Cats, Mr. Rogers, and Star Wars: What Fall’s New Movies Can Tell You About Your Copy

Movies provide much more than entertainment. Senior Director of Strategy Michele Graham, a former motion picture insider, shows us what the hottest releases of 2019 can teach us about crafting the perfect copy strategy.

fall movies copywriting

It’s the Fall season—the time when studios kick off their stream of blockbuster releases and Oscar-worthy films. MarketSmiths’ own Sr. Director of Strategy and former motion picture insider, Michele Graham, takes a look at some of the biggest, most anticipated titles—and the copywriter connection. 

Little Women

A story beloved by generations, maybe too loved? Between stage, television and big screen adaptations, Little Women is in its 20th reincarnation (give or take a few). So, what could be new?

We copywriters are often faced with this quandary in writing for legacy brands. How do we give a fresh updated take without alienating a loyal consumer base? It was this precise dilemma that we tackled with a client that is considered the granddaddy in the commercial tenant rep sector, Norman Bobrow.

To put a new spin on a 40-year-old story, we wiped away the copy cobwebs in the existing website, showcased how the company works the market, and added spunk—lots of it. You don’t survive in NYC commercial real estate by being a shrinking violet. We honored values that are true to the bone and brought forth language that is relevant and contemporary (and thankfully no one dies at the end). 

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

The costumes! The make-up! The wings! The chiseled cheekbones! It’s a feast for the eyes, but looks will only take you so far. To deliver a blockbuster, you need a script that keeps things moving and interesting—or you’re toast by week two.

It’s the same in writing scripts for videos—a task with which the MarketSmiths team has no small amount of experience. While our words may not be enhanced with production as fantastical as Maleficent’s, we can still make a jaw-dropping impact with language alone.

That’s just what we did when we worked with D.C.-based 522 Productions. With Academy Award winner Michael Douglas on board to narrate, MarketSmiths delivered a concise script for the United Nations Foundation’s Global Leadership Awards Dinner that detailed then-President Obama’s policy achievements on the global stage. Weaving in clips of President Obama’s speeches, we crafted a script that hit policy high points and inspired. In the words of 522’s video producer:

When a project calls for an above-and-beyond script, we want expertise we don’t have in-house. This script had to be really, really good, so we wanted to make sure MarketSmiths weighed in–because research, nuance, and tight deadlines are their bread and butter.” 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Goodbye Rye. So long Finn. See ya Kylo Ren. We will miss you, Luke Skywalker. It’s the last of the Star Wars films (or so they say). The 9-movie franchise has sustained itself and legions of fans over more than 40 years—an out-of-this-world achievement. And while we don’t profess to be the next George Lucas or J.J. Abrams, we’re quite creative with handling serial campaigns. 

One thing we’ve learned: don’t wait too long between installments. Think about what your follow-up is going to be while you are in production—whether it’s the next white paper, e-book, blog, or email campaign. We know how to thread together concepts, while also referencing prior key points so that audiences can join in at any point. We’ve done it for some stellar clients, including an e-book series for Samsung digital signage. May the force (of content) be with you!

The Irishman

It’s an all-star ensemble: Scorsese. Pacino. DeNiro. Pesci. Expectations are high when you have this much wattage. A few tips from director Scorsese could equally apply to content. Things like: Make the audience care. Whether it’s about gangsters—or in MarketSmiths’ case anything from technology to fine wine, financial services to education— tap into readers’ feelings and peel away at their pain points.

Tip two: be true to the characters. Effective copy rings of authenticity, and speaks your audience’s language. 

And last: Pay attention to details. Get the big picture, but also capture the nuances. It’s why we do an in-depth strategy session with each client to kick off every project for content that makes readers sit up and take notice. 

Frozen 2

Elsa, Olaf, Anna and crew are off to new adventures to the delight of young ones everywhere. After hearing the theme song over and over and over, are parents ready to enter the kingdom of Arendelle once again?

We know just how they feel. Copywriters often get stuck on wording, but when it doesn’t work, how do you know when to Let It Go? That’s the magic of a professional writer. Rather than getting frozen in place, we step back, take a breather, create a new approach—and, last but not least, tap into the creative juices of our team for copy that saves the day (and gets results).

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Heart. Kindness. Empathy. The cardigan sweater. It could all make for a saccharine-soaked two hours. Mr. Rogers trod a fine line and, in turn, endeared himself to generations. We are often asked to elicit warm feelings without being cloyingly sweet. It’s a task we warmly embrace. Take writing about cancer and other serious medical conditions. Copy in this sector can often veer into gratingly maudlin. When AdventHealth asked us to write for their new website (all 2100+ pages!), our team of 14 writers created copy that was empathetic and addressed fear, anxiety, and questions through their patients’ eyes, while also shining a light on real, fact-based solutions and whole patient care—right in their neighborhood. 


State-of-the-art digital effects transform Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Dame Judi Dench, and the entire litter into kitties from fierce to cuddly. Let’s hope the creatives behind the new Cats movie remembered that wiz-bang technology should never overshadow a story’s humanity: Emotional connections stay with audiences long after the last FX.

Similarly, there’s a human connection to be made even when writing about the most sophisticated technology. MarketSmiths crafts content for fintech, health tech, digital operations tech, AI and BI—including this web copy for Ezra, MRI AI-assisted early cancer detection. Now and forever, we keep in mind how these applications solve B2B problems, always expressing how they turn what can be overwhelming situations into results that are the cat’s meow for businesses—and the people who run them.

If you’re looking to tell your story, connect with audiences, or win awards, you need a professional copywriting team. Look to MarketSmiths for content that will put your brand in the spotlight.

Michele Graham

Michele Graham

Clients warm up to Michele immediately and so do those who read her writing. As MarketSmiths' Senior Director of Strategy, Michele makes even the most complex B2B concepts inviting and knows how to add just the right touch of personality. Michele's experienced in three-word taglines and 30-page websites and everything in-between—white papers, press releases, e-communications, brochures, social media, and video scripts. She's worked at award winning agencies and in strategy at HBO and Tri-Star Pictures. She loves (and we mean loves) anything that gets the wind in her hair—boating, biking, skiing.

Michele earned her business acumen with an MBA in Finance from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing, summa cum laude, from Boston University.

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