great expanses of time, highlight a learning lesson, or in the case of eighties mega hit, Dallas, eradicate storyline inconsistencies after an actor famously announced his decision to leave the show…and then didn’t.
Christopher Nolan’s mind bending new film, Inception, is based on the brain’s powerful ability to perceive and reveal information during sleep. Against a sea of Summer sequels and remakes, Nolan’s art seems to assert a hopeful sign that creativity is not dead (or, to quote Canadian band, Bare Naked Ladies, “It’s all been done, It’s all been done. It’s all been done before.”). The story has a labyrinth of levels, literally, but is the basic premise really such a novel concept…or, right down to the symbolic spinning top, is it actually a metaphor for branding and advertising?
In the film, a group of—we’ll call them dreamologists— unite for the ostensible purpose of inspiring an internal call to action that is actually against the direction of his assumed path. This man has to be convinced of the change in direction, so the dreamologists must win over his emotions. Process wise, their objective is to plant a thought in the sleeping target’s subconscious and let it grow organically. If successful, their recipient will believe this thought to be uniquely his own…and respond in kind. The film calls this process: Inception.
What about the world of the awake? How do we convince others to respond to us and act accordingly? Key to successful branding is the ability to emotionally connect with your desired audience and appeal to them in a personal or meaningful way, such that they evoke the response of brand loyalty and ultimately evangelism. Sounds like a less scientific, but equally psychological version of inception, doesn’t it?
Side note: Ironically, when I was looking for some hard hitting data to support a claim that Pamela Barnes Euwing’s “dream” was Dallas’ launch pad to oblivion, I learned that www.jumptheshark.com had been sold a few years ago and its impressive pop culture reservoir vanished into, perhaps, “Limbo?”