On Top of the World
Newbridge Applauds the Quest for Ambitious Achievement
Newbridge LIVE’s men on a mission: Mark Nolan (left) and Tommy Danger (right) atop Denali, the tallest North American summit.
Such a small word. Simple, really. Unimposing, manageable – far more so than the name used by the locals in Tibet (Chomolungma) and Nepal (Sagarmatha). And yet few words conjure up such a variety of powerful images.
Even in a literal context, it’s difficult to mention “Everest” without it becoming imbued with overstatement. It is the largest mountain in the world. Its peak is the highest place on the planet. It is a topographical titan – 29,029 feet of grandeur, wonder and snow, and not a single inch of hyperbole. It really is as big as it gets.
And yet Everest looms even larger as a metaphor than as a mountain. To some, it represents the impossible, the insurmountable. To others, it’s the ultimate quest, the pinnacle of achievement.
To Universal Studios, it represents the hope of another historic blockbuster in a year already full of them. The studio already has released the third-highest grossing movie of all time (Jurassic World), the movie that grossed $1 billion faster than any other (Furious 7), the only non-Disney animated movie to hit the $1 billion plateau (Minions), and it has enjoyed the biggest box office year of all-time – more than $5.53 billion worldwide . . . and that was before the end of August.
Universal has already made an Everest-sized mountain of money in 2015. And now it’s about to release what it hopes will be the Everest of blockbusters: Everest. Its success will hinge on the film’s appeal to Millennials, as has been the case with most of Universal’s releases this year, from Pitch Perfect 2 to Fifty Shades of Grey. The studio has been a pioneer in digital marketing, making in-roads with Millennial audiences through mobile and social media campaigns . According to a recent article on FastCompany.com, Universal has spent “60% of its marketing budget on digital platforms.”
As you can imagine, that kind of innovative approach inspires us. At Newbridge, we are always looking for ways to creatively connect with Millennials.
But that’s not what has our collective pulse racing over the IMAX-only pre-release of Everest this weekend.
To the Newbridge family, Everest is a very real thing. It isn’t the image captured in some majestic photograph, inscribed with a Jack Handy-esque inspirational quote, framed and mounted on the walls of our offices. It is a real place and an actual destination for two key members of our Newbridge LIVE! division.
Mark Nolan, LIVE’s Managing Director, and Tommy Danger, our Staffing Manager, are on their way to the top of Mount Everest.
Not immediately. But they are in the process of climbing the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each of the seven continents – and have four successful summits under their belts so far: Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Aconagua and Denali. Plans are underway for a March attempt at Summit #5 – Carstensz Pyramid, a finish line 16,024 feet above the southwestern Pacific Ocean, on Papua New Guinea, the highest peak in the Oceana region. Which would leave only Vinson in Antarctica. And Everest.
To Mark and Tommy, Everest is personal. But their pursuit to make it seven times to the top of the world is not about them or checking some box on a bucket list. They’re doing it to benefit the More Than Just Me Foundation, which raises awareness of and funds to fight against Cystic Fibrosis, as well as a range of other causes, from pediatric cancers to finding ways to support the 200,000,000 orphans across the globe.
“I have found a purpose in my life – to be bigger than myself,” said Mark, whose previous athletic peak came in the form of a rare and uncharacteristic Fantasy Football championship in 2014. “I’m not a mountain climber, and I’m not your typical athlete. But the mind is a pretty powerful thing. If you believe in yourself and you believe in what you’re doing, anything is possible.”
We believe in what Mark and Tommy have committed to doing so much that Newbridge LIVE! contributes a percentage of our annual operating profits to supporting More Than Just Me. These guys are going literally to the ends of the Earth to fight the good fight. We are so proud to support them, and we encourage all of our partners to find out more about their heroic pursuits at MTJM.org.
Breath-taking footage from Mark and Tommy’s pursuit of the Seven Summits eventually will be produced as a documentary – again, with the purpose of raising money for and awareness of these vital causes. For now, you can follow their quest on Facebook, and we’ll frequently use this space to update you on their endeavor.
In the meantime, whether you plan to go see Everest this weekend on an IMAX screen near you or wait until the general release next week, keep this in mind: The story of Everest (the mountain, not the movie) is not fiction. It is not the creation of Hollywood’s CGI wizardry. It is very real, and its meaning is clear.
The world is bigger than any one of us. And yet there is nothing in this world too big for the human spirit to conquer.
“I’m a firm believer in always finding a way to build on who you are as a person,” said Mark. “Everest is a piece of that.”
Millennials seem to understand that and prioritize that perspective, perhaps more so than those of us in the generations that preceded them.
It used to be that we defined ourselves by our professional achievements – what we did was who we were. But we are reminded through the efforts of explorers like Mark and Tommy that it is what we do with our lives that defines us.
We are, all of us, what we choose to do.
David Seigerman’s latest book, Take Your Eye Off The Ball 2.0 (Triumph Books)
will be released this fall. Follow him at @dseigs18.