Maximizing Consumer Engagement through Feature Film Partnerships


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Low-Cost Marketing Tactics: Using Entertainment Partnerships to Differentiate Your Brand

Brand partnerships with feature films can be a win-win situation for both the brand and the film production team. However, creating successful silver screen partnerships requires strategic thinking and planning to form mutually beneficial alliances.

In this blog post, Hollywood Branded explores the benefits of promotional partnerships in entertainment marketing and how to maximize product placement opportunities. We'll also discuss the cost of partnerships in entertainment marketing and the primary objective of creating mutually beneficial opportunities for both the brand and production partner. Let's learn from the experts at Hollywood Branded.

Blog - Maximizing Consumer Engagement through Feature Film Partnerships

Strategic Content Partnerships: Creating Mutually Beneficial Alliances

Brands often collaborate with feature films to generate significant consumer engagement and capture attention without paying fees to the content owner. This can provide brand differentiation, interesting content, product placement opportunities, and a low-cost marketing tactic.

Studios benefit from reducing overall marketing costs by using the brand's media dollars, while brands benefit from accessing the licensed intellectual property of the film. Promotional partnerships can help maximize product placement opportunities and drive awareness of the property. While there are usually no direct fees paid by the brand to the production for promotional opportunities in the US, payments may be required internationally or for television properties. The primary objective is to create mutually beneficial opportunities for both the brand and production partner.

The Benefits of Brand Partnerships with Feature Films: Maximizing Consumer Engagement and Product Placement Opportunities

Brands often create massive advertising campaigns around movie releases for good reason. Collaborating with a movie can generate significant consumer engagement and capture attention. It can also lead to substantial product placement opportunities within the film, such as Heineken's takeover of the famous martini in James Bond films.

One effective way to engage consumers through entertainment is by partnering with high-quality entertainment like feature films. The best part is that brands can often do this without paying any fees to the content owner, using their advertising content and retail space in exchange for a limited window of access to the licensed intellectual property of the film. While product placement can enhance these partnerships, it's not necessary for success.

Creating successful silver screen partnerships requires strategic thinking to determine the best way to form mutually beneficial alliances. Brands must convince movie studios why they should collaborate with them, while the studio must persuade the brand that this specific film partnership is worth investing in. Ultimately, the partnership must benefit both parties equally.

These strategic content partnerships can extend beyond movies to include TV content, streaming content, and even music videos, often without incurring licensing fees.

Promotional Benefits

A comprehensive content promotional partnership platform that utilizes the brand's planned media and retail footprint provides not only provides brand differentiation in a crowded marketplace it also provides:

  • A soft and welcome introduction to the entertainment partner's already receptive fan base.
  • Interesting, engaging, and 'cool' content to leverage brand advertising
  • Heightened product placement opportunities that may exist within the entertainment content
  • Easily adapted content to generate social media conversation - and even branded content
  • A 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 and many of the streaming platforms – find it beneficial to partner with a brand and actively seek these marketing partnerships.

Studios have two primary costs to filmmaking: creating the film and marketing the film. When the 'right' brand partnerships are formed, the studio wins by reducing their overall costs to market the movie 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, including the retail stores your brand is sold in and the brand's packaging and point of sale signage in these stores.

Maximizing Product Placement through Promotional Partnerships in Entertainment Properties

To make your brand stand out in a property, consider supporting it with a promotion. A promotional partnership can help drive awareness of the property, sell movie tickets for theatrical releases, increase sign-ups for streaming platforms, and drive downloads and sales for music artists.

Filmmakers are more likely to ensure product placement opportunities exist and remain in the final edit when a promotion is attached to the film. The studio understands the importance of having brand partners implement a larger co-promotion and the potential ramifications of not supporting the film in terms of lost marketing dollars if the placement exposure does not occur.

It's important to note that films can still be a great promotional fit even if the storyline does not allow for natural product placement. Historical period productions, for example, often don't have product placement except for luxury brands, watches, and alcohol. However, a storyline can still be an excellent fit for a brand to leverage, along with A-list star power. Historical productions can appeal to a higher-end target demographic and be great films to build partnerships around for film festivals and get great press.

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The Cost of Partnerships in Entertainment Marketing

In the US, there's usually no direct fee paid by the brand to the production for promotional opportunities, aside from costs to create commercial content and an agency fee to execute the activation. However, internationally, payments may be required due to third-party representation of the films outside of the direct studio. Licensing fees may also be in place for television properties as the commercial model differs from theatrical releases, and the intellectual property is viewed differently.

The primary objective is to create mutually beneficial opportunities for both the brand and production partner. Final campaign requirements are determined based on planned media support, retail activations, and event/premiere party extensions. In some cases, ancillary licensing or talent fees may be necessary, such as when one of the film's stars is needed for customized ads or voice-overs.

Quote Of The Week: The Cost of Promoting Movies is Almost as Large as the Cost of the Movie

"The cost of promoting movies, the advertising and promotion of a movie, the budget is almost as large as the cost of the movie." 

- Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough was a British actor, director, producer, and entrepreneur. He was known for his roles in classic films such as "Brighton Rock," "The Great Escape," and "Jurassic Park," as well as his award-winning directing work on "Gandhi," which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1983. Additionally, Attenborough was a prominent figure in the British film industry and served as the president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for over a decade.

He was right. Movie marketing costs a lot, with studios often spending almost as much on marketing as on production. For example, the marketing budget for "Jurassic Park" was around $65 million, while "Jurassic World" had a marketing budget of $185 million, reflecting the increased importance of marketing in modern Hollywood. Both movies had extensive campaigns that included trailers, TV spots, print ads, and merchandise tie-ins, with "Jurassic World" also featuring a viral marketing campaign. Ultimately, the campaigns were successful in generating buzz and anticipation, leading to massive box office success for both films.

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Navigating Promotional Partnerships with Hollywood: A Step-by-Step Guide

Take a look below at four suggested steps to ensure a successful promotion for your brand.

Step 1: Establishing Objectives for Promotional Partnerships

To ensure a successful promotional partnership, the brand manager should determine the overall objective of the collaboration. A focused objective results in a more on-target, well-rounded partnership that achieves the desired outcome. Consider the following when determining the objective:

  • Increase brand awareness and sales
  • Focus on the unique timing of the year/quarter/month
  • Develop a promotion that resonates with the target audience
  • Create a multi-layered promotional program that links the brand to the entertainment property
  • Leverage the retailer/brand assets to drive product sales
  • Generate publicity for the entertainment property and retailer/brand
  • Provide detailed specifics, such as specific sales goals or impression targets, to establish the backbone of the promotion.

Step 2: Identifying Brand Assets for Promotional Partnerships

After establishing the objective of the promotional partnership, the brand manager should determine which assets the brand can offer to utilize for the promotion. These assets may include:

  • Media: TV, print, online, radio, or out-of-home advertising. The property does not require a new commitment of advertising dollars but wants the brand to leverage its existing advertising buy to showcase the promotion with their property.
  • Retail store exposure: Standees, shelf-talkers, display units, gift with purchase, and other options.
  • Sweepstakes: Options for giveaways and contests.
  • Customized content: Ringtones, microsites, video games, or licensed merchandise.
  • Collaboration with other brands as potential partners.

Step 3: Creating a Letter of Intent for Promotional Partnerships

The brand or agency should prepare a letter of intent that outlines the promotion and lists the brand's assets available to support the partnership. Include as many metrics as possible, such as the number of stores where the brand is sold and their foot traffic. Also, specify what you want the partner to provide in exchange for the promotion.

If you need footage to create ads, ask for it. Ask for those opportunities if you want to host a screening program in specific cities or run ads in the movie theater lobby before the film plays. Asking is key to receiving, so don't hesitate to make requests. An experienced agency can help you leverage and customize the partnership to a high degree.

Step 4: Presenting to the Property, Resolving Issues, and Executing the Campaign

The brand management team and agency must collaborate with the partner to establish timelines for deliverables due from both sides, which is crucial to keeping the promotion on track. Consistent communication is key to ensuring success once the campaign is activated so that both parties can manage expectations, and any issues that arise can be openly and promptly addressed.

Effective communication is the most critical factor in ensuring that these deals go smoothly. Over-communicating and ensuring that all partners remain on the same page is vital. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle, and there are many critical dates to focus on for approvals to guarantee campaign success and bring it to life.

 product placement infographic - free download

The Next Steps

Things go awry. Often. It's all part of working in a very creative space with creative people. If you want to work with Hollywood, it's just a fact you will have to accept. There has never - EVER - been a project that I have worked on that has been utterly seamless from A to Z. There are always changes, always hurdles. Sometimes it means chaos. It usually means a bit of a mess for at least a beat. But the result? Worth it. It's why brands who have figured out the power of co-promotional marketing with Hollywood return time and time.

 The land of opportunity means many bright shiny objects distract and get attention - and you need to make sure that focus stays on your brand, and you remain top of mine. With few exceptions who have dialed it in after trial upon the trial of partnerships built out and tested, most brands will be well-served to enlist an agency specializing 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 is aware of all viable opportunities, 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 to ensure a seamless process.

 If you are interested in creating massive consumer awareness by leveraging what you already have in your marketing arsenal that can be positioned to be valuable to the production - shoot me a note. We can help. These are the types of campaigns we build every day.  

Final Step: Preparing for Hurdles and Seeking Agency Support

It's common for things to go awry when working in a highly creative space with creative individuals, especially when working with Hollywood. Changes and hurdles are inevitable, and chaos may ensue, but the end result is worth it. Brands that understand the power of co-promotional marketing with Hollywood return time and time again.

With many distractions in the land of opportunity, remaining focused on the brand and top of mind is crucial. Most brands will benefit from enlisting an agency specializing in entertainment marketing. An experienced agency will have established relationships, industry know-how, and proven experience, ensuring the brand knows all viable opportunities and red flags and how to address them. The agency will be the primary point of contact to ensure a seamless process, providing all production assets and materials.

Watch the Video

10 Successful Co-Branded Film Promotional Partnerships: A Look at Brands That Scored Big

Here are 10 examples of partnerships you may remember where the production, brand and their agency teams did an excellent job.

1. Coca-Cola and James Bond: Coca-Cola and James Bond have had a long-standing partnership. In the 2008 Bond film "Quantum of Solace," Coca-Cola created limited-edition Coke Zero bottles with Bond-themed packaging. Additionally, they ran a sweepstakes where fans could win a trip to London to attend the film's premiere.

2. Dodge and "Fast and Furious": Dodge partnered with the "Fast and Furious" franchise for multiple films, including "Fast Five," "Fast and Furious 6," and "Furious 7." Dodge's vehicles were prominently featured in the films and created special edition models like the Dodge Charger SRT8 featured in "Fast Five."

3. Mercedes-Benz and "Jurassic World": Mercedes-Benz partnered with "Jurassic World" to create a limited-edition GLE Coupe model featured in the film. The vehicle was also used in a viral marketing campaign where a Jurassic World-themed Mercedes was displayed in a glass enclosure at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Jurassic World and Mercedes Promotional Partnership

4. Beats by Dre and "Straight Outta Compton": Beats by Dre partnered with the film "Straight Outta Compton" to release a limited-edition line of headphones with the film's logo and artwork. The headphones were advertised with a video featuring members of N.W.A.

5. Subway and "Jurassic World": Subway partnered with "Jurassic World" to create a sandwich based on the film's theme, the "Mesozoic Meal." The sandwich was promoted heavily in Subway's marketing campaign for the film.

6. Under Armour and "Batman v Superman": Under Armour partnered with the film "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" to create a line of superhero-themed workout gear. The collection featured shirts, shorts, and shoes inspired by Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

7. Samsung and "The Avengers": Samsung partnered with the "Avengers" franchise for multiple films, including "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Avengers: Infinity War." Samsung's products were featured in the films, including the Galaxy S6, which was used by Tony Stark in "Age of Ultron."

Samsung Galaxy Promotion With Avengers

8. Nike and "Back to the Future": Nike partnered with the "Back to the Future" franchise to create the Nike Air Mag, a replica of the shoes worn by Marty McFly in the films. The shoes were released as a limited edition and sold at auction, with the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

9. CoverGirl and "The Hunger Games": CoverGirl partnered with "The Hunger Games" franchise to release a line of makeup based on the film's themes. The collection featured products like "Flamed Up Mega Curl Mascara" and "The Capitol Collection Lip Gloss."

10. Budweiser and "Transformers": Budweiser partnered with the "Transformers" franchise for multiple films, including "Transformers: Age of Extinction." The beer was prominently featured in the film, with scenes of characters drinking Budweiser and the company's logo appearing in multiple scenes.

If you want to leverage your existing marketing arsenal to create massive consumer awareness and find value for the production, reach out for support. This type of campaign is what we specialize in building every day.

Eager To Learn More? More On Product Placement & Co-Promotions!

While you're at it, check out some of the other blogs we have written on product placement and branded partnerships!

Are you interested in integrating product placement into your entertainment marketing mix, but don’t know where to start? Our short video helps give you a broad overview and next steps to make it happen for your brand!

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