In an age where top Hollywood stars are readily available on streaming services, it is interesting to see one such star choose traditional methods to promote his latest movie. “Traditional methods” every entrepreneur can use for their own brands and businesses.
At 59 years old, Tom Cruise shows what it’s like to marry branding, buzz, and creativity into a masterful roll-out (that’s breaking records) and every entrepreneur needs to pay attention to.
Tom Cruise’s “No” to streaming recommendations during the pandemic (and multiple postponements since 2020) and the subsequent $150 million opening weekend for Top Gun: Maverick shows that a little bit of patience can go a long way when it comes to branding and public relations. (The film is currently on track to break multiple records including Tom Cruise’s top-grossing movie debut [by almost 3X] and the highest ever Memorial Day weekend box office.)
Breaking Records, Blowing Minds, and Rising Above The Noise
This weekend’s box office is set up to break records when actors Tom’s age won’t put in the time, hustle, and tirelessness that have become Tom’s trademark.
The primary inspiration for the original Top Gun film was an article entitled “Top Guns” by Ehud Yonay from a May 1983 issue of California magazine which featured impressive aerial photography.
Tom Cruise was a mere twenty-four years old when the original Top Gun came out in 1986. Now at fifty-nine, he shows no signs of slowing down or aging reprising his role unlike any other living actor:
- He does his own stunts
- His work ethic is legendary
- His energy is contagious
- His standards uncompromising
But most impressive is his “PR machine” to create a buzz, unlike any other living actor.
Navigating Your Brand in Cruise Control: What Every Business Needs to Know
What’s most impressive to me (and most useful to any entrepreneur, CEO, and innovator in business) is Tom’s skill, judgment, and sheer hustle when it comes to building momentum for his film debuts.
Case in point:
- The Top Gun trailers have been exceptional.
- The featurettes have given insight into the rigorous training every actor went through.
- And there was even the awesome personal touch, right before the movie, where Tom Cruise delivers a personal message.
- And a tweet from Tom, “36 years after the first film, #TopGun: Maverick is finally here. We made it for the big screen. And we made it for you, the fans. I hope you enjoy the ride this weekend.”
But Tom didn’t stop there.
PR on Steroids: “You’re an actor. Not a pilot!”
Tom took late-night host James Corden to Top Gun training school and on three different airplanes in a hysterical LMAO 14:58 minute episode that has so garnered over 11.2 million views on YouTube.
This is pure PR and branding gold.
It’s the ultimate love child of “Danger Zone” and “Great Balls Of Fire” wrapped in fourteen-and-a-half minutes of “bromantic” hilarity.
What Tom displays — not only in this collaboration with Corden but in the build-up of Top Gun (including the adamant decision to refuse to stream the film as so many movies had done during the pandemic) — is precisely how you include your audience to make what you do in the world absolutely contagious.
Tom’s obviously having a good time, partnering with people who amplify his objectives, and he’s having fun while doing it.
Add to this the choice for Lady Gaga to perform “Hold My Hand” in a glorious 3.5-minute song that has to date gotten over 20.5 million views also shows incredible judgment in this masterful rollout.
The Top Gun Tom Cruise Lessons Relevant to Every Brand:
- Be bold.
- Be professional.
- Break records by exceeding expectations.
- Never compromise, and above all,
- Don’t think. Just do. (If you haven’t seen the film, this last one makes no sense until you do.)