Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie + Some Marketing Stuff - Digital Fuel Podcast

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Podcast Transcript

Kevin: Hello and welcome to Digital Fuel Podcast with Kevin and Matt. Matt, how you doing today?
Matt: I'm good, I'm excited for the holidays. Have we discussed if we're a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays podcast?
Kevin: Oh I think we're up Merry Christmas podcast for sure.
Matt: Why is that?
Kevin: Well I just think it fits our brand and our personality and I don't think it's something that you have to ... You say what has meaning to you and other people say what has meaning to them and if somebody wants to wish me a Happy Kwanzaa, I'm cool with that because that's what's meaningful to them.
Matt: I just wanted to hear you say something super inappropriate and borderline racist and I think you tiptoed all around that, which was fantastic.
Kevin: I did pretty good. I have to admit I'm proud of myself and I am going to pat myself on the back later, which of course means I've just going to open up a bottle of wine but 'tis the season.
Matt: Yeah. Quick side note, and I know we started this podcast to give people tips on advice and business and all this kind of stuff but I feel like this is in line with what we were just talking about. Very simple way to walk around this issue during the holiday is do what I do and tell people, "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays." Very simple. You cover all your bases, no one's upset and you just move on.
Kevin: That's a good idea. So maybe those Starbucks cups could be half red and half Merry Christmas on them and then make everyone happy.
Matt: Yeah, that would work. No one's ever going to be happy.
Kevin: No, that's true.
Matt: That's the thing also.
Kevin: That's true.
Matt: That's a different conversation though.
Kevin: Particularly your customers. But no, I can't, I can't.
Matt: Touche.
Kevin: So we've got a really cool episode lined up today for the holidays. It's kind of a two-parter, but you have to sit through both parts in one sitting. So it's not really two parts, but we're just talking about two different topics. So we're going to start up where Matt and I had an ongoing debate about, and we're going to air our grievances with one another and our feelings here on the podcast and let you guys be the final judges of everything and then we'll actually get into some marketing stuff towards the end.
Kevin: So where are we going to start is on the the greatest debate of our time, I would say, I don't even think it's close.
Matt: A debate as old as time, some would say.
Kevin: Exactly or at least as old as the '80s. Of course, what we're talking about is whether Die Hard is in fact a Christmas movie, which it is, or not. So Matt has decided to take up the mantle of believing that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. So we'll let him start off by telling us a little bit about why he feels this way.
Matt: I've not taken up, or decided to take the mantle of, Die Hard not being Christmas movie. I just don't believe that Die Hard is a Christmas movie because I'm an adult.
Kevin: What does being an adult, have to do with it?
Matt: Also I feel the whole, defend your decision that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, isn't the first position to take. I feel like it's so not a Christmas movie that people need to defend why they believe it's a Christmas movie period. So I'll let you start.
Kevin: Yeah, okay. So let me start off then and tell you why I believe, and know, that Die Hard is in fact a Christmas movie. So let's start off with some really basic examples. All throughout the movie, there is Christmas music being played. It's plays over the opening sequence, the title credits, it plays at the end of the movie and it plays throughout the movie. What other movies but Christmas movies have Christmas music in them?
Kevin: Point two, there's elements of Christmas all throughout the movie. From John McClane taping the gun to his back using Christmas-themed wrapping tape, to him putting one of the terrorists into the elevator with his little Santa hat on and writing on a shirt that says, "Ho ho, ho. Now I have a machine gun." So those are some-
Matt: You made notes, you're reading notes right now, you actually came prepared for this.
Kevin: I have to keep all of my thoughts in line here. Matt. You know, there's also the line where Hans Gruber in fact does say, "It's Christmas Theo, it's the season for miracles." So there's a couple Christmassy examples and I'm not even halfway done yet, Matt.
Matt: I'm going to jump in now. I think what you're describing, it's not really themes of Christmas, they are plot points. Die Hard is by the way, a movie I've not watched in 15 plus years. I watched it again the other night because I was like I kind of want to get on board with this debate and figure out what's going on.
Kevin: So you watched it around Christmas time?
Matt: I watched it around at Christmas time because everyone else told me this was a Christmas movie and I had to watch it. I've got a couple of notes also, but I do want to at least say, I think the best way to summarize what I'm feeling is it's an action movie that happens to take place at Christmas. There are plot points that involve Christmas, but for the most part, after the first 30 minutes, there's not a whole lot of Christmas stuff going on. There's a little bit of singing, like humming. There's a little bit of background Christmas music. It just so happens that this movie takes place at Christmas. I don't think there's anything relevant about Christmas. If you took all the Christmas elements out of it, nothing would change about the movie.
Kevin: So what you're taking up here is the Christmas adjacent argument.
Matt: Right.
Kevin: It's not a Christmas movie. It just takes place at Christmas. Okay, so let me tell you a couple of things about that. One, for starters, the only way that Hans Gruber's whole heist actually works is the fact that it is Christmas time, it has to happen there.
Matt: Why?
Kevin: Because the building is pretty much empty. So all this noise that they're making in everything that they're doing to break into it, most of the people aren't there. The only people who are there are the people he needs, who work for the [Nakitomi 00:06:30] Corporation, they're in one spot because they're having a Christmas party. They're all confined and they can control everybody in that group.
Matt: Okay, so he only really needed the one head guy though, and that could have been done in an a July at night time.
Kevin: Only if the guy was working late, only if nobody else was working late, only if half the security hadn't gone home because it was Christmas time. But let's go back to your argument that it's Christmas adjacent and that the idea that it's Christmas time doesn't impact the movie. That argument is nuts because here's why. If you want to take up that mantle and say that it's Christmas adjacent, it doesn't rely on it being Christmas, then you also have to accept the fact that It's A Wonderful Life and Home Alone are not Christmas movies. It's A Wonderful Life is about a crappy bank manager who loses all of his money and thinks about killing himself. It's Christmas adjacent, but that's the theme of the movie. Home Alone is about a kid who, spoiler alert, gets left home alone.
Kevin: The fact that it's Christmas time doesn't play any effect. They could have been going on summer vacation and the same thing happened. So if you believe that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie because it's just adjacent to Christmas, then neither is A Wonderful Life or Home Alone and I don't think anyone's arguing about those ones.
Matt: Give me a moment to contradict Home Alone, but that's a trickier one, you're right. It's A Wonderful Life is basically just to play on A Christmas Carol though. It's the same movie, just presented differently. However, I kind of understand what you're saying. If it not for the fact that it's just ... Again, it's A Christmas Carol, just more monitored. Home Alone still has many more themes about Christmas than Die Hard does and the whole thing is around Christmas, almost every scene is representative of at least winter, or Christmas. When he's tobogganing down the hill, when he's skating, the Christmas ornaments playing a part in all the action. Again, like [crosstalk 00:08:33].
Kevin: But that's because it's Christmas adjacent. Going back to your argument that they could have went into the tower and had the heist in the middle of July, Kevin could have broken up glasses from the kitchen and spread them by the window instead of using ornaments if he got left at home in the middle of the summer.
Matt: Yeah but now you're talking about the intention of the bad guy in the heist being critical to Christmas, versus what the story actually was with Home Alone. You know what I mean?
Kevin: No, I disagree with you.
Matt: Really quick note on Die Hard, which I found was extremely funny and a bit off track, but there's absolutely no way this movie gets made anymore because within the first 15 minutes I observed the following thing, is John McClane had a gun on the plane, which was fantastic to see. He's smoking a dart in the airport right away. There's a comment from a pregnant woman about drinking and everyone's like, "Yeah, go for it." There's some borderline homophobia when a other guy comes up and kisses John McClane and then there's a part where I think John McClane specifically says, "I didn't know they celebrated Christmas in Japan," and I was just like, "I don't even know how this movie gets made anymore."
Kevin: Right and all those wonderful Christmas elements that all tie together to be the Christmas movie.
Matt: I don't think any of them tied together anything to do with Christmas though.
Kevin: Now I think there's a lot of Christmas elements all the way through the movie, all the way through, all the way to the end and then also on top of all this, the writer of Die Hard, Steven de Souza actually came on record saying that Die Hard is absolutely a Christmas movie and he's the person who wrote it.
Matt: When did he say that?
Kevin: He wrote it on Twitter, I can send you the link.
Matt: Was this recently?
Kevin: Yep.
Matt: Was this like 20 or 30 years after the movie probably wouldn't have been relevant anymore, so he's trying to keep pushing relevancy and making sure people are watching every year and getting kickbacks?
Kevin: I don't believe for a second that Die Hard has really fallen out of favor and then rose back up again. Die Hard's a movie that everybody that I've talked to is familiar with.
Matt: Everyone you talked to?
Kevin: Everyone I ask about Die Hard.
Matt: You know what? I know so many of the most important people and they all know Die Hard.
Kevin: All the people I know, all of the people I know.
Matt: All the people I know love Die Hard.
Kevin: Die Hard. No, to say Die Hard needed a resurgence in popularity is absurd.
Matt: I don't know, man. What I kept thinking throughout the entire movie also was if you're calling Die Hard a Christmas movie, you're now looking at any movie based around December being a Christmas movie.
Kevin: So give me an example.
Matt: I can't think of any, but I'm just saying, any movie that's Christmassy ... Sorry, Christmassy, any movies that are in the winter, it's more a seasonal. Like if Game Of Thrones had an episode that was around Christmas or snow, would you say it's a Christmas movie? No.
Kevin: If Game Of Thrones had an episode where there was a Christmas tree up and somebody acknowledged that it was Christmas time and I was referring to that episode to somebody else, I'd be like, "You know, the Game Of Thrones Christmas episode?"
Matt: Yeah, that's a bad example because of the episode, you're right. But in general, what I'm saying with an entire movie, is it a Christmas movie because it happens around the holiday or over December? I don't think so. I think it has to have more elements of family.
Kevin: Oh, but there's a huge element of family in Die Hard. He's going to-
Matt: It's a plot point, it's a plot point to emphasize the suspense.
Kevin: He's going to LA to reconnect with his wife and to go see his kids. His kids are featured in the movie a number of times, right?
Matt: They're in one scene.
Kevin: And they're referenced in multiple times and he's there to reconnect with his family. It's a family story.
Matt: Yeah and I just don't think it actually has anything to do with Christmas. You can remove it from Christmas and the movie still will continue on.
Kevin: Same with Home Alone, same with It's A Wonderful Life. You know what? I think we kind of hit a bit of a stalemate with this one here, Matt, and what I'm going to recommend is that we leave this up to our audience to weigh in on. So when we start pushing this out on all our social channels, help us break this deadlock that Matt and I have between us and you let us know, is Die Hard actually a Christmas movie, yes or no? So let us know when you see this and we'll move on from here because I'm getting nowhere with Matt, just like his customers. No, I kid, I kid.
Matt: Ego-ness and stubbornness have taken over this conversation at this point.
Kevin: All good, all good. So let's get into the actual marketing side of this conversation and what we thought we'd talk about with it being towards the end of the year ... So this is a Christmas adjacent podcast for everyone who's listening out there and what we want to talk about is, Matt if you could only do one thing on marketing, digital marketing, traditional marketing, whatever you want to talk about. If you could only do one thing in 2020 to build your business or recommend to a customer to build theirs, what would it be?
Matt: I think I will continue to fall back on SEO. It's tried and true and regardless of what you read out there and people telling you it's changing all the time, there's still a handful of fundamental things that you can do to rank your website that will work. Like you hear from everyone though, it will take time, maybe not as much time as some people tell you based on your industry and competition and all that kind of stuff, but SEO is still the thing that's going to provide the most amount of value for you long-term also. Generally speaking, getting found on Google, so that organic traffic, usually is going to be your biggest driver of traffic on a website. So utilize your resources there, whether they're big or small, you can do something with SEO and if that's the one thing you focused on the beginning of the year, or all year in general, it will pay dividends in the end.
Matt: All the other platforms, they're changing and I would say much more drastically than SEO and there will be a lot of people that will argue me and debate me and contradict what I'm saying about SEO. It's just where I come at things from like the buzzword-free, common sense side of things, SEO is literally not as complicated as everyone's says and that's based on a number of years of experience and knowledge to get me to that point but there are still, like I said, a few fundamental things that you can do to rank a website that will pay huge dividends for you in the end of 2020.
Kevin: So, follow-up question to you on that. SEO is such a broad topic, right? And it could incorporate a lot of different marketing tactics. You could say content marketing has a big impact on SEO and things like that. So what specifically would you recommend from an SEO perspective?
Matt: Oh that's hard, but you're right, when I say SEO, it's an umbrella term for content and link building, essentially. So making sure you've got your existing content in order, with high searched keywords related to your industry and then looking for what other gaps or opportunities are out there that don't fit your existing website. So what new pages do you need? Are they service pages, location pages, or blogs for instance? Or we can get a lot more into this in another conversation, but link building, which is basically going to be building authority to your website so Google sees you as someone to rank on a page, for instance. So I don't know what would be the best thing to narrow it down because it's all under SEO, but just in general, focusing on your existing pages, finding new opportunities and making sure you're building that authority with Google.
Kevin: Nice. Nice, well said.
Matt: I thought so.
Kevin: I think on my ... What's that, sorry?
Matt: I thought so, that's why I said it.
Kevin: Yeah, well put together. I noticed you reading from your notes quite a bit there too, so that's good, I'm glad.
Matt: I was reading your blog.
Kevin: Yeah, thank you. So from my perspective it's a tough one. I would say that if I could only do one thing, it would be continuing to focus on content development. I think with the changes that we're seeing on search algorithms, everything from RankBrain, to BERT and everything like that, I think there's a bigger emphasis on quality content that tackles your subject matter from a variety of different angles. So, writing more intelligent, more in-depth, not just surface level SEO blog posts, but stuff that actually sets you apart as a true leader in the industry, is where I would want to spend more of my time. It's not good enough just to get those people on your site. That's important and I agree with Matt on the SEO stuff, but if you're not giving them any new insights, or tips, or help, or ways to address their problem, then the next person down the street is going to be and you're going to lose out on those opportunities.
Matt: For sure and that content will live on your site forever. So people are going to find you for it tomorrow, a month from now and a year from now and the thing with content, people put all the effort into writing it, you can do more with piece of content than just throw it up on your blog or whatever. You can push it out on social a whole number of times so you're getting more traffic there. Then you can take that blog and do other things with it, like make a graphic with it, make a video with it. All these different ways that people are interacting with content. Don't think that you have to spend all this time or energy to writing one blog and that it's done forever. There's great things that you can pull from it and continue to build on that one piece of content.
Kevin: I agree with you and that's something ... What you said right off the top there was super important. A lot of times people look at blog articles that ... Whether we write it, they write it, whoever and they think, "Okay, well we did four blogs this month," or whatever the number was, " ... and that's it and now those blogs are [inaudible 00:19:39] mine," but that's not the case. You'll find as you track stuff, that blogs you wrote four or five years ago, are still bringing in high volume of traffic because like you said Matt, it's evergreen content. It lives there forever and it is going to continue to help you out.
Kevin: So last question before we break up this wonderful session. So we've talked about if you could only do one thing, what would it be? Now, what emerging trend do you think is going to be big in 2020 for marketers?
Matt: Ooh, give me a moment to think about that.
Kevin: Okay. So for me, I think what you're going to see is a lot more personalization in content, in websites, even down to video. I know there's a lot of companies out there now who are doing these kind of choose your own adventure video stories. Kind of like how that Black Mirror movie on Netflix was, but hopefully better done. But I think you're going to see more websites that dynamically adjust and change to you as the individual when you land there, as opposed to being the same experience for everybody. That's my thoughts, [crosstalk 00:20:58].
Matt: So you're talking about digital marketing industry or marketing businesses? Or just in general?
Kevin: Just in general.
Matt: Yeah. Something I'd probably been thinking a lot about this year and maybe this is because this is my first year in it on my own, but wondering and feeling like freelancers on their own are going to be the way that this digital marketing industry is heading in the next number of years, where we're not seeing large agencies with 80 to 50 people. You're going to be working with one person that you trust and might be the curator of other freelancers and they'll going to be bringing in their own small team to work on their specialties, almost like collectives in a way. I just think gone are the days of big agencies and huge overhead and just not getting what they want from engagements, being a small business owners and business owners and marketing reps in general. I just think that's going to be more and more the trend.
Matt: I saw a stat recently that was basically a lot ... I'm paraphrasing big time, it was close to like 40 something percent of marketers work freelance already and that's going to keep growing and growing and I think we're going to see a lot more of that in the next couple of years and and seeing this shift and all that kind of stuff, which probably aligns itself with what you just described and we're seeing more personalization and making sure brands are branding themselves in a very personal way. I think that will be a stress for everyone, or a point of emphasis for marketers and businesses, like you said.
Kevin: Awesome. I love it. So any other final thoughts before we wrap today up, Matt?
Matt: No, I'm good. I'm trying to think of something funny. I'm out, though.
Kevin: You're out, hey? All right. Well I appreciate your time again here, Matt. Anyone who wants to check out Matt's website, it's ... You do your thing, Matt.
Matt: mattygdigital.com
Kevin: Excellent and if you want to check out my website, it's thinkfuel.ca and again, we appreciate everybody who's following us along and listening to our podcasts. Feel free to reach out with any thoughts or suggestions you have for future episodes and wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, as Matt says. So thanks again and everyone have a great day.
Matt: Feliz Navidad.
About Author
Kevin D'Arcy

As our Chief Marketing Enthusiast, Kevin strives to provide clarity, honesty, and unique insights into every one of our engagements. Kevin helps companies improve their lead generation, enhance customer acquisition, and increase revenue. With over 18 years of inbound and content marketing experience with B2B technology companies, Kevin brings a straightforward approach to marketing with results that can be measured. He also has the most adorable hound dog that frequently comes to work with him.