Lessons from Sklar Wilton’s vote for Best Picture of 2012.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

We’re guessing many of you have heard the “so strange it’s true story” featured in the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” (yes, Sugarman is a euphemism for drug dealer).

Back in the early 70’s, Sixto Rodriguez was a Detroit based Dylan-esque folkie who cut two albums that went nowhere. Resigned to a construction worker’s life, he raised three proud daughters and quietly nursed his music passion for himself. The urban legend was he was frustrated by finding no audience and committed suicide by setting himself on fire on stage.

Unbeknownst to Sixto a bootlegged copy of his first album makes its way to South Africa and goes pre-internet viral. It becomes an anthem for Afrikaner youth opposing Apartheid. Sixto is an icon, bigger than the Stones, bigger than Dylan. Enough drama yet? Read on.

Two passionate groupies spend years trying to find out more about their hero. Scanning the liner notes of every song they one day focus on “Dearborn” (as in the Detroit suburb Dearborn). Multiple phone calls later they connect to one of Sixto’s daughter’s and discover he is alive, oblivious and 70.

They drag Sixto back to South Africa and he plays 6 sold out concerts to flipped out fans who can’t believe their urban legend is alive.  Since then, well: Letterman, CNN, 60 minutes and more have pushed him to keep performing. Yes, a forty year hiatus but a global audience is lining up for Sixto’s message.

Click here to hear his song “I Wonder”…and also here to watch an interview.  Is this man cool or what? His love of music is the core of his being.

So dear marketers, does your brand have soul that can stay true to its original purpose?  You may not have 40 years to meet revenue targets but chasing fame and passing trends are no route to meaningful purpose.

See this film (made on a dime), get inspired, and build the passion behind your brand story.

(Oh, and if The Dark Night Rises wins Best Picture on February 24, we sigh with sadness).