What Christopher Walken taught me about social media marketing



“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.”

This is indeed a quote from the great Christopher Walken – delivered in the 2004 film ‘Catch Me If You Can.’

This parable has remained with me ever since I first watched the film over 10 years ago. I loved it because it was so simple yet the message was so powerful and salient.

This morning, the quote came back to me, for whatever reason. As I sat down with my coffee and the sporting pages of every major newspaper I just started thinking about it and how apt it is when it comes to running a business and in particular – finding success via social media marketing.

Something that at first can feel like you’re drowning with absolutely no hope of gaining an easy breath of oxygen ever again.

Everything you do is swallowed into the yawning online chasm, every move you make is met with resistance and struggle, every effort disappears without so much as the silent whisper of approval from an invisible fan base.

Choosing to use social media to successfully market your business is indeed a fight. One in which the odds are very heavily stacked against you.

First of all, you need to overcome all manner of fears and other very natural emotional barriers just to get in the ring.

Then you’ve got to, very quickly, realise and be ok with the fact that nobody really gives a shit about what you’re doing – except maybe your mum – maybe.

Once you’ve got yourself well accustomed to that, you’ve got to get to work creating and sharing content – over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Each time fighting for attention amongst a deluge of other content that contains more cats flipping into other cats, sausage dogs in police uniforms and Donald Trump humour than you can ever hope to inject into your content.

Each time trying to convince people to care about your content more than those just a flick of their thumb away.

Picture a brick wall, a thick one. A really big, thick brick wall. Now bash your skull against it every day for 300 days a year. That’s what it can feel like being a business owner using social media as a marketing platform.

Now picture yourself as a tiny little field mouse. A small little grey fluff of shit. Then picture yourself being dropped into a bucket of cream. The only way you’re going to win that fight, literally the only possible way to achieve a positive outcome is to get to work. You’ve got to struggle, wriggle and claw.

You’ve got to create, share, create, share, create, share.

Content creation should never stop, it can’t stop or the cream will never turn to butter and if you’re not a fan of drowning, then you’ve got to be the second mouse.

Simple yet powerful.

Social Media marketing is not a short game, it’s a timeless Test Match in an era in which everyone wants a T20.

It’s about giving yourself the chance to give someone else value, to provide some entertainment or something they can’t see anywhere else.



It’s about understanding yourself and your story while also understanding that combining this with giving value and doing it on repeat for however long you want to keep using social media marketing is going to give you the best chance of success. 

It’s also about understanding what works and what doesn’t while being able to make logical calls in an emotional world.

Then doing that long enough so the people who see it know no one else who can solve the problem you’ve been telling them you solve for 300 days in a row.

The parable just sums things up perfectly. Keep writing those blogs, keep posting the Facebook lives, keep taking those photos. Just keep going.

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