Cruella. A Marketers Story.

November 2, 2021

“The thing is, I was born brilliant. Born bad. And a little bit mad. I’m Cruella.”

Last month, “Cruella” was released and while many watched it simply as viewers, we are inherently guilty of watching as marketers. Meaning, we see it differently. Where some see high fashion, we see a bold guerilla marketing tactic. Where some see a rivalry, we see brilliance in making a statement.

Spoiler alert:


Estella is the main character and from the beginning of her life, she knows that she was a genius. Sounds a bit narcissistic, but let’s be honest, we all think that of ourselves. As the plot continues, it turns out that she, in fact, is. The character has an eye for design specific to clothing, and also an eye for being eccentric. Which is what gets her noticed… similar to how it works in marketing; standing out in a sea full of others trying to do the same thing.

When one of Estella’s acts of eccentricity is noticed by a big-time designer, she is offered a job that she happily accepts. In a short period of time it is recognized that she is very good at what she does, so the owner takes her on as a prodigy. After a while, Estella learns something about her mentor that is disturbing and upsetting, so she turns from the nice, fresh design employee, to someone on a mission. That’s where we meet Cruella.




Upon this learning, Estella is motivated to make a change. And she does so in the most amazing, smart, thoughtful and passionate ways. The same thing that Draper DNA likes to do when faced with a challenge. Estella becomes Cruella. To do so, she needs to be heard. To be seen. To be respected. So, she goes for it in a powerful way.

She carefully selects times and places that would be relevant for her to cause a scene; to be noticed and talked about. To out-shine her competitors. She is clever, creative, and resourceful. She targets the appropriate press to help promote her product. She never gives up. Sounds familiar in the marketing scene, huh?

Cruella introduces herself to the world by making a statement anywhere she goes. She writes messages on the sides of buildings, she creates dresses that are unheard of, her hair is two colors and still beautiful. She, in fact, is a genius.

Here are two of our favorite examples:

Lessons learned:


As marketers, we are trained to think about things differently. To find a thoughtful way to attract attention and evoke a reaction through our narratives. It’s honestly what makes our job fun, albeit at times, a bit challenging. The same can be said about those who create films. Whether it’s the writers of the movie, those acting in it, the setting of the stage or the accompanying music – it all has to work together to thoughtfully maintain an audience.

We have been doing this for 30+ years, however, this was a reminder of “old school” marketing tactics that work. We are very excited to put this to work for Draper DNA clients, friends, prospects and partners. Stay tuned.

Let’s do something big together. Contact Shawn at to discuss further.




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