Two more major companies turn to the power of narrative filmmaking and the Internet to market themselves. The prestigious hotel conglomerate Ritz-Carlton has joined forces with American Express to release a series of three short films to uniquely market their brands. Launched back on January 1, Ritz-Carlton Films will display three original short films with engaging stories that provide a unique platform for Ritz-Carlton and American Express to show off their stuff. The project was produced and managed by L.A. production company Anonymous Content, the same team produced the BMW Films series back in 2001 (starring Clive Owen, with guest directors Ang Lee, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Frankenheimer, and Wong Kar-Wai).
The Power of Story to Subtly Sell
I’ve long been a big proponent of this medium to help companies market and sell themselves. A well written and expertly executed film/video series can be a powerful marketing tool. Primarily because if it’s good entertainment, people will share it with their friends. This is one area where we have worked hard at specializing in, so I’m always excited when I see huge multinational brands use this tactic in their marketing mix. It’s a proven method that more and more companies are realizing is worth investing in (BMW noticed a 32% increase in period sales and a 19% increase the year the BMW Films series aired online.) Other examples of online videos series used by companies include Reebok’s “Terry Tate Office Linebacker,” Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign, and on a much smaller scale, a project closer to my own heart, the series we produced for WPPI.
Content Worth Watching
For these type of marketing campaigns to really work well, the content must engaging. Acclaimed director and executive producer of the BMW Films series, David Fincher, comments in the video below, “Whatever the distribution method, whatever the pipeline…you need to give people a reason to watch.” The examples I mentioned above all work well because they are not blatant marketing pieces for their respective subjects. They are highly entertaining and/or thought-provoking films that pull you in and get you to connect with the brand. And since part of a brand’s anatomy if you will, is how you feel about it, the film/video medium is a perfect tool for communicating feeling.
The Making of BMW Films
Below is the “Making of…” the BMW Films. When you look at the talent they used to produce these films, as well as the scope of the project, you’ll better understand the significance placed on this unique method of brand, “integrated” marketing.