Trend - BITE sized marketing trends

Escape to the movies

How Hollywood is pushing the boundaries of brand storytelling

Pearl, the first Oscar nominated VR film, part of the Google Spotlight Story series

It’s awards season time! Last year Leo finally received his Oscar, but only after sleeping inside an animal carcass and eating a raw bison liver. This year the critics’ favourite film is the more joyous La La Land, an ode to Hollywood’s everlasting love affair with itself. Whether you prefer the bleak mountainscapes of Canada or the dreamy jazz bars of LA, the cinema experience is one of escapism. Something many people crave right now.

2017 is the first year a VR film has been nominated for an Oscar. Pearl is the heartwarming story of a father and daughter relationship over the course of their lives. The animated short was created as part of the Google Spotlight Story series, a project that sees animators collaborate with the tech giant to create cutting-edge story development software for 360-degree mobile platforms.

The introduction of VR into the world of filmmaking is an interesting and exciting one. Whereas traditional movies have always led us through a scripted narrative, VR offers up multiple points of view. Much like experiential theatre, each participant will have their own unique experience, depending upon what they choose to interact with.

Injecting Hollywood glamour into the commercial world of brands is moving away from Clooney drinking coffee and Aniston sleeping on a plane. More compelling creativity comes from collaboration with the most talented storytellers and story-makers. We’re not talking about celebrity Creative Director titles, which are often just an alternative way of saying brand ambassador. It’s about pushing the boundaries of storytelling, through new formats and technologies, and bringing the escapism of cinema to the small screen.

#StopThisMovie, Genocide in Burundi: A Film By Pierre Nkurunziza, We Are Social Paris

FIDH trailer is the movie you don’t want to see

FIDH (International Federation of Human Rights) launched a campaign that centres around a shocking trailer to a fake movie. The aim is to raise public awareness about the risk of genocide in Burundi, and is a call out to the UN to intervene before it’s too late.

The film entitled Genocide in Burundi: A Film By Pierre Nkurunziza (the President of Burundi), is edited to resemble a real movie trailer, and takes inspiration from films such as Hotel Rwanda and The Last King of Scotland, which are based on actual African tragedies.

The campaign ran alongside the hashtag #StopThisMovie, and is a powerful message that if the situation in Burundi continues to deteriorate, this fictional trailer could become a reality. At the end viewers are invited to sign a petition asking the UN to deploy a peacekeeping mission to protect the civilian population and prevent a possible genocide.

Genocide in Burundi: A Film By Pierre Nkurunziza was first shown on the French movie platform AlloCiné (similar to IMDB). It was also shown for one week on an electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square, as well as in French theatres alongside real movie trailers.

Agency: We Are Social, Paris

people have signed the petition to date
people have fled the country
#StopThisMovie, Genocide in Burundi: A Film By Pierre Nkurunziza, We Are Social Paris
#StopThisMovie, Genocide in Burundi: A Film By Pierre Nkurunziza, We Are Social Paris

Lion gets political in the LA Times

Oscar nominee for Best Picture - Lion, took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times to voice the studio’s anger over its struggle to get eight-year-old actor Sunny Pawar a visa.  The ad follows President Donald Trump's travel ban, which will make it more difficult to enter and work in the US. Lion is the story of a five-year-old boy Saroo, played by Pawar, as he embarks on a journey from the streets of India, to loving Australian parents, and back. A story that resonates with current political conversations. The ad reads: “It took an extraordinary effort to get eight-year-old actor Sunny Pawar a visa so that he could come to America for the very first time. Next year that might not be an option”. At first Pawar was denied a Visa to enter the US to attend the premiere of his breakout role, only pressure from the Weinstein Company saw this overturned.

Coen Brothers’ Super Bowl spot for Mercedes

The Mercedes AMG brand is known by performance drivers, but not so well by the wider automotive community, which is why the brand chose the Super Bowl as their stage. To create a story that would really cut through the noise they employed Hollywood talent the Coen Brothers to direct the TV spot. The creative is a tribute to the 1969 film Easy Rider; its star, Peter Fonda; and its famed soundtrack, Born to be Wild. “Peter Fonda plays a critical piece of the storyline, and he’s known as someone who still epitomizes what it is to love driving performance and the open road. … The film [Easy Rider] component goes back 48 years. We thought there was a nice parallel that was set up between the era of that and what was, in 1967, the beginnings of AMG,” said Drew Slaven, Vice President of Marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA.

Agency: Antoni, Berlin & Merkley + Partners, New York

Coen Brothers’ Super Bowl spot for Mercedes-AMG

The John Malkovich movie you will never see

At the end of 2015, American filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and actor director John Malkovich made a movie that no one currently alive will ever see. The film called 100 Years, was financed by French cognac maker Louis XIII de Remy Martin, a brand that prides itself on taking 100 years to craft. Malkovich wrote the script and stars as the hero, but few other details of the plot are known. The film is a "delicate relationship between the past, the present and the future," said Malkovich. "It's really, for us, a tribute to the mastery of time." The completed film has been placed in a bulletproof glass safe with a timer that marks the countdown. An exclusive trailer and three teasers can be viewed on YouTube. Viewers are invited to join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #notcomingsoon.  

Agency: Fred & Farid, New York

John Malkovich makes the movie you will never see

About the author

Kara Melchers, Managing Editor, BITE

Kara has editorial control over BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She runs BITE INSPIRE sessions in the UK and US, for brands including Virgin Atlantic, A.G. BARR, British Gas and Pepsico. She also presents at our BITE LIVE events series and industry festivals in London and New York. Get in touch if you’re working on an interesting project