REMARKABLE /
EPISODE #4
Get in, Loser! We’re Going Shopping for B2B Marketing Lessons from Mean Girls

Telling a story in a 15-second ad gets tricky. Do smarter B2B marketing! Let a familiar setting do a lot of the heavy lifting so you can focus on your brand message.

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Episode Summary

If you want to make a big impact in a 15-second ad, there’s one trick of the trade that instantly gets an emotional response: place your ad in a relatable setting.  

It could be the DMV, an airport, or a drive through —what matters is that it’s a place your audience has been to. They know what it’s like getting a bad driver’s license photo, or struggling to find an outlet to charge your phone while you wait for a connecting flight. By putting your story in a familiar setting, you don’t need to do very much explaining – and you can capitalize on those precious seconds to highlight your message.

This week, we’re talking about Mean Girls. Mean Girls is a perfect example of what it means to have a relevant, reminiscent setting. In this episode of REMARKABLE, we talk about how to do the same in your B2B marketing.

Why Mean Girls?

Mean Girls is a modern classic that introduced the word "fetch" into our vocabulary. But we picked it for this week's episode because it's an excellent example of a film taking a common setting and building off it. You know what setting we're talking about: high school. The movie's production design evokes the all-too-familiar feel of the American high school. But it's not just that; it's also the scenes in the movie as well. We’re talking about high school — the physical place as well as the experience. Mean Girls perfectly captures both, so you watch the movie and go, “I’ve been there. I know what that’s like.” The high school feels familiar because it’s pretty generic. Everything from the hallways and lockers to the cafeteria and classrooms in the movie look like ones in real high schools across the U.S. But it’s more than that — it’s the experience of going to a new school, trying to make friends, having crushes, getting bullied…there’s something for everyone.

Did you know that Mean Girls is based on a self-help book? That’s right, Tina Fey wrote the screenplay after reading Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman. The book was written for parents who wanted to help their teen daughters better navigate the social complexities at school. Fey took key components of the high school experience from the book, along with unforgettable characters and a juicy plot, and Mean Girls was born.

Mean Girls became a state-of-the-art classic because of how Tina Fey elevated the high school genre. With her cutting sense of humor and subversive voice, she made Mean Girls one of the most quotable and enduring of its kind.

A Quick Mean Girls Refresher

Mean Girls tells the story of Cady Heron, who gets her first taste of public high school after her scientist parents move from Africa to the Chicago suburbs. Outcasts Janis and Damien show Cady the ropes, but Cady winds up going her own way. Despite her friends’ warnings, she is drawn into the cool girl clique, “The Plastics,” led by Regina George. Cady finds out how cutthroat The Plastics truly are after making the mistake of falling for Regina’s ex. So Cady, Janis and Damien plot to bring on Regina’s downfall.

Key Takeaways

What B2B Companies Can Learn From Mean Girls:

  • Set the stage. We know it’s important to choose a memorable setting, but don’t forget to give it some history. On Cady’s first day in class, she was told not to sit in a certain seat because Kristin Hadley’s boyfriend sits there. Do we know who Kristin Hadley is? No. But we’ve all walked into a situation where we accidentally took someone’s seat. B2B companies can take common themes and everyday elements to create a familiar setting for their audience.
  • Use compelling visuals. Use imagery that is authentic and tells your brand’s story. Mean Girls is set in a real school that’s still functioning today. The interior shots of the high school in Mean Girls were filmed at Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey. There’s a reason why the style of the halls, the lockers, the cafeteria and classrooms look like the ones at your school. MHS was built in 1959, during the baby boom that followed World War II. In order to efficiently meet the needs of a growing population, school architecture designs were standardized, and the components pre-fabricated. That’s why the school in Mean Girls looks so real to all of us – and don’t forget that it’s also a real, actual school! That’s why we identify so much with the film, even if it takes place in a heightened, comedic world. Bottom line: in your B2B marketing campaigns, pull visuals that will have an emotional impact on your audience.
  • Make it entertaining. Here we go, talking about edu-tainment again! Don’t forget to add some humor to your marketing. It’s an understatement to say that Mean Girls is a prime example of this – after all, Tina Fey wrote the screenplay. But she uses comedy to explore the bullying that happens among teen girls – while also keeping the audience engaged through tight plotting, intelligent pacing, and well-drawn characters. Do the same with your B2B work. Create ads that will immediately captivate your audience and leave them wanting more. Entertaining tidbits can be weaved into assets like LI ads, social posts, video campaigns, and blog posts. Remember, the shorter the asset (think short social posts or 30 second video ads), the higher the chances of engagement and viewership are.
Quotes

*”If you only have 15 or 30 seconds in the age of TikTok to grab somebody, if you're leaning into something that people know, to establish a setting, a time, a place, then you free up your runway to talk about the things that you really want to get across because those things are already built in.” - Dane Eckerle

*”When it comes to setting, it's about being really relatable but also super relevant to your audience. When B2B marketers split up their target audience into personas, for example, know that they're people first, and more than just personas. They’re professionals who want to make better impressions and build stronger relationships. You have to be relatable to sell to them as a marketer, but also show your true self and be authentic. And I think that comes with knowing exactly the groups that they’re in and what they care about.“ - Anagha Das

Episode Highlights

Links

Watch Mean Girls

Check out #LifeinsideDropBox

Take a look at how HubSpot highlights employees

And then there’s Corporate Bro

Vidyard is doing cool stuff with videos too

About Remarkable!

Remarkable! is created by the team at Caspian Studios, the premier B2B Podcast-as-a-Service company. Caspian creates both non-fiction and fiction series for B2B companies. If you want a fiction series check out our new offering - The Business Thriller - Hollywood style storytelling for B2B. Learn more at CaspianStudios.com.

In today’s episode, you heard from Ian Faison (CEO of Caspian Studios), Dane Eckerle (Head of Development), Colin Stamps (Podcast Launch Manager), Anagha Das (B2B Content Marketing Manager), and Meredith O’Neil (Senior Producer). Remarkable was produced this week by Meredith O’Neil, mixed by Scott Goodrich, and our theme song is “Solomon” by FALAK.

Create something remarkable. Rise above the noise.