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Josh Lawson

Josh Lawson

In celebration of JAHM, we explore Josh Lawson's story, uncovering the profound impact of his heritage on his life and creative pursuits. Deeply rooted in his Jewish identity, Lawson finds inspiration in his cultural background and holds it dear to his heart through the art of storytelling.

How has your heritage shaped the person you are today?

I’ve been very fortunate to have grown up surrounded and immersed in Judaism. A son of a rabbi, not only was I educated in the traditions of Judaism, but I was constantly fed stories from the Torah and how they were intended to help people apply the principles of kindness, empathy and conviction in one’s beliefs. Many of these same stories are so relatable that they have found their way to the big screen (The Ten Commandments, Noah’s Ark, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Samson and Delilah and of course David and Goliath). In many ways, this immersion helped to define my passion for cinema, the art of not only making films, but how to convey the story to an audience through marketing.

What is your favorite Jewish tradition?

Not sure that I can nail this down to just one tradition, as we are fortunate to have so many, but the ones that have personally meant the most to me are the ones we celebrate together as a family. Everything from my mother teaching my daughters how to make challah for Shabbat or hamantaschen for Purim to celebrating Passover Seder together as a family to lighting the candles and eating latkes for Hanukkah.

What is your favorite Jewish film or documentary?

It goes without saying that by far Schindler’s List has left the biggest impact for me cinematically. I have always been a fan of Steven Spielberg, for many reasons, but he brought the Holocaust to life for a more current generation. His forethought of applying the black and white aesthetic allowed a new generation to focus on the emotional impact of each scene. It left its mark on me and despite knowing so much about the Holocaust itself, I will never forget it and hopefully that is the same for many others. Another that stands out is Europa Europa. It speaks more so to the length at which people will go to survive, even giving up their own identity. We all face challenges, maybe not as severe as this, but it’s how we adapt and find ways to keep that identity that help to define ourselves.

If you could meet anyone from Jewish history, who would it be and why?

Golda Meir sits at the top of my list. She was someone who was likely underestimated in her abilities, but was able to use her charisma and tenacity to help contribute to the formation of Israel. Much less, she was ahead of her time being the fourth woman in the world to hold the position of Prime Minister.

Who or what are your inspirations?

I have many inspirations, but as a child of the 80s, it’s great to see so much of my childhood become part of the mainstream culture. Be it the live-action MCU or Stranger Things, their relevance today is rooted in the comic books, cartoons, movies and lifestyle that my generation grew up with.

What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received?

Keep it short and to the point.

What do you think are the three essential skills for a career in marketing?

In my opinion, the most essential are empathy, curiosity and innovation. Empathy, as marketing is a reflection of how consumers digest and determine their decision points; Curiosity, as marketing not only needs to be intriguing and unique, but to keep ahead of that curve, one must always question why things work, or don’t and how it can be done better; and Innovation, as marketing is about evolving with the landscape of opportunities that both traditional and new platforms and methods provide us to reach our audience.

What are the most important elements of a successful marketing campaign?

The most important element of a successful marketing campaign is strategy. Why should people care about the product? This allows you to focus on the story that you want to convey to the audience and ultimately how to reach the audience. Every element that then is created and implemented in the campaign can ladder back up to the underlying strategy.

What changes do you hope to see in the industry?

I think we are seeing the transition in our industry as we speak. Post-pandemic, the world is not the same as it was, nor are the players in our industry. While there is turbulence in the marketplace at the moment, both the theatrical system and streaming services are having to make adjustments based on the evolution of consumer habits. Yes, people are streaming content, but they also equally want location based entertainment and it’s in our best interest to understand and apply our marketing efforts towards the changing landscape in a meaningful way.

Lastly, we’d love to know, what is your favorite Jewish comfort food?

A definite toss up here, but it always comes back down to latkes and matzo ball soup. Easily, they are both comfort food and delicious!

Josh Lawson