When the NBA closed its season last year due to an epidemic, one of the first phone calls Chris paul Made to Hollywood producer Brian Grazer. Mr. Paul, then a point guard with the Oklahoma Thunder, knew that he wanted to chronicle what was going on, and he wanted Mr. Grazer’s help.
“The idea was, basically, everything that happened in that night was filmed and what was going to happen,” Mr. Paul said. “We had no clue what would happen next.”
The result was “The Day Sports Stud Still”, a documentary about the shutdown. NBA pandemic bubble And the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on the league. (Mr. Paul appears in the film and is an executive producer.) This is a picture of the ways the epidemic blamed the sports world, but also an example of how Kovid-19 has pushed the entertainment industry forward .
The film, which debuts on HBO and HBO Max on Wednesday, is by Mr. Grazer Imagine entertainment And a new gateway to Hollywood: Waffle Iron Entertainment, Nike’s production unit.
By sticking with more people at home and their streaming services, many of which do not allow advertising, companies are finding that they need to be creative about the ways in which audiences no longer watch 30-second ads are seeing. More traditional Hollywood production companies are envisioning feature films such as “The Day Sports Stud Still,” influenced by Naik’s ethos, but traditional branding is not used to seeing any of the audience is.
“The best partnership you have is a wedding where the themes between the company and the story are aligned,” Mr. Grazer said in an interview. “If you’ve got Chris Paul and Nike, it’s a part of marketing, an additional component of why anyone would see it. They will feel that Nike has endorsed it and Naik does good things. “
Data from research firm WARC showed that in 2020 the number of advertisers spending on broadcast television declined by 10 percent from the previous year, while online video spending declined by 7.5 percent. Most of that money has gone to streaming services such as Hulu, YouTube and More, which accept advertisements. But those who do not allow advertisements such as Netflix are still unavailable for traditional marketing.
“Entertainment is giving fewer and fewer opportunities for consumers to connect with consumers,” said Justin Wilkus, chief creative officer of Imagine Entertainment. “One of the final ways is through long-form content. It is all circular. This underscores the early days of advertising and the great entertainment program. “
Brands have associated themselves with films and television as long as mediums have existed. For example, long before he became president, Ronald Reagan hosted a popular “General Electric TheaterTelevision show from 1954 to 1962.
Over the past decade, branded filmmaking has only grown rapidly.
Patagonia produced a feature-length documentary about dams, called “Damnation, “In 2014. Pepsi Supports 2018 Film”Uncle Drew, “Which reimagined basketball star Kyrie Irving from a popular series of Pepsi commercial advertisements to his septuagenarian character. The film grossed $ 42 million and marked one of the first branded entertainment campaigns to be converted into a major motion picture. “Gay Chorus Deep South,” a documentary Manufactured by AirbnbDebuted on the festival circuit in 2019 “Ted Lasso” Started his life as an NBC Sports promotion to acquire broadcast rights for the English Premier League.
Entertainment Entertainment, a production company founded in 1985 by Mr. Grazer and Ron Howard, formed Imagine Brands in 2018 with filmmakers, hiring Mr. Wilkes and Mark Gilber, creators of the “Uncle Drew” Pepsi campaign and an executive producer. On film, to run the group. The division has produced feature-length documentaries and fiction films with its partners, including Unilever, Walmart and Ford.
Kalpana is also working with consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. To help sponsor the serial radio drama in the 1930s, the company effectively created Soap Opera to promote its soap products, envisioning a feature-length film called “Mars 2080 “Is called. It will be directed by Eliza McNitt and will begin production later this year. The film, released dramatically by IMAX in 2022 before moving to the streaming service, focuses on a family living on Mars.
It ran out of breakfast in New York in 2019, where Mr. Wilkes, Mr. Howard and Mark Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, discussed the technology in the pipeline. The Imagine team later visited Procter & Gamble’s research laboratories in Cincinnati, seeing examples of their “future products” and meeting their scientists.
Kimberly Dobeiren, vice president of Procter & Gamble’s future advertising division, said the company hopes the “cost of shaving brand”, such as a four-part sports documentary, will help produce shaving brand Gillette. It made its HBO debut in November.
“We want to be more interesting so consumers are leaning into our experiences and we are creating content that they want to see as opposed to messages that are annoying to them.” “There’s a way to find content that’s in places where ads don’t exist, there’s definitely a reason why we’re leaning into it.”
Dipanjan Chatterjee, an analyst at Forrester, said this is part of a deliberate shift by brands to try to integrate themselves fully into the lives of consumers. And they want to do it without advertisements, which, they said, have “zero credibility” with consumers.
“If the right story has the right content and it becomes worthwhile to share, then it doesn’t come as an intrusive bit of advertising,” Mr. Chatterjee said. “It feels like a natural part of our lives.”
Alessandro Uzzeli, head of Ford Motor Company’s global brand and entertainment division, first met with Imagine Brands in early 2018. He was looking for a way to step up Ford’s advertising campaign for his Reloaded Bronco with a piece of entertainment that would reach a younger audience. . The result was “John Bronco”, a 37-minute-long joke directed by Jake Szymanski (“Mike and Dave’s Wedding Weddings Dates”) and starring by Walton Goggins (“Justified”), the greatest fictional Pitman ever.
The short film earned a slot at the Tribeca Film Festival and is now streaming on Hulu. In addition to featuring guest venues from Tim Meadows, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bo Derek, it helps remodel the Bronco, a sports utility vehicle pulled by the automaker in the mid-1990s.
“It helped us speak to the audience that we probably weren’t going to speak on our own,” Mr. Uzelie said.
“It was a project of imagination, and we did not want to cloud their process, to realize that it was too much sales work.”
Mr. Szymanski, who has directed both feature films and commercials for Des Durango, including an advertisement starring Will Ferrell’s “anchorman” character Ron Burgundy, said Ford allowed him a great deal of creative freedom. “I think they could have tried to cast a lot more shadows than that,” he said.
Now, Imagine, Mr. Szymanski and Mr. Goggins are trying to turn John Bronco into the next Ted Lasso – an effort in the early stages of development.
“It’s like a win,” Mr. Szymanski said of a possible television series based on the Mr. Goggins character. “I don’t think Ford would have any creative control over this, but there would be a character in the world named John Bronco, which would be a good thing for him.”