The Social Construct of Brand Recognition - Movie Edition

04/14/2022

When people think of brands that have maintained an iconic status, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not film distribution companies. Coca-cola, Nike, and Ford are often recited as some of the most effective examples of brands sticking around for so long and staying relevant that have become icons in society, and that is indeed for good reason. The aforementioned companies can be recognized by virtually anybody glancing by, known for their consistency in quality and branding.

In the world of cinema, there are some companies whose logos and intros can be universally recognized, such as MGM with their shouting lion or Columbia Pictures and its shining Statue of Liberty. In fact, many of these studios have stuck around about as long as the most iconic American brands today, and while there are certainly people who get all nostalgic when looking back at these classic movie studios, one thing that seems to be lacking when comparing MGM, Columbia Pictures, and even 20th Century Fox to its contemporary titan brands - and what limits them from achieving the same status - is the loyalty factor. Think about the MGM lion and the Columbia statue: do you remember what movies specifically each of those studios own, and what followed after such intros? I barely do, and it is because as long lasting and successful as Hollywood has always been, the studios, respectfully, have never fully capitalized on branding to a specific audience. In many ways, what comes out from can be interchangeable among one another. 

What makes recent years so exciting is that new production and distribution companies, such as A24 pictured above, are truly sticking to brand recognition and creating a dedicated fanbase of watchers. A24's movies are known for their dark atmospheres, powerful stories, and often ambiguous endings. This can be found commonly in the form of horror, such as with Hereditary and The Witch, drama, as is the case with the coming-of-age films Moonlight and Lady Bird, or it can be through a more kaleidoscopic and energetic angle which is seen in Uncut Gems, but the point is that anybody who walks into an A24 film knows exactly what they are getting into, which is that anything can happen. Disney, an obviously far more successful company, does have its fair share of brand loyalty, but it is such a behemoth of a monopoly that its loyalty also is formed through toys, clothing, and even theme parks. The point that I am ultimately trying to make here is that while A24 might be considerably younger than the iconic brands with which the concept is associated, it does might much of its criteria through its loyal fanbase, iconic logo and image, and sticking to its fundamentals.