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Sony the Defiant: 'The Interview' Has Been Released
By: Emory Brown
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I am all about freedom of speech and artistic expression. However, Sony’s executive team may have reconsidered The Interview, or hired a political consultant, or formed an alliance with the U.N. to talk about. Brilliantly funny (I assume from watching the trailers and commercials), The Interview is an interesting conversation in “crisis” management from Sony’s brand perspective. Is defying the complaints of a foreign nation the way to sales?

James Franco and Seth Rogen are hilarious. I’ve seen plenty of their movies, so I know this dynamic duo are rocking this script with comedic genius. However, Sony as a brand has been in a very interesting predicament on an international stage. Is this a Wag the Dog moment? Is America sending North Korea leader Kim Jong-un a subliminal message? I think this may have been interpreted that way.

America is pretty good with propaganda — actually, the CIA specializes in it — hence Barack Obama speaking publicly about the movie and the United States or China or someone counterattacking North Korea with a nine-hour blackout of their national Internet service the other day. It’s a little ridiculous from a consumer standpoint, but from America’s and Sony’s standpoints, it’s a powerful brand statement. The movie showcases the depth of America’s military might from a comical perspective. A couple of television hosts train to become spies/killers to take out Kim Jong-un. I think someone at Sony wants Dennis Rodman back.

Due to the obvious implications of inherent doom for North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Sony as a brand almost suffered an incredible loss. This is a film that would have been perfect for on-time release in theaters if they had created a fictional character from fictional country. Great concepts work with or without celebrities, and they’ve spent $100 million in marketing dollars and taken a hit to their brand name on an international scale.
 
Despite all of the craziness that has surrounded the film, though, Sony has defied the gods of International Relations and released The Interview anyway with the help of a few independent theatres and Internet behemoth YouTube. Apple’s iTunes had The Interview available to rent or buy as of Christmas Eve. They may get some return on their investment yet.
 
I think a straight-to-DVD approach may have been a better way to share it with the American public. Now that’s defiant!


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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