Movie Watching: Chef and the Use of Social Media

Chef Movie Jon Favreau

I just finished watching Chef – a feel good movie about a chef who loses his restaurant and bounces back by starting up a food truck.  As with every good movie, there is a journey and chef Carl’s takes him from Miami back home to Los Angeles. Along the way, he finds his passion again, regains his dignity and reunites with his family.

But why am I writing about it here?  Well, in the movie, chef Carl has a very public breakdown after being called out by a food critic.  The breakdown is captured by nearby by-standers and made worse by going viral on the Internet. When he attempts to respond on Twitter (without understanding fully how Twitter works, I might add) he accidentally starts a (very public) war with the food critic that results in him losing his job at the restaurant.  The marketing nerd in me was very amused by how Twitter was incorporated into the movie.  Later, he has an opportunity to take over a food truck in Miami, thus beginning his ‘journey of self-awareness’.  His 10 year old, tech-savvy, marketing genius of a son, Percy decides to join in on the road trip, along with Carl’s sous chef/good friend, Martin.  They re-invent themselves and El Jefe, the Cuban food sensation / food truck was born. Throughout the road trip, which takes them from Miami to New Orleans to Austin and finally home to Los Angeles, Percy tweets, vines, and uses a Facebook page to promote the food truck and saves his dad’s bruised reputation.  The marketing nerd in me loved the idea.  Percy was an absolute little marketing genius! He posted real moments captured on the trip and allowed the public to get to know the chef – offering the real human side that people didn’t know before he had his breakdown.  He tweeted live updates to let the crowds know where they were and what they were doing.  He made Vine videos to capture the moments and in the end, compiled an edited video of 1 second clips captured throughout the trip.  What amazing content to do marketing with!  Throughout the movie, I was reminded of how important it is to be real with your customers.  After all, as Seth Godin says “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Consumers now a days are so used to advertising and so skeptical to marketing ‘lies’ and half truths. Even when they are not lies, consumers just assume the worst. That is why it’s so important to find other ways to speak to your customers – such as using testimonials or showing results.  But what’s also interesting for consumers too is understanding the ‘why’ behind why you do what you do, sell what you sell, etc. Letting them know your vulnerabilities, your passions makes your brand more relatable, more human even and therefore more trust-worthy.

Anyway, it was a fun movie to watch. A bit long at times but with Sofia Vergara playing Carl’s ex-wife, John Leguizamo as the trusty side kick / sous chef and Jon Favreau as the chef you can’t help but root for, it definitely was a light-hearted, fun watch.  Plus, as I was looking up the links for this movie, I found out that Jon Favreau actually trained with real life chef Roy Choi to prepare for this role.  The duo even brought El Jefe to life and served the truck’s signature ‘Cubano’ sandwiches in LA! There were even plans to open up an El Jefe restaurant too – the ultimate marketing move for cross promotion!

Here’s a chef Carl getting a lesson on Twitter from his son, Percy:

 

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