Monday, May 30, 2011

The Pixar Animation: Cars and the financial lessons

Cars is packed with famous voices: Owen Wilson, Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear fame), Michael Schumacher (Formula One racing fame) and even Jay Leno, the talkshow guy.

People don't normally watch movies or films to analyse the financial lessons or ramifications inherent in the movie. But Cars, the Pixar animation has a crazy amount of financial implications built into the movie.

If you haven't watched the movie before, you should. It's like any other Pixar animation; great storyline, plenty of humour and a little bit of romance. I know it's an old movie(2006) but I was re-watching it with my friend who had never watched the movie before.

What financial lessons?

Lightning McQueen, the hero of the movie was a self absorbed, highly talented race car and very motivated to win at all costs. Towards the end of the movie, you see his transformation as he learns to value friendship and oddly enough, bring business success to the previously dead-end town-Radiator Springs.

He learns a few things along his journey to enlightenment:
  • The importance of having a team and pit crew to support you- just like our life, we need family, friends, great tax accountant, great solicitor/lawyer, possibly a financial planner, great property manager to handle the rentals, reliable electrician/plumber and general fix-it-type of handyman
  • Endorsement is the way to financial success in his industry- Lighting McQueen is the celebrity endorsement for the run down town and he brings it to life with his fame, charisma and success on the tracks. The fashion/perfume/accessories industry survives on celebrity endorsements through icons such as Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss, Beyonce, Sarah Jessica Parker and Blake Lively to name a few
  • Word of mouth advertising- When he advises Michael Schumacher of Ferrari fame to visit Luigi's tyre shop business. If you provide a great service or have a great product, word-of-mouth advertising is free and will result in business expansion
  • You can't attract business if your premises are shabby and in disrepairs - Lightning McQueen paves the damaged roads to perfection, causing the local business owners to fix up their own shabby establishments to match the perfection of the road so that they can draw customers
  • Businesses need to change and evolve with the times- The Radiator Springs town was slowly disintegrating and dying from lack of business due to the freeway that was built to bypass the town. Whilst Lightning did bring fame and success to Radiator Springs by establishing his headquarters there, I don't see why Radiator Springs didn't bring their business TO and ALONG the freeway instead. If customers are too lazy to visit your town, bring the business to the customers by relocating. That was section that was flawed imo
  • Learning from mentors and respecting your elders- He learns from his mentor Doc Hudson, a previous winner of three Piston Cups. He was previously scornful of Doc Hudson until he realised that Doc Hudson wasn't just old, he was old, experienced and was highly successful in his racing field back in the days.
For a animation film, it's surprisingly loaded with adult themes.

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