no one else can
or will do.
The secret of success in movies lies
in being different
from anyone else."
One of the great Holy Grails of lost cinema is the movie London After Midnight, a 1927 silent film featuring actor Lon Chaney as a vampire. Though TCM produced a reconstruction of the film several years back from a copy of the continuity script and a collection of over 200 stills gathered from various sources, there are no existing copies of the original film itself.
The same was true for the poster from the film as well – Until now!
Recently, the only known copy of the US release poster for the film turned up in the Heritage Auctions Vintage Movie Posters Signature Auction – and fetched a record-breaking $478,000! Yes kids . . . Half-a-mil ! ! !
The unexpected appearance of this poster gives fans hope that a print of the film might one day be unearthed as well.
As a kid growing up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, I know the famous Lon Chaney London After Midnight makeup very well. I was also familiar with Chaney's Hollywood nickname: The Man of a Thousand Faces!
So renowned was Chaney's uncanny ability to completely remake himself for a role with only minimal makeup and fantastic facial contortions that it was jokingly said to not step on a spider in Hollwood, because it might be Lon Chaney in disguise.
The transformations Chaney accomplished with the just the minimal amount of goodies is his magic makeup box were astounding! His ability in this field was so esteemed, that he wrote the entry on motion picture make-up for the 1929 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Chaney had once quipped about his gift by saying, "My whole career has been devoted to keeping people from knowing me."
Which is where we flip this little indulgence into my love of movie posters and classic horror films back around and ask some pointed brand-related questions.
How well is your brand really known? If you strip away the facade of greasepaint, what's left? Is there a single inherent truth to your brand that connects with your audience?
Or could it be said that you have so neglected investing in telling your brand's story that your audience feels that they don't really know you?
Are you authentic in the eyes of your audience – or are you a
Brand of a Thousand Faces?
The latter might provide for some entertainment, but will ultimately fail to distinguish you in a memorable way where it counts – in the marketplace.
Chaney's advice to Boris Karloff on succeeding in the movies holds equally true for success in branding and visual storytelling:
Be different from anyone else!
Not sure how to do that? Get in touch with us – we'd love to help!