Marketing 101… Then Again Maybe Not: Branded – An Analysis



When I watch a film I tend to have a completely different reason than most. I typically avoid the hedonistic approach. I am not really watching to gain satisfaction or for simple entertainment. I’m watching as a writer. I think this is something that has followed me since my time as an MFA student. I look at the film in an attempt to gain something from it, whether people think it is bad or good doesn’t sway me. I guess I’m writing this to kind of set up this review/analysis. The film Branded has been ripped apart by everyone on the net. Visit Rotten Tomatoes and the film has a 10% rating. Visit Fandango or other sites and the reviews are pretty consistent across the board. Branded sucks… so why am I doing my review/analysis?

Easy, as much as I though of the film as poorly constructed, disjointed work that lacks a clear genre (it’s listed as sci-fi, but most consider it satire), I actually felt satisfied at the end of the movie. Why am I in the minority here? Possibly it has a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t see this film for its cinematic qualities. As the film began to develop I realized that this was a social commentary on capitalism. I think my current work as a small business person allows me access into this film from a very different perspective. From the opening scene when a young boy is struck by lightening, Misha (the main character), to the voice over that explains what is about to take place, I was intrigued. Within 5 minutes the film had laid the foundation for any business/marketing student who was looking for an synopsis on the power of branding and business.

From this standpoint the film definitely worth your time as it plays with the idea of consumerism and how people are no longer capable of discerning between their own ideas and the ideas planted through the media.

A short deviation from this analysis. I sell sneakers. I am often in awe of how much a person is willing to spend on a brand when they are fully aware that the shoes they are buying at the most cost 25.00 to make. However, because those shoes are tied in to the legacy of an athlete and the machine that created the shoes presence is so efficient, people need to have this shoe to attain some type of status. There is a very dark narrative at play on a daily basis in our (yes an inclusive our) lives. Branded does a very good job in an ‘absurdist’ way of addressing this.

While most won’t give Branded a look due to the poor reviews. I actually recommend the film. If you check it out, let me know what you think.

Cast from IMDb:

Leelee Sobieski
Jeffrey Tambor
Max von Sydow