Branded Films: The New Way To Drive Engagement


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Share Your Brand's Story, Message And Beliefs

Branded Films are not well-known genres in the film industry to the general public. And when you hear the world “Branded Film” you may think that you are going to be hit over the head with an advertisement. That’s where you would be wrong.

When done well, these full-length or short films featuring a specific brand result in making audiences feel like they are watching a movie rather than an ad. Yet when a brand has complete control of a film, they have the very unique opportunity to shape the messaging and align it to their overall marketing and brand ethos. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses how Branded Films can be an incredibly effective way to market your brand to niche and targeted audience.

Branded Films: The New Way To Drive Engagement

How Branded Films Drives Conversation About Brands

People are always attracted to interesting stories, especially those that are related to their daily life. Spoiler alert: we are not talking about what happened on our friend's date night or the neighbor's new puppy. And when we see or hear a good story, we have emotional connection to it, and it becomes ingrained in our minds. Branded Films have the ability to capture that staying power and leverage it to better engage and build fans from the audience.

More Than Product Placement

Product Placement is one of the more exciting marketing campaigns to have your brand take part in. But what if you think even bigger – and take it up to the next level. Your OWN Branded Film. A movie just about your brand. And forget about the costs – because it will be more affordable than you think as there are price points (and story ideas) available for every budget. 

A Branded Film can be a short or a feature length film. It’s not a skippable piece of content, either, when it's baked directly into the content you're consuming. Thousands of profitable films like these have been produced in Hollywood, throughout every popular genre. However, there is another genre that is actually growing in popularity now with the rise of streaming platforms – the Documentary. Certain genres just don’t do well in theaters, and the Documentary has always been one that has been more isolated to IMAX theaters or Independent Film Channels on cable TV. Streaming platforms, however, have provided an opportunity for Documentaries and Unscripted content to become front and center.These productions often focus on a brand’s story or history, which makes it a perfect place for Branded Films to be seen.

But don’t think that scripted content isn’t an option for your Branded Film, either. Just think of “The Social Network” (2010), that informed older and younger generations alike of the slightly fictionalized history of how Mark Zuckerberg turned a college concept into a globally known social network platform – Facebook. It sure drove a lot of conversation in every form of media.

Another example is “The LEGO Movie” where the audience gets to enjoy seeing their childhood toys as they come to life in a world made of LEGO, and experience the endless creativity shown in the story. All part of the very core of the brand itself.

G.I. Joe. DC Comics. Marvel. All of these were brands that were made into movies, in order to sell more product.

High Exposure + Long Term Advertisement

Loyal fans will always feel excited about a film that is related to their favorite movie stars, stories series, or directors - as well as the love for their favorite brand. Because customers do love brands and have high loyalty when a brand mirrors their own mindset. Not only will they talk about your Branded Films, but they will also share their excitement with the people around them from the beginning of your very first press release.

Typical film marketing includes a series of promotional events, such as a trailer release, press junket, cast interviews, premiere events, and so much more. Another option for Branded Films (which your agency as well as your own senior management will love) is to submit and participate in film festival competitions focused on Branded Films. There truly is incredible content now being made, and these competitions bring out the best of the best – driving media outlets to cover the event. Think about how much exposure your brand will gain at all these events resulting in driving tremendous attention. In every conversation your brand will be the focal point, and the talk of discussions.

Branded Films also offer an incredible opportunity to expand beyond your traditionally targeted audience, passing beyond brand loyal fans, to the film industry, film enthusiast and general public.

Driven Conversation

Feature Length Branded Film Or Short Form Branded Film

Various film formats offer different ways to create engagement, with both short or long Branded Films helping to inform and attract the audience through the developing story. These stories can be showcased in a variety of genres, and settings of any type. Budget, always a factor, can be large or small, shaping the overall size of the project.

Branded Feature Films have a longer timeframe with potentially more opportunity to dive into storytelling in a more significant way, however they also require much more significant production and higher budgets. However, longer Feature Films typically get more attention from potential partners who may be interested in helping to promote the film themselves. Even for Branded Films collaborations exist to develop merchandise, create an original soundtrack, or even launch your own Branded Film PR and marketing plan with screenings and events. It is much more likely a longer format content piece will be able to be a stand-alone event on its own, bringing press and viewers, versus a shorter content piece.

Yet short films can still shine and stand out. One fantastic example is LEGO's short-animated film "The LEGO Story – How It All Started," a story based on LEGO's history featuring the creator – Ole Kirk Christiansen, which has driven over 29 million views on YouTube. This animated short film promoted their belief in the LEGO system's endless possibilities and sharing their moral compass that "only the best is good enough" to their audience. A strong brand message.

Unlike those typical marketing aspects of feature films having high profile premiere events and press events, a short film does have its own angle to promote itself well. For example, a short form Branded Film can harness social media by potentially showcasing all or parts of the content, and include online countdowns to the premiere, design competitions and more supported by social influencer media campaigns. There really is no specific way to promote a Short Branded Film, and the possibilities are endless in today’s social world.

No More Ad Skipping: Just Watching And Enjoying 

Our pace in life is fast, and people don’t always have the patience to watch ads. In fact, most of us clutch our remotes in hand in wait of pressing the skip forward button. COVID has driven people to crave new content to watch, opening the doors to subscriptions to new streaming platforms – all of which include more exposure to wide varieties to types of content than ever before including sponsored Documentaries and Branded Films.

When a Branded Film is done well, where a good story has been developed, complete with phenomenal videography and storytelling, the quality of the content will organically through word of mouth alone (and of course social media) drive new audiences to become engaged in the content piece. In fact, a Branded Film can lead to creating long-lasting relationships with very loyal fans.

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Is Branded Film Your New Opportunity For Promoting Your Brand?

If typical traditional and non-traditional marketing does not fix your craving to proactively get more on target exposure, a Branded Film may be the next marketing strategy you should try. People remember movies that pull at their heartstring’s years later in life, and rarely remember the ads that blow by them throughout their daily lives. A Branded Film may be one of the best ways to have your brand's story told in a meaningful way that will last beyond a quarter’s market planning.

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