One of the best ways to engage consumers through entertainment is with a partnership with an entertainment partner such as a feature film.
A comprehensive promotional platform that utilizes the brand’s planned media and retail footprint provides not only brand differentiation in a crowded marketplace, but also:
- Soft and welcome introduction to an already receptive fan base of the entertainment partner.
- Interesting, engaging and ‘cool’ content to leverage brand advertising with.
- Heightened Product Placement opportunities which may exist within the entertainment content.
- Easily adapted content to generate social media conversation.
- Low cost marketing tactic as the brand is reciprocating by media, packaging or even retail space to co-brand the activation.
Feature film owners – both the studio and the executive production team – find it beneficial to partner with a brand, and actively seek these marketing partnerships. Studios have two primary costs to filmmaking, the cost of creating the film and the cost of marketing the film. When the ‘right’ brand partnerships are formed, the studio wins by being able to reduce their overall costs to market the film, by using the brand’s media dollars planned near the film’s release to reach consumers. The studio also looks for ways to market to consumers in places money can’t (literally) buy, which includes the retail stores brands are sold in, as well as the packaging and point of sale signage of the brands in these stores.
Because of this interest, when a strategic promotion is attached to the film, the filmmakers also become more aware of any product placement options that would entice a brand to implement a larger co-promotion, and the potential ramifications in terms of marketing dollars if the placement exposure does not occur. Films can still be a great promotional fit even if the storyline does not allow for a natural product placement.
In the US, there is typically no fee paid to the production by the brand for this promotional opportunity, as it is a mutually beneficial opportunity for both parties. The final campaign requirements are determined based on the planned media buy and consumer reach. Ancillary licensing or talent fees are required in some cases based on the specific campaign needs.
There are four steps to take to ensure a successful promotion:
- Determine the Objective
The brand manager should first figure out what the overall goal is to achieve with the entertainment partner. The better defined the objective, the more rounded, on-target and successful the promotional partnership will be. Things to consider include ways to:
- Increase brand awareness and sales of brand.
- Specific timing of year/quarter/month.
- Develop a promotion that reaches and resonates with the targeted brand audience.
- Create a multi-layered promotional program that links brand to entertainment property.
- Leverage the retailer/brand assets to drive sales of product.
- Generate publicity for entertainment property and the retailer/brand.
- And…specifics are terrific – if there are certain sales goals that need to be met or impressions created – all of this information will help create the backbone to the promotion.
- Determine the Assets
The brand manager should then determine what assets the brand offers that can be utilized for the promotion. These may include:
- Media (TV / Print / Online / Radio / Out of Home): The property is not asking for a new commitment of advertising dollars – they want you to leverage your existing advertising buy and showcase the promotion with their property.
- Retail store exposure (Standees, shelf-talkers, display units, Gift with purchase)
- Sweepstakes options
- Customized content (ring tones, microsite, video game) or licensed merchandise.
- Collaboration with other brand as potential partners.
- Prepare a Letter of Intent(LOI)
The next step is for the brand to prepare a letter that outlines the promotion and which lists the brand objectives, assets available (supply as many metrics as possible – if you are sold in x # of stores, list them – and location), and what you want the partner to provide in exchange for this promotion.
- Present to Property, Work Out the Kinks, and Execute!
The brand management team will need to work with the partner to establish timelines for deliverables due by both sides, as this will be the most important part of keeping your promotion on track. When the campaign is activated, success will be ensured with consistent communication so that expectations can be managed by both sides, and any hurdles that arise can be openly and swiftly dealt with.
As brands begin to plan for your promotional partnerships, they will be well served to enlist an agency which specializes in the entertainment marketing space. Not only will the agency have proven experience, but the established relationships and overall industry know-how will ensure the brand knows of all viable opportunities, and where red flags may exist and how to get around them. The agency will ensure you have all production assets and materials, and remain your primary point with the production to ensure the process is seamless.