A rumination from the Content Guy…

It is worth noting that this week marks the 75th anniversary of the release of Casablanca, one of the greatest of all American movies.

It isn’t just the fact that Casablanca is a legitimate classic that makes it worth celebrating this anniversary in this space. It is the fact that it is a movie that has characters and plot points that are replete with business lessons … many of which are detailed in “The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies,” the book that Michael Sansolo and I authored several years ago (available on Amazon by clicking here).

But for the purposes of this milestone, let’s consider some of the backstory surrounding Casablanca. It never was thought of as being the stuff that dreams are made of (to steal a quote from another Humphrey Bogart film, The Maltese Falcon, which itself cribbed the line from Shakespeare). In fact, it was a time when Hollywood turned out hundreds of movies; while Casablanca had high-class acting talent involved with it (Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, director Michael Curtiz), it also was based on an unproduced play and was rushed into theaters to take advantage of the Allied invasion of North Africa, which had just occurred. The iconic theme song, “As Time Goes By,” wasn’t even original to the movie. (There always have been rumors that Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan were supposed to play the roles taken by Bogart and Bergman, but they’ve been largely discredited.) And, the “round up the usual suspects” ending at the airfield was actually written late in the process, while the movie was being filmed, because the twin brothers who wrote most of the movie, Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein, weren’t sure how to end it. (I saw Julius Epstein recall the process when he spoke at a film class I took in the mid-seventies at Loyola Marymount University.)

The point is that Casablanca never should’ve been a classic. But it is, largely because of a unique combination of talents and circumstances and, let’s face it, just plain luck … not to mention the fact that when a business takes that many swings, eventually it is bound to connect.

In the end, that’s what every retailer and marketer has to do. Take lots of chances, assemble lots of pieces with promise, and look for opportunities even in places where others aren’t looking. And then, hope magic happens … and if it doesn’t, try again.

It’s still the same old story. A fight for love and glory. On that, you can rely.