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Why Brands Are Partnering Movies More Than Ever



Brand & Deliver co-founder, Richard Barnes, on a big year ahead for movies and marketers

Why Brands Are Partnering Movies More Than Ever

Movies. Who doesn’t love them? Recent ticket sales show that - whether it’s at a huge multiplex or a hip, refurbished independent venue - consumers are not tiring of making the trip to their local cinema. While sales and rentals of physical film formats have been dwindling, the digital equivalents are slowly filling the void. 

From the escapist fun of The Amazing Spiderman, to the heartrending story in 12 Years a Slave, to the all-you-can-snort shocks in The Wolf of Wall Street, there is a film out there to suit your interests and your mood. The same can be said for brands looking to partner with a film. 

Why? Because film can deepen and enrich the consumer experience with your brand. If the integration is done properly, the consumer credits your brand fully with this particular connection to the movie. In effect, your brand becomes the gateway to a very specific and rewarding part of the cinema-going experience.  

When done well, film partnerships can be an incredibly effective marketing tool, but with thousands of new releases every year and the marketing teams at each of the major and minor studios all aggressively chasing you and your ATL spend, how can you spot the right picture that will deliver what YOU need it to?

From a financial point of view, you can leverage all the value and marketing that has already been done for the movie to increase your brand’s reach. Partnerships can deliver excellent ROI with the film studio, providing valuable character or talent assets, digital collateral, and MCB experiences like Premiere access for consumer or trade visitors, all in return for you integrating the movie into your existing communications strategy, and all within a budget you’ve already committed to. 

But to really benefit from the alliance you need to look beyond these fundamentals and construct a partnership that can only work for your brand and one particular movie. There are plenty of examples of ‘basic’ film alliances where brands have settled for the minimum creative output. However, the real winners stand out because the brands have invested in the creative integration, squeezed as much out of the film assets as possible and used the association to disrupt and add to their program rather than simply pin a film and a brand together in a simple, two dimensional communication strategy. 

Take a look at the South African Tourism Board’s association with Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Tango’s tie-in with Anchorman 2, or a little further back to WeSC’s global alliance with Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained to see how brands have identified incredibly specific opportunities to leverage highly relevant movies in the marketplace to enhance their TV advertising or to dominate their in-store promotions.

If you want scale and a broad reach, then very few partnerships can deliver it as effectively as a summer blockbuster. And 2015 is looking like the busiest summer release period for some time. All six major studios are putting their heavyweight, blockbuster babies into the marketplace. Bond will be back for the 24th time, The Avengers are entering an age of Ultron, The Fast and the Furious is about to enter its 7th lap, whilst JJ Abrahms will attempt to reignite the Star Wars franchise, and the Hobbit and The Hunger Games will bow out this year, too. Brands looking for blockbusters are spoilt for choice.

However, if you’re looking for something more targeted there are plenty of other options that you shouldn’t forget. For example, Brit-Director Eran Creedy follows up his London crime-thriller Welcome to the Punch with German-based action-fest Autobahn this year. It’s smaller, British commercial releases like this that can offer brands much more bang for their buck. The filmmakers are closer to the market and want to get involved with innovative and creative promotions.  

The amount of choice can be dazzling, but once you discover a film with the brand DNA or tone of voice that matches your own, then the rest will fall into place easily. Then you squeeze as much out of the creative assets as you can to ensure the integration is as seamless and as powerful as can be. 

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