House of Cards as 90's sitcom illustrates brand archetypes

This hilarious re-imagining of the frankly terrifying (pun intended) House of Cards series on Netflix is a great illustration of a core storytelling principle.

Be true to your archetype!

Brand archetypes are as important as character archetypes. House of Cards is a show about villains, rebels and rulers. What makes the video so funny is the mismatch between villain and sitcom.

While the House of Cards spoof is an extreme example of brand archetype misalignment, we run into more common varieties daily. One of our least favorite is a local hamburger restaurant that made a name for itself sourcing local, anti-biotic free meats and produce. Their brand archetype was an Innocent – they wanted to make the world of “fast food” an better, healthier place for all. Unfortunately their advertising was all done in the Comic archetype. They made bad hamburger puns and plastered them everywhere. It’s our least favorite example of brand archetype misalignment because the restaurant — one of our favorites — has gone out of business.

Do you know your brand archetype?

Hat Tip to for their House of Cards analysis!