The immediate access that Hollywood studios have to actors, writers and filmmakers makes the process of creating branded content a relatively simple one, but it needs to be more than just a shot of someone drinking a product. “We have come to an intersection of media and content where marketing is content and content is marketing,” said Relativity Media’s Angela Courtin.
The challenges of creating a brand that is relatable to consumers in an era when millennials are steering clear of newspapers, magazines and even traditional television have brought together disparate brands. For example, Evian water and Absolut’s Kahlua rum and coffee liqueur are working with Hollywood studios to create integrated storylines in movies like the upcoming Masterminds with Zach Galifianakis and TV shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live that don’t want awkward product placements where a star for no reason suddenly takes a drink of soda.
“We have come to an intersection of media and content where marketing is content and content is marketing,” said Angela Courtin, CMO at Relativity Media. “So, why not work with a content company?
“Relativity is not just a film studio,” she said. “It’s a TV studio with 32 shows on the air, a talent agency, a fashion agency, an art agency and, now, a branded-entertainment company. That allows brands to sit at the table and collaborate on creating content that fits their marketing objective.”
Courtin spoke today at NATPE on a Masters of Marketing panel along with Jonas Tåhlin, CEO of Absolut Elyx at the Absolut Co. and Olga Osminkina-Jones, VP of marketing at Danone Waters of America, maker of Evian. Piro founding partner Daniel Rosenberg moderated the panel.
The immediate access that Hollywood studios have to actors, writers and filmmakers makes the process of creating branded content a relatively simple one.
“The reason for us to work with Relativity was twofold,” said Osminkina-Jones. “One is to work with people who work outside the box. Working outside the comfort zone is their comfort zone.
“The second one is efficiency. Working in Hollywood, you can go from conception to execution at the speed of light.”
Over the years, the Evian brand had faded in popularity. Danone’s Osminkina-Jones set about reintroducing it to consumers, notably women 18-34, in a fun way that went far beyond simply buying ad time on TV and in print media.
Relatively Media integrated the Evian’s water into events like New York City’s fashion week and on TV shows such as Jimmy Kimmel.
In the case of Kahlua, characters in Masterminds spill and drink the liqueur, which becomes part of the storyline and was highlighted during the session with a clip.
Tåhlin noted that Absolut vodka in the 1980s was built on the success of its print ads with photos of the vodka bottle. Today, print ads simply wouldn’t be effective, he said.
“No one tells stories better than Hollywood production houses and they have an amazing capability to amplify those stories,” Tåhlin said. “In the movie Masterminds, the number of people who will watch it is something we would never achieve [with print] media. It goes beyond product placement. Our brands become characters, which is very exciting for us.”