The Word Of Mouth Secret Behind The Movie The Secret

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Many months ago I got an email from a local friend about their efforts in helping to promote a new documentary called, The Secret. I watched the trailer online and it gave me a whiff of something akin to another modern “documentary” called, What The Bleep Do We Know? – which I rather enjoyed from an entertainment perspective (verses a true even-keeled documentary backed up the wazoo with facts).
Being a fan of the motivational forum and knowing that The Secret was actually a “movie” consisting of interviews with motivational speakers and personal development coaches on the law of attraction, I paid to watch a streaming version of The Secret online. I rather liked it. I thought the production quality was decent and some of the insights were inspirational. Then, I forgot about it.
A few weeks later, I noticed that our local book retailer, Indigo, was promoting the book, The Secret, and selling the DVD as well. The DVD was not for sale in Montreal – my guess is because a French version was not made – so I picked up a copy on a recent trip to Toronto. I watched the film for a second time and enjoyed it again.
Then three things happened that made me appreciate the true power of word of mouth marketing:
1. The “stars” of The Secret appeared on both Larry King and Oprah.
2. The Power Within launched a full day speaking event in Toronto that will feature some of the people from The Secret movie. The first date – April 14th, 2007 – sold out almost immediately and they’ve since added a second date – April 15th, 2007. You can read more about it here: The Power Within – The Secret Live.
3. The movie, The Secret, became the number one Bestselling DVD at, beating out Babel, The Prestige and The Departed (special thanks to Jeff for pointing this out to me).
A movie about the law of attraction outselling Academy Award nominated films on their week of DVD release?
How does that happen?
If you can get beyond the cliché answer of it being because of the law of attraction, you’ll scratch further beneath the surface and see a very effective word of mouth marketing campaign that displays hints of multi-level marketing, affiliate marketing tactics and a near-perfect use of online marketing in all of its glory.
Basically, the people featured in The Secret are pulling out all of the stops. The days of these speakers driving around, presenting at the local rotary club and selling cassettes out of the trunks of their rented cars are long gone. They’ve embraced technology, the Web and social media. They’re not even selling. They’re letting us – people like you and I – spread the virus… and they’re hitting a Tipping Point.
Marketing and communications professionals can learn many lessons by watching the success of The Secret unfold. Each speaker leveraged their database to spread The Secret and as word of the movie snowballed the speakers capitalized on the publicity to gain the attention of people like Oprah and Larry King – and they did this all with very little traditional marketing… it was (and still is) an online marketing play. My guess is the marketing and advertising budget to date are mostly being spent on Google AdWords (do you have any idea how near-impossible it would be to rank high for the search term, “the secret”?).
If marketing is music, then The Secret could well be one of its symphonic triumphs.


  1. A very interesting post, Mitch. Thanks for pointing to this. I was a little surprised by the words you used: “very little traditional marketing… it was (and still is) an online marketing play”. I’m not sure what you mean by traditional marketing. I hope you don’t just mean offline marketing since the Internet has been with us for a dozen years and more. Online marketing will always beat out offline marketing in ROI as a general rule. As you say, the “The Secret” people have just used online marketing to great effect.

  2. Hi Mitch,
    Great post Mitch, I think the the marketing behind “The Secret” is a phenomenal example of what viral marketing can accomplish with very little costs.
    Since that first message I sent you about the film, I have been hosting monthly free screenings of “The Secret” in Montreal for a few months now and we have been getting between 250 – 350 people per screening at Concordia University using essentially word-of-mouth and similar to what the speakers did to spread the word about the film, by leveraging local Montrealer’s mailing lists as well.
    As you mentioned above, “The Secret” DVD is not being sold in stores, however I have been able to get my hands on a few that I sell at the events with $2 going to Dans La Rue – charity as John Assaraf, who is featured in the film is a former street kid from Montreal.
    The next screening will be on Sat. March 17, 2007 at 1pm if anyone in Montreal is interested in seeing it on the big screen, seating is limited, so you will need to pre-register at

  3. Thanks for this one Mitch….
    I watched the movie just last week. The movie was very inspiring… in just 1 hr and 30 mins, you would change your outlook in life.
    I would like to agree on what Barry said “Online marketing will always beat out offline marketing in ROI as a general rule.” absolutely Barry…
    Regards to you guys..keep it up..

  4. Hey Mitch, my girlfriend’s mom made a copy of The Secret for her and when I saw it among her DVDs I thought “Hey that’s the movie Mitch blogged about,” so I decided to take a look. It’s not really my style (I’m not really big on motivational stuff, and I had no clue what this movie was about until I popped it in) but the fact that you talked about it made me want to check it out. When we’re innundated with marketing for movies like The Departed and The Prestige, among others, we know what they’re all about, so there’s not much allure. But for a film like The Secret, which most people know little to nothing about, the draw is immense because of the mystery and buzz surrounding it. It’s as if using no advertising at all is the secret to the film’s success. Had they used advertising, people would have heard about it and perhaps grown tired of hearing about it. The way the film has been marketed thus far, it’s organically reaching the masses, albeit slowly. Pretty cool, in my opinion.

  5. Hi
    Yoga Master Erich Schiffmann is starring in a new movie called “The Compass”. It also has many cast members from “The Secret”. The new movie (and book) is called “The Compass”.
    The Compass will pick up where The Secret left off. Prepare to be thrilled.
    Cast members include Erich Schiffmann, John Spencer Ellis, John Demartini, Bruce Lipton, Joe Vitale, John Assaraf, Marie Diamond, Brian Tracy, Les Brown,and so many more. The story is incredible.
    There is also a book which is sure to become a best seller.
    Check it out.

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