Home Articles How the greatest movie one-liners of all time can inspire your business

How the greatest movie one-liners of all time can inspire your business


It’s not called the silver screen for nothing. Improve the return on your marketing investment using these unforgettable classics to find, attract and retain customers.

TV advertisers have only 30 seconds to build rapport with their intended target audience and tell the whole story. The first five to 10 seconds are critical. Headlines in newspapers and magazines grab attention and are the deciding factor in whether the article is read or not. “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy,” said David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising.

When talking about movies we recall funny, shocking and, in general, unforgettable scenes. However, we most remember and repeat the “one-liners” – the headlines, the movie positioning statement equivalent. They encapsulate the brand and propel the movie into the Hall of Fame.

The following greatest movie “one-liners” are memorable and hence will provide unforgettable advice that is simple, useful and, most importantly, fun. Here is the countdown:



“Houston, we have a problem.”

Tell the truth, even if it hurts. Your customers will find out sooner or later, make it sooner rather than later. Be honest and avoid corporate spin. Most “good customers” can handle the truth.




“Greed is Good.”

This principal maybe the driving force of capitalism and making a profit is still the name of the game, but today’s consumers demand that corporations “Show me the money!” with a greater level of social responsibility.




“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

Lack of clear communication is the greatest crime against customers a marketer can commit. Marketing is communication, and 80 percent of the marketer’s budget (time and money) is spent on communication. That is, reaching your customers and prospects with your message and constantly fine tuning it based on their responses. Communication is about dialogue, not the old fashioned marketing monologue that did not allow for customer feedback.




“Go ahead, make my day.”

Permission-based marketing yields better results.




“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Communication that is not relevant and service that doesn’t show a great deal of care will not be tolerated.




“Yeah baby!”

Confidence is sexy. Confidence sells. If you are not in love with your product or service, why would you expect anybody else to be?





“We’re on a mission from God.”

Confidence sells, being delusional doesn’t. Good advertising kills bad products faster. Don’t over promise and under deliver.




“Who you gonna call?”

So many marketing communications don’t even have a call to action. “The only purpose of advertising is to make sales… it is not to keep your name before the people. It is not primarily to aid your other salesmen. Treat it as a salesman. Force it to justify itself. Compare it with other salesmen.” — Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising, 1923




“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Does your communication make a compelling offer to your customers? Do you give them a clear reason to buy from you and not your competitors?




“I’m the king of the world.”

Do you make your customers feel like they are “king of the world?” If you don’t, somebody else will and before you know it your customers will be saying: “I’ll have what she’s having.”




“Carpe Diem, seize the day.”

First-mover advantage usually translates to becoming the leader of the category. If your category is too competitive, start a new category. Dell and FedEx are just two examples. Read Al Reis (start with the “22 Immutable Laws of Marketing”) – the man has written more about the subject than any other, in an easy-to-understand and fun way.




“I’ll be back.”

Are your customers coming back? Are you getting back to your customers in time? Do you meet their expectations? A study of 460 B2B organisations that employed 100+ people, conducted by Strike Force Sales, found that only six percent of Australian companies pick up the phone and respond to a web-generated sales inquiry with a phone call.




“I see dead people.”

Keep your database clean.




“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Consistency is more important in brand building than ever before. Brand loyalty is a stress-reduction strategy through easier decision making. Your customers better know what they get. A brand has a personality. Personalities don’t really change. Most people are consistent. McDonald’s built a global empire by giving consumers consistency, bringing to food the standardisation of parts, just like Henry Ford did for manufacturing.




“You talkin’ to me?”

Consumers have attitude and lots of it. They are likely to let more people know when they are unhappy with your service then when they are happy with it, the ratio was said to be 12 to 5 – and that was before e-mail, blogging, review sites, and social networking! Be nice, be relevant and be honest or face DIRTY HARRY – the consumer enforcer. “Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do you?”

“May the force be with you.” And if you need some assistance (shameless promotion) call me, the name is Stark. Gene Stark. At your service.

Gene Stark is the principal of Stark Reality a marketing consultancy that provides SMEs with simple, effective and accountable marketing solutions that increase their marketing R.O.I using brand communication disciplines and processes previously only affordable for, large corporations.