The five lessons of the “Cecil Hotel”

Scratching the bottom of the Netflix offer after a year of lockdown, I got to the miniseries about the “mysterious case” (…) of the Cecil Hotel.
Although I found little “mystery” and no “case” in it, I noted 5 points of discussion:

  1. In Marketing, and for me personally in many other things, Americans can’t be beat. These four hours of storytelling of nothing that are blowing up on Netflix are proof of that: that the poor, psychically fragile girl ended up killing herself doesn’t require any particular imaginative effort from the beginning.
  2. No matter how disturbed your mind is and how much bullshit you manage to put together in a single thought, there will always be someone ready to support you: the blog that welcomed the young woman’s depressive crises was in fact very popular as well as the Youtube channels that blamed the LAPD and the hotel management for her death.
  3. In the same way, no matter how well-founded and proven your theses are, there will always be some denier, conspiracist or mythomaniac ready to question them.
  4. It’s not personal, it’s business. Life assigns us roles that are completely separate and distinct from the person but we don’t always have the necessary hindsight to remember that. Instead, neither the hotel manager nor any of the investigators resent the fact that their role is incredibly challenged on camera by the most outlandish hypotheses (murder committed by a ghost, a singer follower of the satan cult, or LAPD investigators) but diligently follow the scenario assigned to them while waiting for the happy ending.
  5. If sometimes social media help to fight just battles, more often than not they turn into dangerous popular courts that dispense convictions and acquittals with impunity, heedless of the most minimal rules of law. Poor Morbid, whom the music will not regret, is a prime example.

Obviously the above is particularly true in the entertainment industry and explains the various Big Brother, Celebrity Island, The Bachelor… but I still draw the general rule that the offer of a product / service is always a function of consumer need.

“No shit”, you might be thinking… but if you think about it, Marketing is increasingly thought of as a megaphone of the “absolute value” of the offer. Except that there is no such thing as the absolute value of the offer.

Take Linkedin, for instance. Everyone has something to sell on Linkedin. And everyone is convinced that shouting louder than others “how beautiful we are, how good we are…” generates differentiation.

Linkedin has become boring as hell. Those who have jobs are constantly sharing their companies’ institutional messages of “we’re number one here, we respect universal values and human rights there…”. Those who don’t have one instead : “follow me on my website, I discovered penicillin, the covid vaccine and I gave Musk the idea to go to Mars…”

Instead, differentiation comes from the particular way in which a customer need is met. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”: you can take as many selfies as you like, using a thousand filters, but only the person who follows you on Instagram decides if the photo is good.