Published on July 7, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

What Can Frank Capra Tell us About Emotions of Today

In The Marketplace?


Frank Capra


During our generational science research for Grizzly Adams Productions, I came across something that Frank Capra had written about the pre-WWII years. We had discovered on our timeline for how Crisis cycles in history repeat themselves. If we could identify where we were on the timeline, we could predict emotions in advance in the marketplace and plan accordingly.


Here is what Capra wrote:

“All over the world the human spirit was at a low ebb. The fog of anxiety blanketed the globe.  Like an enormous leech that wouldn’t be shaken off, the Great Depression still sucked up our hopes. And there was war in Spain!  Hitler was arming, Stalin was arming, Mussolini was arming.  Free nations shivered, sighed, and tried to wish it all away.

The world was hungry for a lift; hungry for quickening examples of how individuals overcome the dreads of their environment. Such examples could best be dramatized in motion pictures: ‘You can speak to hundreds of millions for two hours, and in the dark.’  That was my needed job: Lift the human spirit.

No, I didn’t choke up again, didn’t worry about my films being hits or misses. I simply asked the Almighty for the wit and courage to do my job well – and left the rest up to Him.” Frank Capra, from Frank Capra, The Name Above the Title, An Autobiography, pg 203


Today, as I was reading I came across an article written by James Rosen titled “Secretary of Stagecraft” about U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. What hit me was the eerie similarity to what Capra had written one crisis cycle ago. Here is what Rosen wrote:


“It was a fitting prelude to the steeper plunge into unreality that awaited us. Germany was the second leg of our 11-day trek to 10 European and Middle Eastern countries, a grueling marathon that marked Kerry’s first overseas trip as America’s top diplomat. As a White House and State Department correspondent for Fox News, I had logged hundreds of thousands of miles on similar trips, accompanying presidents and vice presidents, secretaries of state and defense, over the preceding decade. But this time was different. Never before had the world seemed so in flux and the American economy so hobbled by self-inflicted wounds. This toxic cocktail of weakness at home and upheaval abroad—the Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war, Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, lawlessness in Afghanistan and Pakistan—would make anxiety and frustration our constant traveling companions. As John Kerry and I were to learn together, it’s just not a fun time to be secretary of state.


Frank Capra, with his poignant insights into the emotions of the times said “The world was hungry for a lift; hungry for quickening examples of how individuals overcome the dreads of their environment.” Was that yesterday or today…or both?


Remember those words.






This is more than a great ad, it is heart.


In a crisis, we talk to the heart, not the brain.

This is so good I had to devote a few lines to it.


As reported in AdAge today, July 2, 2013in this article: Chevy Plucks Heartstrings With Silverado Marketing Blitz


Silverado Strong Commercial Chevrolet



“It’s not quite ‘Like a rock,’ but Chevrolet is bringing back similar emotional imagery in an evocative new campaign for its Silverado.

To introduce the marque’s first new model since 2006, the company will once again play on traditional American values of self-reliance, family, community, hard work and dependability with a push that breaks — fittingly — on July 4.

Look at what the VP of Chevrolet marketing is saying:

“Chris Perry, U.S. VP-Chevrolet marketing, said that the goal for the campaign, which the company described as its largest in years, aims to let Chevy to take ‘back the soulfulness of the category.”

“If you think about trucks, that segment is one of the most steeped in values and imagery,” said Mr. Perry. Yet those bedrock American values “aren’t reflected in advertising now,” leaving an opening for the brand. “We want to reflect those customer values.”

Now think about the values they are portraying (we have said in a crisis such as this we return to values and classic virtues: Think words that communicate these – Considerate, Responsible, Reliable, Thoughtful, Dependable, Respectable, Honorable, Respectful, Loyal, Supportive, Protective, Sensible, Diplomatic, Polite.

Ad age goes on to say

“The spot features everyman archetypes and is set to an original song, ‘Strong,’ written for Chevrolet by Nashville-born Grammy-nominated musician Will Hoge. The anthem includes lyrics about an American man who gets to work on time, has loved one woman for all his life, and is someone who can be trusted. “Everybody knows he ain’t just tough, he’s strong,” Mr. Hoge sings. The company’s new tagline, “Find new roads,” appears in the spot as well.

[…]”We want people to touch, feel and experience this new Silverado,” said Mr. Perry.

Well, I can tell you this, my wife said I want one after seeing the commercial – that is a good sign Mr. Perry…and my hat goes of to the team that made my wife want one…

Here is the extended version of the ad for those of you who, like me, can’t get enough of this one…


Silverado Strong Extended Commercial Chevrolet



…And here is the music video


Silverado Will Hoge Strong Music Video Chevrolet



So the only question I have for my wife is: What color do you want honey?



Published on June 27, 2013, by in Posts.

Communicate differently in a crisis period…

Show Community


Over the next many posts I will, to the best of my ability, try to give you the best knowledge I have on generational information. I will not hold anything back. In case you are wondering, I am not saving the best. You are getting the best, paid or not I don’t care. I have never done things with money as the motivator. We lift the level of all ships by raising the ocean.

Chuck Sellier, the President/CEO/Supervising Producer of Grizzly Adams Productions and I were asked to give a presentation on how generations behave, the current socio-economic crisis (termed a Fourth Turning), and how to use this information in business for a variety of applications.

As part of the presentation, we were demonstrating, historically, how in different periods, what demographer and author, Neil Howe, calls Turnings, you sell one particular item. The item is salt.

Salt was chosen because it is not a new invention. It has been around and sold (or traded) for thousands of years.

By this point in the presentation (and I will describe in other posts), we described that there are cycles. Like Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, America and the associated socio-economic shifts happen in the same manner. They are called Turnings. A first turning is a high, a Spring. Think post WWII to around the death of John F. Kennedy (1946-1964). Second Turnings, or Spring, is an Awakening. This was the consciousness revolution of the 60’s and 70’s (1964-1984). Third Turnings or Autumn, are an unraveling.  This would be the time of between 1984-2007. Then comes the Fourth Turning. This is a Winter – a time of great Crisis. Other Fourth Turnings would be Great Depression & World War II (Fourth Turning, 1929–1946), The Civil War (Fourth Turning, 1860–1865), American Revolution (Fourth Turning, 1773–1794) and three more dating back to 1459. You could go back further but it would be redundant.

Our reactions in a Fourth Turning are different. Example, in WWI (a 3rd Turning) we were reluctant to get involved. But after Pearl Harbor we declare war on two fronts simultaneously. In a Fourth Turning public life speeds up and private life slows. Let me give you an example of how that is expressed in the recent commercial: Allstate’s “Back To Basics” advertisement.



We communicate differently in a crisis period to match this new set of emotions we face in a world of uncertainty.


So let’s take a look at how to sell a simple item — Salt.

Here is the video from our presentation. The accompanying photos and videos are presented below the video.




Depictions of private sacrifice will be greatly respected. In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), gives up his hopes and dreams to save the town from becoming Pottersville. In the end he is the richest man in town because he has friends and family that love and support him.

Leavitt Seed Ad.

In this ad below (designed by Chuck Sellier and his wife Julie Magnuson) we see self-sacrifice through Governor Leavitt’s eyes. It establishes trust. But he does not TELL us to trust him, he shows us, through a story about someone else, therefore we believe at our guttural level that he is trustworthy. (He left office with some of the highest approval ratings of any Governor to become Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush)




1953 – 1st Turning – Practicality. The G.I. at work with his salt.

1953 – 1st Turning – Practicality. The G.I. at work with his salt.


1967 – 2nd Turning – Health. “Help keep your family goiter free!”

Morton 1967


1986 – 3rd Turning – Taste. “Half the sodium. All the taste”

Windsor Half Salt Ad 1986



Now how do we sell salt in a Fourth Turning — The Video.


Let me show you how we serve community!!!



In a Fourth Turning we show community. As demographer Neil How notes recently, we have this coming together moment in the Regeneracy (see my post Anatomy of a Crisis). Now I will note here that we are not at that coming together moment yet. But what we found in producing movies is that the emotion, in this case looking for a sense of community, always precedes the actual event.

Tap into that emotion of community…it is a winning theme in a crisis.



How did I ever get so lucky as to work with a Hollywood legend?


Photo - On the Set of the movie The Dance. Left to Right, Darryl Howard, McKay Daines – Director, Writer, Producer, Chuck Sellier, President/CEO/Supervising Producer, Grizzly Adams Productions, Michael Flynn, Actor, Producer, Director.


The backstory… of Market Research for Grizzly Adams


March of 2004, my 12-year old daughter asked for the DVD set, Band of Brothers. It really made no sense at the time. Why would a 12-year old girl be asking for a series about WWII? Only later would I connect the dots.

Later that summer I was on a political campaign in California and I strolled into a Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy of The Fourth Turning, by William Strauss and Neil Howe. It was interesting, because a few years prior in Baker, Oregon I had met the creator, of Grizzly Adams, Charles “Chuck” Sellier, Jr.. He had given me a book, Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, it was by the same authors. He told me that if I read Generations, I would never lose another election. I didn’t read it. After working with over 150 candidates, I had heard many people say “if you do this, you won’t lose.”

As I sat reading The Fourth Turning, the authors described how the generational archetypes repeat; how the Millennial generation was the same Hero/Civic oriented archetype as the outgoing G.I. Generation. The Millennials would be learning the life lessons needed from the G.I. Generation. This is how these cycles work and are predictable.

The light bulb went on. My daughter, a born in the middle of the Millennial generation, was watching and learning from a DVD set about character traits of her hero/civic oriented archetype. Team oriented, honest, special, confident, achieving – was I describing G.I.s or Millennials. They were the same in many ways.

It was 7:30 in the morning. I immediately picked up the phone and called Chuck and said I get it – it all clicked.

After the campaign was over, I began to work with Chuck in what would turn out to be a boss, friend and mentor relationship that would last until the day he died in January of 2011.

It is rare opportunity that you get to learn and collaborate on market research by someone who blazed the trail and was hugely successful.

When Chuck and 6 others made “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams” they produced it with little money (about $124,000). Of the six who made Grizzly Adams, three went on to be heads of studios and two went on to be the heads of networks.

Over the years, Chuck developed proprietary market research methods that would produce hit after hit. By pre-testing his concepts, he could find what the audience would go out of their way to see. He used it successfully before anybody was using it. In a Wall Street Journal article titled “Studio Cleans Up By Marketing Films Like Selling Soap” (6-6-1978) a Disney executive was quoted saying “I don’t agree with pre-testing,’ says Bob King, director of marketing services for motion pictures and television at Walt Disney Productions.” But the numbers told the story for Sunn Classic Pictures of which Chuck was President. The article continues, “In fact, in the three years that 34-year-old Charles Sellier has been president and in charge of production at Sunn, all nine of its feature films have made money. Revenues last year went up fivefold from the 1976 figures, to $42 million.”

When Variety listed its “Champs Among Bantamweights” in July of 1981, Sellier’s name appeared on the list more than that of any producer. Included in its top 50 films were nine Sellier productions. In 1980, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the television film “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Sellier created and produced two specials for CBS – Ancient Secrets of the Bible and the pilot Miracles and Other Wonders. Both performed so well in the ratings that the network responded with a multimillion-dollar contract for an additional 10 hours of primetime shows.

With the use of his market research mastery, Sellier told CBS what the results would be before the start of production. The ability to predict the public’s appetite is a skill Sellier perfected constantly over career spanning over three decades. Using sophisticated polling and focus group studies Sellier’s knowledge and talent was crucial to the major networks during sweeps periods.

Over his career he made over 30 feature films as well as over 230 television shows and pilots that he wrote and/or produced and won over two hundred national and international independent film awards. He authored many books, including several on the New York Times best selling list.

Of course now everybody uses market research. Chuck taught me that every problem is multi-dimensional.  As Chuck said “A single dimension of that problem would be, you have a good movie that grosses money. But there are a whole bunch of other problems that are involved. A simple one would be, what if we had broken the movie during the big blizzard? No one would have seen it. So there’s another problem in this three dimensional cube.”

By December of 2005 we were using several types of research. The first was how generations behave. The second was a little understood part of that generational equation – how those generations behave in cycles, specifically in socio-economic crisis periods.

We had research that showed repeating crisis periods over the last 500 years. We had done extensive research to figure out where we were in the repeating cycle, what would happen next, and most importantly, what would be the emotions of the public. Nobody had ever used this extensive type of research to this extent in the movie business.

Because we had stuck upon a winning formula, several companies and organizations requested to see a full-blown presentation of our research. Many used it with astounding results.

From 2005 to 2011 I learned a huge amount from Chuck. Along the way we came across many new horizons in research. Among those was applied neuromarketing and using attractor patterns in production at many levels.

Chuck was never complacent about market research. He was always pushing me to explore the “next” area of market research. It was in that manner he kept Grizzly Adams Productions on the cutting edge.

When we bought all the tools to the table we had some amazing results. One example is the movie Friends for Life. In all, Friends for Life won over 30 national and international independent film awards.


Photo - Friends for Life script read through. Clockwise from Left is Chuck Sellier, Supervising Producer, Ron Hill, Director of Photography, Mckay Daines, Producer, Michael Flynn (head of table), Producer, Darryl Howard, Director of Market Research, Joseph Meier, Producer, David Priest, Shadow Play Films, Brenda Rundback, Shadow Play Films, Michael Spence, Director.

Photo – Friends for Life script read through. Clockwise from Left is Chuck Sellier, Supervising Producer, Ron Hill, Director of Photography, Mckay Daines, Producer, Michael Flynn (head of table), Producer, Darryl Howard, Director of Market Research, Joseph Meier, Producer, David Priest, Shadow Play Films, Brenda Rundback, Shadow Play Films, Michael Spence, Director.

During the six years working with Chuck Sellier I learned a lifetime’s worth of knowledge. We explored new areas of market research, fine tuned existing ones, and in the process touched many lives with the movies of which I was privileged to be a part.

There are many stories and moments I could share. But this one is one I like the best. So I will leave this section with it.

In May of 2010, we were scheduled to give a major presentation to a TV network. Eventually, the 6,000 mile trip by car would take us through many areas that had special meaning to him. We stopped in Savannah Georgia to see his old friend, the driving the back roads, drove by his old home in Valdosta Georgia where his boyhood friend “Turtle” lived. We headed to his birthplace of Pascagoula Mississippi. Driving in front of where the old theaters were, Chuck again told me of how he used to go both of them on Saturday morning for a quarter, seeing the main feature in one and a double feature in the other. That shaped him in many ways. Later, at age nineteen, he was already making movies when his peers were starting college.

As I have looked back on the trip, in many ways it was a trip down memory lane. Within a year, my friend would be gone and in the hands of God.

Most of what we needed to get done on the trip was finished and we headed North for home.

We were driving along on I-70 from Columbia to Kansas City where we would spend the night when Chuck began to look around as if the scenery had some familiarity. “Take the next exit,” he said. But we had missed it. I was driving and we pulled out the Atlas and looked at the map. Perhaps we could take the next one. Chuck would not tell me what we were looking for. We figured out that by getting on Hwy 41, it would take us to Arrow Rock. It was about 13 miles off the Freeway. Now, if you had ever travelled with Chuck, you would know that for him to travel 13 miles out of his way, this had to be some kind of special place, very important. He still would not tell me what we were going to see or what all the mystery was all about. In true Chuck Sellier fashion, the secret would be revealed when we got there.

Driving down the roads and through the farmland we arrived in Arrow Rock. To Chuck, this was like old home. I could see the good memories came flooding back in Chuck’s mind as he looked around to the old and familiar town.

I asked “What is this place?” Chuck simply said “I filmed Last of the Mohicans and Huck Finn here.” I was speechless. The impact of the situation began to sink in.

To me he had always been Chuck.  My friend and best buddy. Yes, he had also been my mentor and boss, but first and above all, my friend. For many in the world he was the renowned Writer, Producer and Director, he was the “Kid,” as some in Hollywood referred to him, the one the great Director, Orson Welles, said was “light years ahead of the rest of the industry.”

“They used to fly us in by jet to Columbia, and bring us out here to the set,” Chuck recalled. Chuck pointed to the river, and told me short stories of trying to film the river scenes in the films. We drove around Arrow Rock, Chuck telling me about specific scenes and buildings he remembered.

Then as simply as we had gotten off the Freeway, Chuck said we better head for the hotel in Kansas City as we were running late.

Life is so simple...

Life is so simple…


Darryl has applied his in-depth experience in the field of applied consumer neuroscience and behavioral theory to the marketing, advertising and communication strategies of his clients with measurable results. The range of what he delivers to his clients includes;

  • Creating the right message to the targeted customer in the specific socio-economic conditions (e.g. Crisis periods)
  • Guiding the client to understand the dynamic relationship between the consumer’s consciousness, decision making and the product
  • Relating how the brain works for delivering more impact in marketing, messaging and graphic design
  • Measuring audience emotional engagement
  • Introducing new methods of consumer response measurement including biometrics, eye-tracking and EEG


Darryl’s Approach to Solving Multi-Dimensional Problems:

Innovation is not done with the common or new, it is done on the frontiers, the exciting leading edge – that edge of which the boundaries and imagination are stretched, where we find out new things, make real discoveries and breakthroughs. The next wave of market research is where Darryl focuses his research and evaluation.

Darryl guides his clients to the edge of what they know, or what they think they know, and then, using those new insights, enables them to connect the dots for their strategy. He is comfortable with ambiguity in the marketplace. His curiosity has led him to understandings in human consciousness, the brain and how generational groupings think, feel and act in the ever changing economy.

His skill empowers him to synthesize many disciples together and then apply leading edge methodologies and technologies in formulating a marketing and communication plan for his clients.

The Harvard Business Review stated;

“true innovation and strategic value are going to be found more and more in the ‘synthesizers’ – the people who draw together stuff from multiple fields and use that to create an understanding of what the company should do.” the Harvard Business Review stated.


Using New Methodologies and Technologies to Solve Today’s Problems Today, Not Tomorrow.

Over the last few years marketing has experienced a paradigm shift. Currently, methods are changing at a phenomenally accelerated pace and are quickly replacing old methods.

When Darryl began introducing his innovative research methodologies to clients back in 2004, these solutions were considered ahead of their time. Now just a few years later, these same techniques are mainstream and being utilized by major companies around the world. Most importantly, those companies have found the new methods produce results. Increased revenue and profitability, greater market share, quicker time to introduce a new product from design to launch; these are the outcomes by which companies today measure results.

Darryl Brings New Methods Into Your Experiential Reality – to Deliver Results

Emotional stories are currently having the greatest impact in advertising. Understanding this ahead of time, Darryl began advising his clients to use stories with “high emotion and a touch of real” to communicate their brand. For one TV network it paid off. Their ratings showed huge increases in a matter of months.

In the movie business, seven of the films on which he worked and applied his market research skills for Grizzly Adams® Productions have won a total of 77 national and international independent film awards.

In another example, one advertising agency he was brought in by was urgently trying to find methods that were “outside the box” to implement before they lost their largest account. Darryl and his team combined four areas of expertise and made recommendations. After figuring out how to explain these new, leading edge methods to the client, tests were done and a full roll-out of the program was undertaken. The ad agency’s contract was not only renewed but also expanded, spelling success for all.

Darryl’s expertise has been sought out in the areas of advertising, rebranding, movies, television, mail, product packaging, along with TV and radio networks, politic campaign strategy and general communications. His work has been written about in many publications and he has been a guest lecturer, trainer and featured speaker both in the U.S. and abroad.

Three words…

Once, someone Darryl worked with for many years called and said three words he had said made his program a success. “You said avoid these three words in one of our conversations. You might have thought I wasn’t listening, …but I was taking notes. We hung up those three words to avoid around our office as a reminder. Our program was a success and I just had to call and let you know. Your three words made the difference”

Darryl looks for opportunities to be of service to others by applying his expertise and exploring just over the edge of the horizon to see what possibilities are there…to solve today’s challenges in the marketplace.

Call me and let’s find out your three words…