You Not Expendable…

stallone_mumblesWho says Rambo offers nothing more than some ripped deltoids and a glistening chest bathed in baby oil?  Who says Rambo, the American military anti-hero of the 1980’s and beyond, offers nothing of importance — or remotely educational?  Who ever said he would never give us anything good for branding fodder?

Okay, probably a lot of us…  But, I was watching “Rambo: First Blood Part II” this afternoon and a powerful, yet understated scene caught my branding eye.

It was meant to build some romantic foreshadowing, but in an (almost) unexpected tender moment, I watched as über-stud, Rambo, explained to Co Bao (Julia Nickson) how he found himself heading into yet another predictable mêlée.

Rambo: “…to survive a war, you need to become war.”
Co Bao: “Is that why they pick you? ‘Cause you like to fight?”
Rambo: {mutter} “mwaauhhm…  I’m ‘EXPENDABLE.”
Co Bao: “Expendable.  What mean ‘expendable?'”

And then, the most powerful analogy I’ve ever heard rolled eloquently from Sylvester Stallone’s twisted, razor-thin lips…

Rambo: “It’s like…  someone invites you to a party and you don’t show up…” {Wait for it} “… it doesn’t really matter.”

Of course, the movie goes on and Rambo proves that he’s in no way, shape or form (so-to-speak) expendable.

(VIDEO—Feed readers and Facebookers, click here to see the video snippet…)

If anything, through great character development by David Morrell, Kevin Jarre, Stallone and some unknown by the name of James Cameron; Rambo epitomizes the TRUE Brand criteria that I so often talk about.

Rambo’s TRUE Brand:

Truth/Transparency: He is a patriot.  That’s all.  He knows only black and white truth and honesty.
Relevant: The writers made sure that Rambo’s relevance was central to all (four) in the series.  In Rambo II, it was Vietnam POW’s that, in 1985, were STILL struggling to be heard and recognized for the terror and hell they had and were still going through.
Unique: C’mon, man.  How much more unique can you get.  Rambo was the first live-action G.I. Joe with a 1980’s, Reagan-era “We’ll kick-your-ass-now-and-ask-questions-later” attitude.
Engaging: Budget… $44 million…  Earning: $300 million (And THAT’s just part 2!) If Rambo didn’t engage his audience, his critics, his enemies, I don’t think Sly would be considering doing Parts 5 and 6

Expendable…  Not-so-much.

How does your brand stand up to Rambo’s “Expendable” brand?  If someone invited you to a party and you didn’t show… would it matter?

Food for thought.  Or as Rambo would say… “Whouul-ih-murur?”

Keep Cooking & Happy New Year!
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef

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