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Marketing Lessons from your Favorite Halloween Villains

23 Oct, 2015 McKell Naegle

Villains often get the short end of the stick. I mean, sure, they’re evil, conniving, and manipulative. Yeah, they’re usually massive jerks that probably hate puppies, but they also don’t get enough credit. So in honor of our favorite evil masterminds, we’ve asked Fluidites to tell us the most important lessons they’ve learned from the villains we all love to hate.

The Joker, Batman franchise
Favorite of Frank Imler


One of my favorite villains is the Joker from Batman. I like that nobody knows where he came from or why he does what he does. It makes him unpredictable and extremely interesting. Weare naturally afraid of what we don’t understand. I think Joker embodies that really well. In The Dark Knight, Alfred, Bruce’s butler, shares an experience about a past villain he dealt with and says, “Some people just want to watch the world burn.” Our lack of understanding about what makes Joker tick is what makes him a great villain.

In The Dark Knight, the Joker says, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” Not only does this give us some faint insight into to his reasons for doing what he does (because he can), but it also teaches us a valuable life lesson. If we are good at something, it’s probably because we enjoy it. In life, our careers should be centered around where our passions lie. Not only will we enjoy the 8 to 10 hours we are on the clock, but we will also do better quality work because we (hopefully) love doing it. We are passionate about it. It drives us and is fulfilling.

Darth Maul, Star Wars franchise
Favorite of Thatcher Olson


As a huge Star Wars fan, where else would I look for my favorite villain? Now you may think I’m going to talk about Darth Vader, but you’re wrong. While he is an all-time great villain, I’ll be going with Darth Maul—a villain with a shorter history. Episode I may be among the worst of all the Star Wars movies, but there’s no doubt Darth Maul was an awesome character.

The Sith were a menacing enigma at this time in the Star Wars universe, and Darth Maul was the embodiment of this. He was a powerful warrior, his look alone instilled fear in all those around him, and he himself was an unknown. Nothing was known of his background and history, and he didn’t care to monologue or explain why or how he was going to beat you. He was a silent and fearsome warrior.

So what can be learned from Darth Maul? First, anticipation is everything. Darth Maul planned his introduction to the world perfectly. Marketers could learn a few things from him when launching a new product or campaign. Second, he did what he was good at. Darth Maul didn’t try to convince his enemies to join the dark side with words or his dazzling intellect. He was good at fighting and instilling fear in his foes. We need to make sure to focus on those things that will make us successful, not just copying others. Finally, he wasn’t afraid. When he squared up against two legendary Jedi, did he back down or run away? No. He faced them and fought admirably. We shouldn’t be afraid to test our limits, even if we fail. Just like Darth Maul.

Darth Vader, Star Wars franchise
Favorite of Ryan Kunz


My favorite villain? That’s easy: Darth Vader. No other villain quite matches his ability to simply radiate icy menace. Everything about him, from the iconic skull-like helmet to the sweeping black cape, conspires to convince you of his place of prominence in any bad guy hierarchy. The sound of his mechanical breathing, innocuous when it comes from anyone else, is imbued with unmistakable malice. Even before he utters a word in the malevolently sonorous voice of James Earl Jones or curls his gloved fingers to wrap invisible talons around your neck, his appearance has already announced that he’s the baddest dude on the block. Only the worst of fates awaits anyone foolish enough to stand in his way.

From him I learn that only the best is good enough, though maybe it’s best to avoid telekinetically strangling anyone who fails you. Darth Vader also demonstrates a model of single-minded dedication to a goal. Once he decides he wants something, there’s no force (pun intended) in the galaxy that can stand in his way.

Annie Wilkes, Misery
Favorite of Brett FerrinAnnie

I love Annie Wilkes from the 1990 film Misery. Sure, she was a psychopath, a serial killer, a crazed stalker, and a sadomasochist … but few characters on screen have displayed as much passion as Annie did. Her passionate love for romance novels drives her to murder and torture multiple individuals, including breaking a man’s ankle with a sledgehammer. Talk about commitment! Up until her untimely death (via a metal pig statue, mind you) she never loses sight of her goals. I strive daily to bring her drive and passion to my design work. Thank you, Annie, for your example of hard work and dedication.

Michael Myers, Halloween
Favorite of Dustin Cederholm


The best lesson I’ve taken from a Halloween villain I learned from Michael. I suppose most of us know Michael for the famed Halloween movies, right? For those that do, you know Michael is always walking after his victims. Michael’s victims are constantly running for their lives away from him; Yet—somehow—Michael always seems to catch up and ultimately overcome his prey. I see this more often than I’d like to admit when I consult with clients. A client will get a great idea and sprint to market with it. Rarely do they walk through the sales and marketing steps that will get their prospect to achieve the desired action. This oversight causes a campaign to hit unforeseen issues that delay deployment and cause the campaign to underperform. Clients that take a more methodical approach and put themselves in the shoes of their customer inevitably account for roadblocks and deliver a streamlined campaign that nets better-than-average results.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Favorite of Matt Angel


Dr. Henry Jekyll was a man of high social standing. He had many friends and colleagues, but he was unsatisfied. Sadly, what he wanted was something that could not be achieved in his current state. So he concocted a serum that would transform himself painfully into the sinister Mr. Hyde. As Mr. Hyde, Jekyll found what he was looking for. Unfortunately, what he was looking for involved trampling young girls and beating Members of Parliament to death with a cane.

But on the bright side, when Dr. Jekyll hit an obstacle he found a way over it. He adapted, physically and mentally, to his current situation. Today, there’s no one answer for creating a successful marketing campaign. It’s quite the obstacle, but with the right amount of knowledge and the full set of ingredients, any business can find what Jekyll found. Ultimately it led to his death, but hey, it’s just a book.

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