Confuse Us, Lose Us

The new GI Joe movie is coming out and I’m not going to see it. Even though I’ve seen the previews, I can’t tell you what it’s about. This is because, I’m still trying to figure out why it’s called GI Joe.

The producers of the movie broke one of the golden rules of selling. They confused the sale. The new GI Joe is nothing like the GI Joe I remember. The GI Joe I remember was a hard, man’s man, army dude. He was the working guys hero. He wore camouflage, had a full beard, nappy hair and had a Kung-Fu grip. GI Joe was a bad ass! When I was a kid, he was my favorite doll next to Evil Knievel. I had this helicopter. It was awesome.

The new GI Joe is just confusing. He’s blonde, wears space suits, uses technological gadgets and has a crew with him. I don’t get it. This isn’t any GI Joe I remember. Where is the nappy headed GI Joe, I was convinced was black, with the Kung-Fu grip?

Bringing back old characters from generations past is cool. But not when you only bring back the name. Don’t confuse the sale. Remakes work because they capitalize on nostalgia. They tap dormant emotional connections. They find that place in our memory and our hearts we forgot existed. They bring our childhood back. And when done right we reward the studios for their efforts. Ironman, Superman with Christopher Reeves, StarTrek (all of them), are a few that stayed true and brought us back.

If you’re going to remake a movie, or bring an old character back to life, remember why they captured our hearts the first time and bring that back. It’s not the name that captured us, it’s who they were, it’s what they stood for, and it’s what the meant to us. Anything short of that is a cheap imitation. And just like back then if it wasn’t the real thing we didn’t want it.

No matter what your selling, confusing the sale only makes it harder as the buyer can’t understand what their going to get. And if they don’t know what their getting, they ain’t buying.