Marketing Lessons from Wall Street Movie

I love the Oliver Stone directed movie Wall Street that stars Michael Douglas with Charlie Sheen and his dad Martin Sheen. It’s rating on IMDb is a 7.3 and I gave it a 9. The acting is so good you fall in love with the characters and forget they are portraying terrible people doing horrible things.

As a digital marketer, there can be a fine line between promoting a product or service because it’s good for the company rather than good for the customer. True joy in life or in marketing comes from helping others. Although Wall Street is a product of Hollywood, the portrayal of illegal insider trading, greed that is unquenchable, and man’s inhumanity to man seems less shocking in today’s calloused world.

Wall Street was released in 1987 before we had the internet and digital marketing was just marketing. Unless you lived it, you wouldn’t believe the sophistication we now enjoy with technology over these decades. One example is the very, very brief scene where the 1985 Market Projections bar chart was shared. I of course had to pause the movie to zoom in on the details which I included in this post.

1985 market projections from wall street movie
1985 Market Projections from Wall Street Movie

This bar chart was obviously not intended to be truly seen, let alone analyzed but let’s do it anyway.

  1. The X or horizontal axis obviously just has placeholder names for these markets, X, XX, and XXX. Each of these three markets has four different measurement but there is no way to know what those are.
  2. The Y or vertical axis ranges from 0 to 350. Best practice would say to show the 0 and to know what is this measurement, likely dollars but should this also be in thousands?
  3. For a movie made in 1987, why would we be seeing 1985 market projections given that projections are about the future.
  4. Whatever this X, XX, and XXX is that has four different bar graphs, it’s possible if we knew what this data was, a line chart would make better sense. I guess this will remain one of Hollywood’s secrets.

Bottom line, if you haven’t seen Wall Street, do it. Also, be a better human. There is enough suffering in the world and your kindness and selflessness could be answer to someone’s prayer.