Today, people either fast-forward past recorded TV commercials, watch for 5 seconds then skip them online, or bypass advertisements altogether by utilizing paid streaming services. This has spurred a new movement in marketing that will make TV commercials obsolete, one short film at a time.
Marketers becoming producers
Whether you’re watching Chipotle’s Farmed and Dangerous or Marriott’s new content studios, there is plenty of evidence that big marketers are checking out of Madison Avenue and into Hollywood to produce branded entertainment based on what people are choosing to watch.
“You almost need to put parenthesis around ‘branded’ and just call it ‘entertainment’, because if it doesn’t compete with the other content that’s already out there, it simply doesn’t matter.” – Frank Cooper III, CMO of PepsiCo.
Look no further than The Lego Movie for a prime example of how marketers are putting this into practice, giving consumers content that first adds value to their lives, and in turn, adds value to the brand.
Brands leading the way
One of the brands spearheading this movement is GE, who has recently signed off on a new six episode series highlighting scientific innovation to be produced by movie veterans Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. The new series Breakthrough aims at creating branded content with a focus on narrative instead of products.
“Sometimes ‘branded entertainment’ feels advertorial – it’s secondary to really good content”, says Linda Boff, Executive Director of Global Brand Marketing.
Bridging the gap
For young film directors, branded shorts offer a welcome opportunity to fund their passion projects and tell great stories without having to compromise on integrity.
“Having the chance to make a short film featuring Uma Thurman, would have been entirely impossible had it not been for Jameson First Shot” explains Director Jessica Valentine. “Being able to focus on story and entertainment allows for a specific type of artistic freedom and results in a much better experience for both the director and the audience.”
So, while most marketers are still focused on keeping things “short and sweet,” a change is on the horizon. The key is not the specific length of the video, but the story behind it.