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Author's profile photo Derek Klobucher

Great Satire and Marketing Take Care of “Unfinished Business”

Satire is best when everyone can laugh. Such is the case with a marketing campaign for the movie Unfinished Business, which opens tomorrow.

Unfinished Business Stock Photos 03-05-2015-01.jpg
One of these kids is a lot like the other. In a wonderful blend of marketing and satire, the cast of “Unfinished Business” appears in 12 photos, including the one above (top), lampooning stock images, such as this Shutterstock photo (bottom).

Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco strike the poses we know so well from stock photos — those generic images adorning white papers, clickbait and yes, even blog posts on this venue. To promote their movie, the actors recreate many of your favorite stock photo stereotypes, such as business people pointing at a screen; business people inexplicably standing in wedge formation; and business people clapping about … something.

“Successful brands are becoming platforms and need to do more than just drive consumers to a purchase,” a Forbes story about digital marketing stated. “They have to inspire them to participate.”

You can participate by using these images in your next PowerPoint presentation or corporate newsletter. And you can download the images here for free; so you don’t have to see the movie or buy a stock photo subscription to play along.

This is the intersection of brilliant satire and culturally savvy marketing. And everyone is in on the joke, from the movie studio, 20th Century Fox, to a stock image company, iStock by Getty Images.

“We hope these images bring a smile to people’s faces as they recognize classic business stock concepts with a twist,” Craig Peters, general manager of iStock by Getty Images in a statement on Getty’s Web page.

iStock is even creating the illusion of scarcity by offering only four of 12 downloads at a time. You’d have to visit the Web site every week for three weeks to collect all of the photos.

Unfinished Business is a comedy about “a hard-working small business owner and his two associates who travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives,” according to the movie’s IMDB page. “But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every way imaginable — and unimaginable.”

Speaking of IMDB, these stock images already appear as photos on the actors’ pages. We can’t be surprised by Vaughn and Franco participating in these shenanigans, given their roles in comedies such as Old School and 21 Jump Street.

But it’s delightful to see the usually dramatic Emmy Award-winner Wilkinson (famous for playing U.S. President Lyndon Johnson in Selma and Gotham City crime boss Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins) hamming it up too.

So it’s great satire and marketing all in one. Even if we never see the movie, we’re left with a favorable impression of Unfinished Business because it offers an easy — and free — way for us to join the fun.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

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