Simplifilm and Book Marketing Innovations

There’s a company called Simplifilm that makes really cool videos for businesses.

A lot of what they do is make videos for authors that are trying to sell their books. Ryan Holiday, Robert Greene, Seth Godin, and James Altucher are all authors that have used the service very effectively.

I like this ad for Seth Godin’s Icarus Deception:

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin’s, and I have been long before I saw this video. That’s why I find this ad interesting.

I’ve read a few of his books, and I’ve read his blog for a long time, but I’ve never seen a visual interpretation of his work. Simplifilm articulates very well what is in the book, while at the same time leaving a compelling enough mystery to purchase the book. They do this very well with both businesses and authors. In fact, I’d give them credit for my initial interest decision in purchasing Ryan Holiday’s book, which in turn became one of my favorite and most influential books.

One doesn’t usually encounter video advertisements for books. Logically, it doesn’t make sense right away. Books are textual mediums, meaning they should be publicized with book reviews and recommendations (usually exemplified by the New York Times book review). That’s why I think this is so creative, though. There are a million niche audiences that buy books. I think I’m actually one of them. I don’t read the New York Times book review, and if I did, I would never make a purchasing decision based on it. A review may perhaps put the book on my radar, but that’s about all I’d give it credit for.

A video gives a sneak peak at the book in a visually appealing way from the author’s point of view. The next steps are easier, too. You’re already online; All you need to do it follow the link at the end of the video to check out more information on the book. This is incredibly innovative, and the videos are actually fun to watch.

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The Genius of George Carlin

Most of those who inspire me have nothing to do with marketing. I never wanted to be a communicator because David Ogilvy kicked my ass into gear. No executive at Edelman has ever compelled me to write a press release.

That being said, I owe a lot to those who do inspire me. It’s a long list. For all different sorts of reasons, these are the people that inspire me as a communicator: Tucker Max, Tom Delonge, Ryan Holiday, Ernest Hemingway, Bob Lefsetz, Matt Stone & Trey Parker, my Uncle Danny, Tupac Shakur, Quentin Tarintino, Brad Pitt, Chuck Palahniuk, John F. Kennedy, and of course, the great George Carlin.

If I had to claim one figure as the one that inspired me to go into strategic communications, it would be George Carlin.

Of course, this is ironic. Carlin hated marketing and consumerism and spoke out often on these themes:

George Carlin was a cynical bastard. He perfected black humor and satire. But, most importantly, he was honest. His communication was authentic, and everybody felt it. In his own words: “If honesty were suddenly introduced into American life, the whole system would collapse.”

Carlin also taught me about words. His endless rants on euphemisms taught me more about writing and the English language than any class I will ever take.

I think the greatest lesson George Carlin’s comedy taught me was something Robert Greene professes: to Enter Action With Boldness.

This is the guy that literally defined which words weren’t allowed on television by listing them on television preceding the court case. Constantly pushing the envelope led to Carlin’s best material, and it is the reason that virtually every popular comedian today will list him as an inspiration. One my favorite bits of all time features Carlin railing against American’s incessant fears:

In his own words: “Comedy is filled with surprise, so when I cross a line, I like to find out where the line might be and then cross it deliberately, and then make the audience happy about crossing the line with me.”