Learning From Leonardo DiCaprio

Learning From Leonardo DiCaprio

February 6, 2017

After decades of waiting and being six time nominated for Oscar – Leonardo DiCaprio finally won the Academy Award in 2016. Though Academy Award announces the best actor/actress every year – what makes DiCaprio’s case most remarkable was a surge of emotion demonstrated by people of all ages, gender & nationality – across the world!

Social media sites have seen unprecedented reaction from people with millions & millions of shares, status, emotional response (not only from DiCaprio fans – but also from people who cannot even recall five of his movie names)…

Even in a very distant non English speaking country like Bangladesh, social media walls of people was flooded with DiCaprio – which led to a lot of amusement & curiosity as how could Di Caprio’s Oscar win can be such a popular issue among Bangladeshi people.

Being a Brand & Communication researcher, the following questions naturally crossed my mind (supposed to cross many brand marketers mind as well):

<  How come DiCaprio, is so deeply entrenched in people’s mind – that even in a distant non-English speaking country like Bangladesh is so overwhelmed on his Oscar win?

< What did he do, so magical – to get such tremendous resonance from people – who barely knows his work?

Nonetheless, what so ever the answer is, being a (celebrity) brand, the height of talk-ability, share in people’s emotion, what Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio has achieved – is something every brand craves highly.

Every brands dream of achieving this level of share in consumer mind (The way people know DiCaprio), emotional engagement (The positive emotional outburst people expressed at his win) & proactive involvement (The way people proactively shared his winning news).


Now let’s critically evaluate the brand – Leonardo DiCaprio – from the perspective of Bangladeshi consumers – majority of whom neither much oriented with most of his movies nor a regular English movie viewer – why so exuberance/ cry/ Share / Emotion?

To find the answer – let’s see the brand’s imprint to people.

Recall this? Yes – DiCaprio was first seen in the movie Titanic as the young Romeo – Jack, a true lover who triumphed social class & all odds for the sake of his love – the beautiful but vulnerable Rose (Kate Winslet) who was being oppressed by her elite class & oppressive fiancé [the elite which is the sign of eternal dominance & exploitation]. Jack triumphed to win his love but sacrificed his life to keep his beloved Rose alive… and lived in the heart of millions as a triumphant hero.

He has done many movies after Titanic, from 22 years old in 1997 to now at 41 years in 2016 – many blockbusters are in his tally. Majority people didn’t see more than one or two of his movies (I excuse the movie freaks!) – But what was evident with his works was his heroic struggle to stand up against ominous foe/ oppressors in super hit movies like Blood Diamond, Body of Lies & last but not the least – the Revenant.

Blood Diamond : The ultimate struggle of the white soldier to free a black man to unite with his family.

Body of Lies : The soldier/Agent who opens the dual standard of western intelligence (CIA) in Arab land.

Django Unchained : The struggle of a slave to be freed from all the oppressors.  

Revenant : The ultimate struggle of a man to survive against all odds & take retribution of his nemesis.

Learning 1 : The core the brand DiCaprio is a primal archetype Triumphant Hero. An archetypal image connects every human worldwide.

Learning 2 : His communication theme is in sync with his archetypal essence – a Triumphant Hero. He just reinvented this archetype with different movies over time.

Even in his real life, after producing super high standard work year after year but not getting the Academy Award – his unyielding battle against all odds (especially the elite Oscar committee) & by finally winning it – has demonstrated his character as a triumphant hero in real life as well.

Even at his Academy Award winning speech, DiCaprio kept his difference as a true Triumphant Hero brand by declaring his challenge on climate change & global warming [unlike fake thanks speech given by many other actors on Oscar podium]

Learning 3 : As a Brand in real life, he is also aligned with his Triumphant Hero archetype. Your brands footprint is not only the communications, but also what you do in real life.

All his works, his real life struggle and finally overcoming all odds to achieve the well-deserved Oscar, the Triumphant Hero Leonardo DiCaprio touched the heart of billions around the world (also millions in distant non-English speaking Bangladesh). The consequence we saw the massive surge of emotion people shared in social media after the news.


As a brand, DiCaprio has constantly succeeded –

< To create meaning to people [resurrecting the hero in us & making us believe that we can also triumph the biggest odds]

< Established himself different from others through reinventing himself again and again by movies of great struggle of a hero in different avatars,

< But nevertheless, his essence/archetype as the Triumphant Hero has been at its core, intact, unchanged & kept touching the heart of billions around the world.


Abdullah Tahir Chowdhury

Account Director

Kantar Millward Brown Bangladesh

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