The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Some people responded by turning their favorite movies upside down by recreating them in their backyards, bathrooms and garages.
‘Sweding’ involves recreating famous scenes from popular movies in homegrown sets with everyday objects as props and maybe your neighbor or your kid as the “star”. Cheeky, low-cost remakes sprouted in 2008, but gained momentum during the pandemic as restless people locked up at home looked for a creative outlet by turning Hollywood classics into DIY entertainment.
Sweded movies run the gamut from Jurassic Park, Jaws and Star Wars to The Wizard of Oz, Forrest Gump and Back to the Future with Die Hard and Kill Bill thrown into the mix. And these aren’t just for driveway debuts.
Productions are featured on a website, feted at a film festival and reviewed by movie critics.
The remakes go for authenticity with a certain impish imitation – a plastic swimming pool shark substitutes for a metal mechanical shark; a $9 remote control model car replaces the vintage Ferrari in the knock-off of Ferris Buehler’s Day Off. Ingenuity and hutzpah are directorial musts.
Watching these home-made attractions is a source of pleasure. It’s hard not to smile at many of the scenes, while admiring the energy and creativity it took to produce them without location scouts, professional cameras, picture-perfect lighting and star actors.
An unspoken theme of these DIY masterpieces is that lighthearted entertainment can be charming – and that it doesn’t take a huge pot of money to be entertaining. As the name of the sweded film festival puts it, “Zero-budget, homemade, zany, creative, weird, hilarious remakes of your favorite films…the only festival of classic movies, re-made by amateurs who replace A-list stars and CGI with whatever is laying around their houses and a ton of creativity. It’s odd, unexpected and a whole lot of fun.”
Injecting entertainment into a marketing campaign is like an olive in a martini. It adds color, enhances the taste and makes it a better drink. There is something very positive about having your would-be customer smile while ingesting your message.
Too often, marketers shy away from video because of cost and complexity. Both can be overcome with imagination. Remaking a movie classic scene isn’t necessary. Studying the thought process of sweding can be instructive.
Zero-budget, homemade, zany, creative, weird, hilarious remakes of your favorite films by amateurs who replace A-list stars and CGI with whatever is laying around their houses and a ton of creativity.
Directors of sweded productions start by clearly identifying their storytelling objective, creating a storyboard and then conducting an inventory of resources they need, while taking into consideration what they can find and afford. They bring an “I can do this” attitude to the project.
Sweded movie producers only need to satisfy themselves, whereas marketers must find ways to connect with their target audiences. That’s where the intersection of sweded and marketing productions exists. Sweded movies are intended to attract attention and draw a smile. That’s close to the mission of marketing ads and videos, which seek to capture eyeballs – and untie purse strings.
Sweding requires more than an adorable puppy film clip. So does entertaining marketing content. Subaru’s dog-family ad series is an example of how to fuse cute with effective. The value of cute puppy clips is to evaluate what makes them so appealing to so many people – and follow the puppy paw clues to you own adorable space.
Animation is a technique that allows cute to merge with messaging. Charmin’s bears and Fred Meyer’s cartoon characters tell stories about toilet paper and fresh produce in ways that actual humans couldn’t. High-quality animation can be expensive, but animation doesn’t have to be budget-busting. The key to animation is to use it when it tells a story, not because you think it’s cool.
Most of the sweded film producers don’t have Hollywood credentials. But like their professional counterparts, these amateurs wanted to make a statement. That’s the motivation marketers should borrow from sweded film producers and not let obstacles like budget or lack of imagination stand in the way.