YouTube is a rabbit hole for all sorts of things. The other day a clip of a Hindu version of Superman caught my eye.
It’s a low-Fi masterpiece, a work of love, with cut price special effects. You can see the buildings through superman and wonder woman in the flying scene – and the floor hasn’t quite been rubbed out.
YouTube then cleverly fed me a whole list of other things that it thinks I might like. There are Turkish versions of Rambo, Superman, Batman, Rocky and even The Exorcist.
Mark Kermode isn’t a fan of the Turkish Exorcist.
It made me think again about the joy of the amateur and the low budget. It’s easier, of course, to make pretty sophisticated versions of things these days because the tech is so affordable.
We all have everything we need, pretty much (barring famous actors, a great script, exotic settings and the rights) to make a film everywhere as good as a Hollywood movie.
My colleague James spends too long, for instance, looking at fan movies made in the ‘Star Wars universe’. They’re actually pretty good, let down if anything by the creators wanting to play key roles and discovering that they spend a bit too much time in front of the tele and not enough doing parkour light saber fights in real life.
Here’s the Turkish Superman
Here’s the Turkish Rocky (the plastic training outfit about half way through is amazing)
At Christmas we saw a bit of this, though in a more brazenly commercial way. Retailers brought out their Christmas ads, most of which will have cost a small fortune. But there’s now an arguably better and more engaging set of low-budget parodies that are up in minutes.
So when John Lewis did their ad, which probably cost as much as a 1969 moonshot, within not very long Aldi did a quick and low cost parody that was all about their business. The injection of humour made it a hit on social media – and return on investment had to be higher than the original Cecil B de Mille production.
You want my opinion? Low-fi is now the name of the game in marketing and PR. Our attention spans are short, we’re always looking for the next thing, and a stream of low-budget, high concept ideas is a critical requirement for marketeers. Those ‘content strategies’ that everyone is selling? They’re not a bad idea, assuming they fill in the content bit in a meaningful, clever and creative way.
Why, then, haven’t Hollywood gone after the Turkish and Indian movie makers – and why haven’t John Lewis and the others taken action on the imitators.
I’d say the bet is that the relationship works like the elephant and the mynah bird. Begrudging symbiosis. The elephant tolerates the bird because it helps it. Low-fi marketing. Symbiotic marketing. It’s a whole new parody paradigm.