Lessons from Lost’s Dharma Initiative: How to Start an Evil Corporate Empire

Imagine being sequestered, confined to a small space and told to painstakingly push a button over and over again, indefinitely. Wait, are we talking about ABC’s hit show Lost or the hilarious late 90s corporate satire, Office Space? Surprisingly, not many critics have drawn the parallel between Lost’s Dharma Initiative and the "evil corporate empire." The writers of Lost illustrate the evils of the Dharma Initiative (manipulation, greed, even genocide) to reflect the "evil" of corporations (layoffs, the bottom line, manipulation, greed). Lost’s Dharma Initiative taps into the very real battle between the greedy, Wall Street corporations and Main Street America. The correlation could be the red thread that has made Lost such a run-away success (in addition to those painful cliff-hangers). Since the announcement of the recession in 2007 (sparking the clash between Wall Street and Main Street), Lost has maintained between 9-13 million nightly viewers and as high as 16 million (not adjusted for DVR). In May 2009, Lost had the most online views of any network, with 36.4 million views atABC.com according to Nielsen VideoCensus. Such cultural commentary is a pervasive trend in Hollywood. Movies and TV shows are often loaded with underlying messages and political and societal commentary: * Avatar, the $2 billion, number one box office hit of all time, is about saving the environment * The Simpsons, the longest-running cartoon, in its 21st season, explores the deterioration of the ideal American Leave it to Beaver family * The Office, popularized in the UK and a US smash hit, is about corporate incompetence * Beavis and Butthead (remember the controversial: Fire! Fire!?) is about disenfranchised, "lost" Gen Xers. How have Lost writers built the nefarious corporate image with the Dharma Initiative? Let’s find out so you too can create your own corporate empire: Create a Masterbrand * A masterbrand is the overarching brand of one or more sub-brands. * Corporate culture thrives on long acronyms, such as CEO, CMO, CFO… Lost too has a ridiculously long acronym: Dharma...

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