Josh ‘Bones’ Murphy, Film Director + Writer
Welcome to the 6th episode of The Art of Sway! Each week, our CEO and host Danielle Wiley sparks candid conversations with industry insiders and influential tastemakers, in order to uncover all the ways influence impacts our work, our lifestyles, and the choices we make.
This episode’s guest is award-winning filmmaker Josh ‘Bones’ Murphy, and includes his unique (and delightful!) thoughts on using visual storytelling to influence people into action. Bones directed the documentary films ArtiFISHal and The Scale of Hope for Patagonia, and shared the outcomes of motivating through hope as opposed to fear. Plus, we also got into how streaming’s democratization of storytelling truly boosts Patagonia’s charitable brand mission, and why modern platform metrics help de-mystify purposeful brand advocacy.
- (12:20) Bones says we are in the golden age of visual storytelling- democratization of storytelling thanks to streaming services. We have the ability to create stories that you don’t have to go to a place and pay 15 dollars at the door to see. There are even free platforms (like Patagonia does it.) Hollywood vs Patagonia: Patagonia said it wasn’t about the money, but about sharing stories with people, and the way to do that is the internet.
- (22:47) Theranos! Weaponization of storytelling and how it was for him to realize he might have contributed to a big lie.
- (29:33) Content about the environment like the one he works in is usually not something that sells a lot, but thanks to the audience and loyalty Patagonia has created, it’s easier for them to push the matter into the public.
As always, we hope you enjoy this episode! If you’d like to hear more, all previous episodes of The Art of Sway are available from our podcast page.
Scroll down for the full episode transcript.
Episode 6: Bones Murphy Transcript
Danielle Wiley: Welcome to The Art Of Sway. This is a podcast that brings you inside the world of marketing through the lens of influence. I’m your host, Danielle Wiley. Each week through candid conversations with industry insiders, we will uncover how influencer marketing is making an impact across all consumer buying habits and is changing the way we talk to each other. Let’s dive in.
Danielle Wiley: It was a huge treat to catch up with my friend Bones for the podcast. As you will hear, he is just an incredibly fun and dynamic person, but he also does amazing work and I am excited for our listeners to learn all about his impressive portfolio, including his most recent film produced for Patagonia. Enjoy.
Danielle Wiley: Josh ‘Bones’ Murphy is a director and producer of film, commercials, and branded entertainment. With over 20 years of experience in the industry. He co-produced the 2018 multi-award-winning inspirational featured documentary, The Push, about the first spinal cord-injured athlete to push himself to the South Pole, and was a contributor to Alex Gibney’s film, The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley, about Elizabeth Holmes and the failure of biotech giant Theranos. More recently, he directed, produced, and co-wrote the multi-award-winning feature documentary film Artifishal, that was commissioned by Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard. It had over 3000 local screenings worldwide before being released on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and YouTube where it has earned over 4 million views. Murphy’s most recent film for Patagonia, The Scale of Hope released just one week after the bombshell news of Patagonia owner Chouinard giving the company away to focus on issues of climate and the environment. The film follows former Obama White House Climate advisor, Molly Kawahata, as she prepares for a climb in the Alaska range while struggling with mental illness and working to create a new climate narrative framed around systemic change and hope.
Danielle Wiley: Additionally, he’s co-directing a film about the global plastics epidemic, which recently began production and is slated for release in 2024. Prior to his career in film, Bones was trained as a natural resource scientist and fisheries biologist. Okay. Hi Bones.
Bones Murphy: Hi.
Danielle Wiley: Nice to see you. Hi.
Bones Murphy: Thank you.
Danielle Wiley: I’m so happy to have you on. I feel like this was the luckiest thing ever because I texted you two weeks ago or so and I was like, “Hey, any chance you want to be on the podcast?” And then not like three days later, Patagonia makes this enormous announcement and I just feel very lucky that I… I had no foresight, I just wanted to have you on, but-
Bones Murphy: No, well you’re right. And as we talk about that more, nobody knew exactly what that announcement was going to be and certainly didn’t know how relevant it would be to the film that we’re going to talk about. So Absolutely. You’ve kind of serendipitous for sure.
Danielle Wiley: Yeah. Yeah. So let’s back up. I guess I should first explain how I know… Well, I know you through your daughter. Our kids were in third grade.
Bones Murphy: Which is most people these days. Yes.
Danielle Wiley: Yeah. Well, and also our dogs were best friends because they were backdoor.
Bones Murphy: That’s right.
Danielle Wiley: Your front yard was my backyard and they would visit each other every day through the back fence until your dog taught my dog how to get out. And then they went on escapades together.
Bones Murphy: That’s exactly, right actually. Jack is a… He is an escape artist. We think if people knew his powers, they might want to keep him locked up because he is teaching a lot of dogs how to escape.
Danielle Wiley: Yeah. So we met back in Mill Valley when we were there and our kids are seniors in high school now, so that was a while ago. And good friends with you and your wife Emily, and we just lucked into these awesome people and you have this amazing background and well, you also helped me to ski better, which is a whole other story.
Bones Murphy: Yeah. Ball benefit, added benefit.
Danielle Wiley: I’m like, if you can take the chair lift with Bones after you’ve skied a run with him, it’s so good. He gives you all the tips. All the tips. So tell us… It would be great to hear a little bit about how you got into film-making and kind of what that trajectory was, and then we can talk about some of this exciting Patagonia stuff that you’ve been doing.
Bones Murphy: Yeah. So it’s kind of a funny long story that I’ll make short, but when I was a kid, Jacques Cousteau was my idol. I wanted to be either Jacques Cousteau or a professional hockey player because those are definitely similar, right?
Danielle Wiley: Totally.
Bones Murphy: And I loved fishing, I loved water, I loved the world beneath the surface. And Cousteau took us there and my dad tells this funny story that there was one of the NHL playoff games, his friends came over to watch the game and I was like, “No, no. Dad Cousteau’s on tonight.” He’s like, “The game?” And I was like, “No, it’s Cousteau. We have to watch Cousteau.” And he’s like, “You guys mind?” And they’re like, “No, no, no.” So they turned off hockey game and we all watched Cousteau, once it was over and I think they went back and watched the hockey game. But I just remember always being enthralled with the places he took us.
Bones Murphy: And at the time I thought of him as a scientist and I went into science in my graduate and postgraduate degrees, specifically in fisheries biology. And only later did I realize after I’d gotten into film that Cousteau’s Legacy is really a filmmaker. He’s a storyteller. That’s the only reason we know of him. I mean, of course, an amazing explorer. He developed the scuba system, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus as I used to kind of rehearse as a kid. Because I wanted to know what scuba stood for. But really the reason we know of Cousteau is because of his film. And so, of course, I came to that realization later, but I got into film as a professional skier and I used professional in air quotes in part because at the time you got paid very little to ski a lot. And I had been competing and then began pre-skiing and filming and doing photo shoots and whatnot.
Bones Murphy: And then realized, I want to tell this story, knew nothing about filmmaking other than I’d been shooting a bunch of videos as a kayaker just for fun, silly stuff. And a friend of mine who was also a filmmaker taught me how to shoot film. And I bought a camera on eBay. It was a 16mm Bolex which you wind up in the spring, allows you 15 seconds of shooting and you shoot a roll of film, 50-foot roll, which is three and a half minutes if you’re shooting at regular speed. If you want it to be slow motion, take that and cut it in half basically. So you’re like a minute in a bit if you shoot it pretty fast. And yeah, I bought this camera on eBay. eBay was two years old at the time, and I was sure I was going to get fleeced and it worked.
Bones Murphy: And the friend said, “See this thing on the front, that’s focus, you just don’t worry about this number. If it’s sunny outside, put it on 16 or 22 and if it’s cloud you just put on eight.” I didn’t even know what Aperture really was. I mean it’s so funny that it worked that way. But then I was able to get in the right spot and knew what to look for, for what was aesthetically interesting and started all of a sudden making ski movies. And I made ski movies for six years and that’s all I did. And then I went into reality TV for quite some time, which was terrible.
Danielle Wiley: My college roommate went into… She was an editor on Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Bones Murphy: Oh, my God.
Danielle Wiley: And is now a midwife that it sent her completely to… She was like, “What thing can I do that is as far away from-
Bones Murphy: Exactly.
Danielle Wiley: As possible.
Bones Murphy: It’s [inaudible] TV and sometimes need that outlet, right? I mean sometimes heavy films, kind of the ones I take on with environmental causes and purposes. It can be kind of be overwhelming. And sometimes you just want to watch Dog The Bounty Hunter, I guess.
Bones Murphy: I did it because of course, I was like, the only way I can get better as a storyteller is to stay in the game and if somebody’s going to pay me to do this, I’ll do it because it keeps me staying in the game. And then I realized I can’t stay in this game anymore. So I started moving towards documentary film and narrative film and started to realize, wow, what I really need to do is get back to this kind of storytelling of humans intersecting with the environment. And that’s how I came to focus as I have the last six to eight years, if not more of my 20-plus year career on that kind of story. And then that brought me to this kind of wonderful moment years ago when Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, shooting a little retrospective on 1% for the Planet, which is their nonprofit, but they started around 15 years ago now.
Bones Murphy: And we were just shooting, we had four hours with he and Craig Matthews, who was the co-founder with Yvonne. And we were just shooting a little piece with them. And over lunch, somebody happened to say, “Yvon, what’s your next film?” And he said, “Oh, it’s a film about the arrogance of man.” And I still did this day chuckle remembering that because I was like, “Oh, where does this go?” And he said It’s about the way we’re unwielding salmon and trout through the use of hatchery at Fish Farms. And I nearly dropped my sandwich in my lap because that’s what I had studied in graduate school.
Danielle Wiley: That’s your thing.
Bones Murphy: And I just explained that over lunch. And we were sitting on the back of a tailgate of a truck in Ennis, Montana and at the end of the day, Yvon came up and said, “Do you have a card?”
Bones Murphy: I didn’t. He said, “Well, just give me your number.” I scribbled my number on a piece of paper and email and he said, I’ll call you and that’s quaint. It’s not going to happen that way. And two days later, his producer from Patagonia films did call, which began Artificial, which now released three plus years ago, which was the first time I got to work with Patagonia and made what became a very successful film about the future of wild. And then fast forward to two years ago now, they reached out to say, we have a story we’d like to tell about an interesting character. There’s a couple of characters in the running. But it became clear that there would be one character that we kind of landed on, and it was this woman, Molly Kawahata, who was a climate advisor in the Obama White House. And then aspiring alpinist or mountain climber and a person who was kind of trying to reengineer, if you will, in our minds the way we should be talking about climate activism and how to get more people involved in it.
Bones Murphy: And she felt like she had a really intimate way of doing so because she’s very in touch with her mind daily because she is bipolar and understands how the mind works. And thinks that if we look at neuroscience, there’s a lot to learn about how to motivate people to doing something as opposed to motivate them through what we think might be a good way to do it, which is through fear. And she thinks that we can be motivated through hope. And so that is The Scale of Hope, which is a film we just released. And then Lo and Behold, the release date got pushed back. It just released on Friday. So it’s available now in Patagonia and on YouTube and the… I think rolling out other platforms. But it was scheduled to release and they said, “Hold on, there’s a big announcement. Nobody knows what it is, but we can’t release the film now.”
Bones Murphy: Okay, great. And then the announcement happens to be Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia saying that we are going to give away the company, put it into a trust, and that trust is going to focus on issues of climate and environment so that in their words, we can continue to work towards saving our home planet. That’s their mission to save our home planet as told by Patagonia. So that landed and then everything got nudged and then one week after that announcement, The scale of Hope launched. So it’s been a really kind of odd and exciting and bewildering week I would say.
Danielle Wiley: Yeah, it’s just been amazing. We saw that announcement and we’re like, What?
Bones Murphy: Supposedly, I didn’t see the announcement. But supposedly everyone knew it was a big thing. It was the 50th anniversary of the founding of Patagonia. And so they had an event, they didn’t know it was going to be announced and Yvon supposedly walked out on stage and said, “Just so you know, I’m not dying.” And then explained what they were going to do and explained how they just wanted to get it right. It was two years in the making. They made sure nobody knew about it and they wanted to get it right. But yeah, took everybody by surprise.
Danielle Wiley: So I want to talk a little bit… I’m so fascinated by Patagonia’s approach to influence and using art and storytelling to kind of woo people in this way. I mean, we work with brands all the time and we hire influencers and some of what they create is pretty remarkable. But I mean this is on a whole other scale, no pun intended. And I know he had this idea for the Salmon movie for Artifishal before he connected with you. But I mean, what are your thoughts on using full-length documentary features to influence people and help tell this story and inspire people to make this change that needs to happen?
Bones Murphy: Yeah, I mean it’s an interesting question because, in reality, I think we are in the golden age of visual storytelling. There was a big push in film way back, way, way back when film didn’t have a lot of talking where it kind of began to bring people into studios. And then there was times where the talkings came and people that didn’t read could see films and they didn’t need to be able to read to be told stories. But we’ve always been a storytelling animal and we did that orally than we did it through writing. And some people read more than others. And now we have this kind of democratization in some ways of storytelling because of streaming video. What we’re doing right here is this ability now to create stories that don’t require you to pay 15 bucks, five bucks, 10 bucks at the door and allow you to access new perspectives in this case for free, which is how Patagonia does it.
Bones Murphy: That was never the case. In fact, when we released Artifishal, our representative who was helping sell the film said, “Okay, so what you want us to do is find the highest bidder for the film if we were to sell it.” And we were like, “Actually no.” And they were like, “Excuse me.” We said, “No, what we want to do is find that outlet that can help us get it to the most viewers.” And they were like, “Right, but now getting back to the money.” And Patagonia was like, “No, no, no, it’s not about the money.” And they were like, “Wait, hold on.” Because in Hollywood that’s how things get done, money-wise influence, money makes everything work. Patagonia short-circuited it saying, “No, it’s not about that. It’s about sharing these stories with people. And we can only really do that through the medium of basically web viewing, right?”
Bones Murphy: I mean, certainly people can use YouTube in their own home theater now, Amazon Prime, iTunes, these self-distribution modes as well. But that’s what Patagonia focuses on. I remember thinking, “Oh no, we can’t show this film on YouTube.” I’ve never watched a full-length film on YouTube, to this day, I still haven’t. And they were like, “But we get metrics. We get to see who watches it and we get to understand where they’re watching and how long they engaged. I was like, “Yeah, but you’re only getting that for the people that watch it on YouTube.” And they’re right. This is a great and valuable way because when you sell it to Netflix, Netflix gives you zero, none, nothing. They don’t tell you anything about anything. They just give you the sales report. And so Patagonia wants to know how to reach viewers. That’s what the goal is.
Bones Murphy: So for them, the return on investment is really at some level the return on impact. It’s a different [inaudible], right? They’re selling clothing so that they can use those proceeds to tell stories that enable them to reach this much larger goal. They’re on the mission to save our home planet, right? That is what they want to do. Actually, Yvon has been quoted as saying he thinks of them as more of a film company than a clothing company in many ways because the clothing allows them to reach that goal and allows people to be outside in a way that they can have a relationship with nature that they might not have had if they weren’t outside. So the clothing actually helps kind of get them there. Some of the clothing other ones is just like, yoga pants, it’s not the case. But I think their whole mission has been to use story to inform their audience.
Bones Murphy: One second. Dogs.
Danielle Wiley: Hey. Okay.
Bones Murphy: So I think when seeing in that light that their mission is to inform people, then it makes a lot more sense why a brand that sells clothing would actually embrace the style of storytelling, like a full-length documentary. And what’s interesting is Artifishal was their second feature-length film. The first was Damnation, great film. And then after that they’ve been creating quite a few more. This film was envisioned as like a 35 to 45-minute short. And when we started putting the film together, it began to have so much nuance and texture, for lack of a better word, that we didn’t quite understand at the outset. It became clear that telling it any shorter than full length would not have done the story justice, and quite honestly probably would not have engaged an audience the way it seems to have since it’s released just last week. So the length now is just a product of what engages the audience. And I think Patagonia’s looking for stories that some are short, summer long, and this one kind of took it on a new form than… A different form than originally envisioned because the character and the story became so interesting. Really.
Danielle Wiley: And then you said something on your Instagram the other day that I just found so interesting. So Patagonia does screenings of the films in their stores. And you were talking about just this new use of taking a retail space and using it in this whole other way and it’s pretty cool.
Bones Murphy: It’s amazing… It’s the idea that retail space can also be thought space. I had never seen this until we did the Artifishal tour. That was the first time. I know they had been doing other films because that was their second feature film and the first they’d ever distributed that way. I was just blown away that stores would just move away all of the merchandise and create a place where people could debate, learn, find inspiration, ask questions. I was like, whoa. I mean, when we think about these spaces, we think you go in there and the conceit is you look at the product, you find it, you buy it, you check it out, you go home, right? And they had this whole other way of saying, no, this space is about furthering our values. And those values include debating really thorny topics sometimes specifically for Patagonia, those environmental topics.
Bones Murphy: But one of the most amazing shows we had with Artificial was in SoHo in New York. I’m like, “Oh my God, we’re going to show this film in New York. Nobody’s going to care about it it’s New York City, right? Of course, New York City is highly educated [inaudible 00:17:58]. I mean it blew my mind. There were two floors, they were showing the film on and on both floors, people were asking questions and engaging. And I was like, You got to be kidding me. In the middle there was a floor, they had a band and mirror. And I was like, Wow. And so once again, for The Scale of Hope coming post-COVID, which really… That changed everything. That stopped. I mean Patagonia was one of the first retail outlets to close during the pandemic and they’re just coming back online. So going back into some of these spaces and realizing, oh, right, this can be done again, retail spaces, thought space was really exciting to see faces again, which was crazy. Not just mask faces, but actual faces in a live environment. Engaging with the topics of the film and asking questions of Molly and myself. I was like, wow, this is what a purpose-driven company can do with a space that would be otherwise used for only one thing, which is commerce. And now it’s for something much greater.
Danielle Wiley: So pivoting, I didn’t even ask you if it’s okay to talk about this so you can put the kibosh on it. Would love to talk to you a little bit about the Theranos work that you did.
Bones Murphy: Sure, totally.
Danielle Wiley: Yeah. Okay.
Bones Murphy: What’s funny?
Danielle Wiley: Because I remember sitting having pizza with you guys and you are like, “I’m doing this film for this woman and it’s pretty crazy what she’s doing.” And of course, it was Elizabeth Holmes. Obviously, we’ve learned a lot since that night, many years ago at 22. But it’s kind of like the dichotomy I think it’s interesting to me that you can use storytelling for so much good. I mean, obviously, the intent with what you were doing for Theranos was to tell a story about all this good that she was doing and changing the world and having this groundbreaking technology. But there’s also some danger in storytelling because if the story’s coming from the wrong person who’s kind of malicious without anyone knowing, you’re like weaponizing.
Bones Murphy: You’re exactly right. It’s interesting because I was asked many years ago by a producer that I knew in San Francisco to assist a very famous photographer named Martin Schoeller, who does some of the most kind of intriguing celebrity photography you’ve ever seen. One style he uses that have two bars in each eyes. When you see a Martin Schoeller photo, you’ll look and say, “Oh, that guy.” And he is himself an amazing visual storyteller. But this producer said, “Hey, this photographer is doing this.” It was a tech company basically in the Bay Area as storytellers, we work with a lot of tech companies because they need to tell their stories to investors, to the consumers in the brand, consumer to brand. So for me, it was just, oh, great. And I get to work with this really wonderful visual artist, and Martin and I collaborated to say, how do we bring his style to motion and how do we do that with both employees as well as the heads of the company?
Bones Murphy: And I remember I met Elizabeth and it was in the old Facebook building as I had been told, I didn’t know that. Hold on, dog scratch. And so we just had a meeting with Elizabeth and Martin and I, and we just talked about what they were doing and I was on its face value., It was pretty amazing. They had been totally silent for 10 years, hadn’t told any buddy about what they were doing. They were developing this technology and they were just about to begin to share the technology. And they were bringing in storytellers like Martin and myself to kind of help share that story. And part of that story was, of course, Elizabeth and she did have a deep voice. I don’t know if that was fake or not fake, people have told me in testimony, which I haven’t watched. I’d like to, But it’s different, right?
Bones Murphy: Maybe the first day I met her, she had a black turtleneck. I don’t remember, I don’t think she did actually. I think that was something later. But it was like, wow, what she’s trying to do is really interesting. The idea that blood tests are not… You can’t elect to have a blood test. You have to go to a doctor and the doctor has to prescribe a blood test. And I was like, that’s kind of interesting. It’s your blood. You can’t even ask to have your blood tested. I kind of get what you’re advocating for. And then the cost of the tests that they were talking about were so radically different. And so in my mind, having a science background, they were taking nanotechnology and applying it to blood testing. And I was like, Now that is really interesting. I’m not a doctor. I know the basics of biology.
Bones Murphy: So when I got later into it and started asking questions, people were like, Oh yeah, that’s not possible. It’s physically not possible. But at the time I was like, This is interesting. And quite honestly, all the tech companies in Silicon Valley and around the world that are coming up with interesting things have sometimes good stories to tell. And so we just started telling their story and it was having a front-row seat. I wasn’t on stage as some people were, but I was the front-row seat to this story unfolding. But at the time it just was like, Hey, this is pretty neat. And of course, people were poo-pooing it. And I didn’t even think at the time. I mean in retrospect, I’m like, you’re right. The weaponization of story, I got pulled into something that I thought, “Hey, this seems good.” But I had no real way of vetting it. And then the question is, as a storyteller, is that our job? Are we supposed to vet everything and know the investors and know the boards of directors and know that the technology sound and it brings up a real kind of ethical conundrum because yeah, I would not want to tell that… Well, I would tell that story today, but with a different lens, right? I mean-
Danielle Wiley: Totally. Hindsight, 2020.
Bones Murphy: Alex Gibney said, did such a wonderful job of telling that story through that other lens, but it’s really stark when I now kind of realize, oh wow, we were all pulled into this with the best of intentions. And then in some ways, am I left feeling like we were propagandists perhaps. And it’s still really unsettling. I still have not kind of totally come to grips with it, but I think the opportunity, it’s tough because as a storyteller, the opportunity to tell good story. And they wanted to do it stylistically. They didn’t want it to be bland. It was fun. And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for that release of storytelling that isn’t like pre-programmed. And they were like, “No, let’s just do something with this.” And so now I look back and say, “Oh, God, what were we doing?” And then to contrast that to somebody like Patagonia who is been vetted publicly, we understand.
Danielle Wiley: Yeah. I mean, obviously, you’re not going to stick just with them because you have so many stories to tell and so many other interests. But you’re pretty safe with Yvon Chouinard.
Bones Murphy: Yes.
Danielle Wiley: Unless his voice suddenly it shows up in a black turtleneck the next time we meet with him or-
Bones Murphy: I don’t think so. He’s mostly-
Danielle Wiley: Back away.
Bones Murphy: Funny story about Yvon, he really is a minimalist. I mean, a minimalist is somebody who says, “Let’s use the least, consume the least. And here’s this guy that’s advocating for a major brand that is based upon people buying things. But now they’re saying, if it’s broken, bring it back. We’ll fix it. He is such a minimalist that when we screened Artifishal, he came to the screening with his wife Melinda, who is also amazing, pulled up a chair and sat down and said, “I’m ready to watch the film.” Which was a big moment itself. And we pushed play and realized as his… This was a rough cut, but as his interview came up, he was wearing in the interview, the same shirt he was wearing in front of me. So I’m behind Yvon watching him, watching himself wearing the same thing. I’m like, “Isn’t this just so?” Yeah and it’s true.
Danielle Wiley: You don’t need more than two or three. And-
Bones Murphy: He’s like, Yeah. Quite honestly lately he has been really pushing on provisions because Patagonia provisions is a food company, said food feed every day. He’s like, “Most people don’t buy a jacket, but once every 10 years.” And I was like, “I think you want to check on that Yvon because more people [inaudible] a jacket once every 10 years.”
Danielle Wiley: I see he has not met my husband clearly.
Bones Murphy: Yeah.
Danielle Wiley: How funny. Okay, so switching gears entirely, I think we gave you a little bit of a heads up, but we end every interview asking our guests what commercial from their childhood has stuck with them. To me, that was the first time I was influenced.
Bones Murphy: Gosh, that’s right. I remember you did ask that and I forgot to give it thought. I remember thinking about it for one’s… Oh, probably, funny enough, it probably is. This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs. Any questions? That-
Danielle Wiley: That’s especially funny for the two of us to be talking about because you made an anti-drug commercial at my house.
Bones Murphy: That’s why I forgot that. That’s right. With your daughter who is spectacular. That’s right.
Danielle Wiley: She’s very, very good at playing strung out.
Bones Murphy: But I think that was, and think I remember it in part because we laugh about it so much, it was really effective. But there was another commercial, my little brother and I laugh about to this day where there’s a dad who confiscates like a cigar box or a shoebox under his son’s bed. And then he opens it up and he said, Puts this all about, and it’s all these different drugs like needles and marijuana and all these things. And he just stops and he looks up and he says, I learned it from you dad. And then it was this. And of course, the funny thing is my brother and I, because we’re like, “Whoa, what was the dad into? Dad was into all that stuff? Wow, good for you.” But I think they’re memorable part because they were good, but in hindsight, they’re so campy that you can’t help but laugh at them, right? I mean, I know the other one that… These are all kind of PSAs now that I think about it. But the other one was the Indian who was actually an Italian American.
Danielle Wiley: I just heard a whole story about him.
Bones Murphy: Oh, God, but I remember that. And he’s standing on the pile of trash and he’s got the tear dripping down. Turns out that was paid for by the plastics industry and big oil propagandists. And I still remember the Indian who wasn’t crying. So yeah, those are the ones… I mean, there’s ones I remember here and there. Like, “Hey, Mikey likes it.” But I think that was from a waffle commercial or something like that. I’m trying to think of about Think Cereal maybe. Maybe. Oh no, you’re right. It was a cereal, right? It was Wheaties.
Danielle Wiley: Life cereals.
Bones Murphy: Life.
Danielle Wiley: Like commercials were everything as a kid.
Bones Murphy: Yeah. I remember Capris Sun, great tasting fun when you punch open one. Capris Sun, I’m like, “That’s still in my head. I would like that space used for something else. Can I please not have that jingle stuck in there?”
Danielle Wiley: I say that all the time when I’m listening like ’80s on 8 and know every single lyric. I just think, imagine what I could accomplish right in my life.
Bones Murphy: A friend of mine had said that he’s like, “God, if the lyrics to really bad journey songs just weren’t in your head, there would be so much space for other things.” But I think that’s what we’re supposed to do as storytellers. I mean, in the commercial world, it’s jingle and its short spots, but now we’re getting to a place where brands are embracing this long-form story that people are also remembering. I continue almost six years later to have people talk about Artifishal and finding other works that I’ve done and how that still sticks with them. And I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing,” that… It’s not a jingle and it’s not a commercial spot, but the story was resonating. So it’s still brand, in this case, advocacy, but it’s being told in a way that you don’t need a little short spot to remember.
Bones Murphy: You remember the whole meaning of the film. To me, that’s why… Getting back to our earlier point there, it seems like we’ve entered this kind of golden age. I mean, you can stream everything. When we release a film, we are releasing a film against every other film almost ever made because you can access it all. If you want to watch the Criterion Collection and go back to some of the most greatest films of all time, you can do that tonight. You can binge-watch for a year and a half of just the best films ever made. And then there’s all the terrible films that have been made. They’re all available. So how do we punch through that? And I think that’s where this brand alignment actually can be a tool. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, meaning Patagonia has created an audience that’s willing to listen to stories.
Bones Murphy: Can you imagine pitching this to Netflix? “I’d like to tell a story about [inaudible 00:29:46]. Would you be interested in buying that?” They would be like, “Get the hell out of here.” Right? But because the audience that Patagonia had created, it allowed them access to a story they might not have found before. Because as an independent filmmaker, if I just released that story, how would it find an audience? It’s an interesting thing now because now we tell stories that in this case are tailored to that audience, but it’s finding wider release as well because of the impact of brand.
Danielle Wiley: Well, I think it’s all super exciting and-
Bones Murphy: Me Too.
Danielle Wiley: Tribeca needs to get with the program.
Bones Murphy: Well, we’re going to submit this one, isn’t it?
Danielle Wiley: Have them call me.
Bones Murphy: I will. Well, hopefully this year with The Scale of Hope, they will consider that as well. Because we’re excited to share this message that Molly has about how we can all reframe our perspectives on what we need to do and how we can be a part of something that’s really overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable. And through her experience, we feel like, “Wow, we can do this.” And I think that’s a metaphor for so many things in life that we should celebrate as a story.
Danielle Wiley: Love it. Amazing. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. Well, thank you so much. This was awesome. And again, I’m glad I had the miraculous foresight to invite you on.
Bones Murphy: Well, thank you for having me.
Danielle Wiley: It’s perfect timing.
Bones Murphy: Yeah.
Danielle Wiley: Awesome.
Bones Murphy: Good to catch up.
Danielle Wiley: Bye.
Danielle Wiley: Thank you for listening. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. Please check back next Monday for a new episode featuring marketing conversations through the lens of influence. I am your host, Danielle Wiley, and this is The Art of Sway.