Marketing is a fascinating field.

And there are so many resources out there to learn the trade- from immersive conversational podcasts to more formal certified courses on YouTube, Udemy, and so on.

Sure, you could also dive into textbooks, or attend seminars on the subject, but nothing beats the luxury & pleasure of learning something through a good ol’ movie.

Yes, that’s right, binging these films & educational documentaries will make you a more creative & business-oriented marketer!

So without further ado, here’s our monster list of great shows & stories that every professional in our industry should watch at least once.

If you don’t have the official accounts to stream them on OTT platforms, you may find the free torrents on PirateBay, Torlock, or Kickass Torrents (use Privado VPN to access these sites if you’re in a banned country, and use µTorrent to download the files).

Nuke your popcorn, put on your pajamas, and get ready for a long weekend of back-to-back comfort watching from your couch.

The Social Dilemma

By Jeff Orlowski (2020)

The Social Dilemma is an American docudrama film written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis.

Going behind the scenes of major social media platforms, it explores how their interface design nurtures addiction to maximize profit.

It also explores how many platforms manipulate people’s views, emotions, and behavior, and spread conspiracy theories and disinformation.

It’s a jarring take on the dark side of social media, and its effect on mental health, in particular the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates.

Every digital marketer should watch it to understand the pressing ethical issues concerning our industry.

Watch it on Netflix.


The Mind, Explained

By Vox (2019)

Psychology & marketing are inexplicably linked together.

Understanding how our mind functions is an important skill for marketers, and this docuseries provides great practical insights on that topic.

It’s produced by Vox Media and narrated by the charismatic duo consisting of Emma Stone & Julianne Moore.

Watch it on Netflix.


TVF Pitchers

By Arunabh Kumar (2015)

Marketing is an entrepreneurial profession- you need to take ownership of your projects from the get-go, often creating something from scratch.

In this regard, TVF Pitchers is a great show to teach you how to bootstrap any creative project or business venture.

Four friends Naveen Bansal (Naveen), Jitendra Maheshwari (Jitu), Yogendra Kumar (Yogi), and Saurabh Mandal (Mandal), decide to enter the start-up world by launching their own start-up.

Things are kicked off by Naveen who, angry at not being given his due at work, resigns in a drunk state. At the same time, he receives news of his B-Plan reaching the final round of the NASSCOM start-up conclave.

This begins a series of situations in which the four friends rediscover what they really want in life and the challenges they face in getting their start-up idea off the ground.

Watch it on TVFPlay.


Social Network

By David Fincher (2010)

Facebook is currently the most populated social media platform in the world, sitting at 3 billion users worldwide.

This film explores its backstory. Mark Zuckerberg creates a social networking site, Facebook, with his friend Eduardo’s help. Though it turns out to be a successful venture, he severs ties with several people along the way.

It’s a story about sacrifice, betrayal, and the crazy pursuit of creative greatness.

Watch it on Netflix.


The Founder

By John Lee Hancock (2016)

McDonald’s is another worldwide famous brand that everybody knows & interacts with almost on a daily basis.

This film delves into its founder’s backstory, exploring the hardships & trials he faced while setting up the business empire we know today.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.


Jiro Dreams of Sushi

By David Gelb (2012)

Japanese sushi chef Jiro Ono’s 10-seat restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station attracts visitors from around the globe.

Find out how he built his famous brand from scratch using simple marketing techniques & a great customer service ideology.

Watch it on Netflix (available in select countries).


The September Issue

By R. J. Cutler (2009)

This documentary follows Anna Wintour, the renowned editor of `Vogue’, as she prepares the September 2007 issue. Weighing in at a record 840 pages, it is also the fashion magazine’s most important issue, heralding the autumn fashions.

With her trademark bob and omnipresent dark glasses, Wintour comes over as a woman who is a success because she knows exactly what the reader wants, as she supervises each page.

This documentary is a chilling reminder of the perseverance, aggressive leadership, and cold thinking it takes to scale a brand from nothing & take it to the top.

It is believed that the famous movie “The Devil Wears Prada” is loosely based on this storyline & its main character.

Rent it on Amazon Prime Video.


Art & Copy

By Doug Pray (2009)

This documentary is about the advertising industry in the United States of America.

The film follows the careers of advertisers, including Hal Riney, George Lois, Mary Wells Lawrence, Dan Wieden, and Lee Clow.

It covers legendary advertising campaigns such as “Just Do It”, “I Love New York”, “Where’s the Beef?”, “I Want My MTV”, “Got Milk?”, and “Think Different”.

It premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in the US Documentary Competition.

Get inspired by the originals by watching it on Documentary Mania.


Boiler Room

By Ben Younger (2000)

This fast-paced film touches upon some famous high-pressure sales tactics.

A college dropout gets a job as a broker for an investment firm, which puts him on the fast track to success. However, success clouds his judgment, drawing him into a world of corruption and greed.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.


Our Brand in Crisis

By David Gordon Green (2015)

This is a thrilling watch for those who are into Public Relations & ORM (Online Reputation Management).

It follows Jane Bodine, a political consultant, who is tasked with managing Pedro Castillo’s campaign. She faces her biggest challenge in the form of Pat Candy, the consultant of her opposition.

Watch it on Netflix.


The Joneses

By Derrick Borte (2010)

This is a satire on influencer marketing & the inauthenticity of social media.

Kate, Steve, and their kids move to an upper-class neighborhood and soon become the talk of the town for their trendy lifestyle. But the neighbors are unaware of the truth about this perfect family.

It can get a bit cheesy at some points, but I feel that’s worth it for the laughs.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.


Something Ventured

By Dan Geller & Dayna Goldfine (2011)

Apple. Intel. Genentech. Atari. Google. Cisco.

Stratospheric successes with high stakes all around. Behind some of the world’s most revolutionary companies are a handful of men who (through timing, foresight, a keen ability to size up other people, and a lot of luck) saw opportunities where others did not: these are the original venture capitalists.

All were backing and building companies before the term ‘venture capital’ had been coined: companies that led to the birth of biotechnology and the spectacular growth in microprocessors, personal computers, and the web.

This documentary about modern capitalism & brand building uncovers the ups and downs of the building of some of the greatest companies of the twentieth century and the hidden dramas behind some of the most famous names in the business.

It’s useful for understanding how brand investing & equity work in the business world.

Watch it on WatchDocumentaries (for free) or AppleTV.


Jobs

By Joshua Michael Stern (2013)

Apple has been the most valuable brand in the world for quite some time now, and all the credit goes to its original founder, Steve Jobs.

This film explores his life from start to end. After revolutionizing the home computers, Steve Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak co-found Apple Inc. But as a leader and a visionary, Jobs’s style of functioning creates several problems for him.

Watch it on Netflix.

Wolf of Wall Street

By Martin Scorsese (2013)

Introduced to life in the fast lane through stockbroking, Jordan Belfort takes a hit after a Wall Street crash. He teams up with Donnie Azoff, cheating his way to the top as his relationships slide.

This is a riveting tale of entrepreneurship, sales, stock markets, and everything in between.

Although provocative & outrageous in every frame, every marketer should screen it once to understand how to build buzz around your product even when it has nothing special in reality.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.


Thank You For Smoking

By Jason Reitman (2006)

This is a satire on the dualities and ethical dilemmas of being an advertiser of products that aren’t technically “good.”

Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for the cigarette business, struggles to explain the nature of his work to his 12-year-old son while trying to be a role model to him.

Watch it on Disney+ Hotstar.


Abstract: The Art of Design

By Scott Dadich (2017)

This is a lovely pick for designers & UI/UX specialists.

An in-depth look into computer design and modern contemporary design with some of the world’s most highly regarded designers.

Watch it on Netflix.


How to Become a Tyrant

By Peter Dinklage, Waller Newell (2021)

This is a quick-paced, insightful mockumentary series on how you can learn to become a modern tyrant by following the playbooks of great evil men before us.

While not directly about marketing, it delves into the tactics of powerful despots like Adolf Hitler & Stalin, who used psychological tactics to gain control of entire countries.

Marketers can learn a thing or two about how to manipulate & manage crowds.

The best part is that it’s narrated by the engaging voice of Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones fame.

It has 6 episodes, each nearly an hour long.

Watch it on Netflix.


Rocket Singh

By Shimit Amin (2009)

This is one of the best business films to come out of Bollywood.

Harpreet Singh Bedi, a commerce graduate, becomes a salesman. After being ridiculed by his colleagues and his employer, he plans to operate a parallel company but this time without their knowledge.

It has some great lessons on selling, customer service, and entrepreneurship.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.


Honorable Mentions

  • WeCrashed
  • Guru
  • Pirates of Silicon Valley
  • The Great Hack
  • Terms & Conditions May Apply

So that concludes our monster list of must-watch movies for marketing professionals. Have you watched any of them already?

Which ones are your favorite? Did I miss any good picks? Let me know your reviews & suggestions in the comments below.

Happy binging!

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