Are you a fan of House Of Cards? If not you should get a free trial of Netflix today and watch the past 2 seasons as the third season was just released this past weekend. This is one of the best written shows ever created. There are themes of Power and Seduction. Two concepts any brand would love to have with their audience.
If you are not a current fan of the show here is a little background and “Spoiler Alert” Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is a Congressman who helped use his influence to get the President elected in return he was supposed to be appointed as Secretary of State but was snubbed. He then does everything in his power to move himself to the top in a long, elaborate, suspenseful plot to get his seat in the Oval Office.
As I was re-watching the last few episodes of season 2 gearing up for season 3 I was just floored by the raw honesty and imagery presented on screen and I thought what brands could take advantage of doing something similar. Below is an excerpt from the season 2 finale where at this point Frank is on the outs with the President who will not even take his calls and Frank will have one of two results Jail or continuing his quest of Ascending to the Oval. When Frank’s wife Claire (who also has done unimaginable things to get them where they are… sidebar…I do not condone business practices like the Underwoods have participated in) says “Trying’s not enough, Francis,” she says. “I’ve done what I had to do. Now you do what you have to do. Seduce him. Give him your heart. Cut it out and put it in his fucking hands.” The imagery of this line really stuck with me…. when was the last time you can think when a company or a brand cut out their heart and put it in your hands? This is the equivalent of pulling back the curtain, showing complete transparency, telling you their “real” story not the one fabricated in their so called mission statement, that is filled with empty lies and buzz words.
This line compelled Frank to write the following letter:
Dear Mr. President,
I’m writing you on an Underwood Portable my father gave me when I left for the Sentinel. It was the words my father said when he gave it to me that have resonated even more than this 70 year old machine. ‘This Underwood built an empire,’ he said, ‘now you go and build one of your own.’ Those words have been a large part of what has motivated my life. I’ve only written one other letter with these keys. It did not fail me then… I hope it will not fail me now.
You said I wanted to diminish you. The truth is I don’t. You said I wanted to challenge you in 2016. The truth is I don’t. You said I wanted the presidency for myself… The truth is, I do.
What politician hasn’t dreamed of what it would be like to take the oath of the highest office of our land? I’ve stared at your desk in the Oval and coveted it. The power, the prestige; those things have a strong pull on someone like me – who came from a small South Carolina town, with nothing.
But since you assumed office my only aim has been to fight, for you and alongside you. Whether that be in congress or as now, the battle over impeachment.
Maybe one day I’ll have my chance to serve as President, but not while you are the nation’s leader. And in you sir I see a brave man, a just man, a President whom I would follow anywhere no matter how strong the wind blows against us.
I want to tell you something I have never told anyone. When I was 13 I walked in on my father in the barn. There was a shotgun in his mouth. He waved me over, ‘come here, Francis,’ he said, ‘pull the trigger for me.’ Because he didn’t have the courage to do it himself. I said ‘no, pap’ and walked out, knowing he would never find that courage.
The next 7 years were hell for my father but even more hell for my mother and me. He made all of us miserable; drinking, despair, violence… My only regret in life is that I didn’t pull that trigger. He would’ve been better off in the grave and we would have been better off without him.
I’m not going to put you in the same position as my father put me in. You will find enclosed on a separate sheet, a confession to the crimes you have been accused of. They’re false words, but my signature will make them true. Use them if you must.
If you truly believe that I have only served myself, then I have forever lost your trust. All I can do now is give you my freedom to save your own. I said I would take the fall for you, and now I give you the means to make that happen. I am pulling the trigger myself.
We all must make sacrifices to achieve our dreams, but sometimes we must sacrifice ourselves for the greater good. It is my honor to make such a sacrifice now.
Your loyal friend, Still in my heart, if not in yours…
This letter (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) compels the president to resign where Frank At this time being Vice President now takes the most coveted office in the world President of the United States. So the lesson I want to point to is does your story persuade? Does your story cut your heart out and offer it to your clients? Does your story compel your customers to take action? Does your story reach your audience on an emotional level?