How is a brand film different than a traditional advertising campaign? Why are more brands exploring storytelling as a way to attract an audience?
The difference between a brand film and an advertisement may not be the film itself, but rather the intent of the film. If it is intended to attract and engage an audience rather than distract and interrupt an audience, it is likely more brand film than ad.
Distribution is playing a defining role here, too. If the film relies solely on interruptive paid media to garner an audience, then it is likely more ad than brand film. But if it is promoted and distributed as content or entertainment – while still driving business results, of course – then it’s likely more brand film than ad.
Some might say the length of the film can define it, but I’d argue that many 60-second commercials operate as a brand film, and that lots of long commercials are masquerading as brand films.
In summary, intent, distribution, and execution matter.
What tips would you give to brands on their mission to create content?
The mission should be to express a brand platform in the most compelling, effective, and efficient manner. Don’t set out to "create content," set out to express your brand in ways that make people want to spend time and money with your brand. Still, you might find that content is a great way to do just that.
As for an actual tip: If you commit to creating a brand film, actually commit. Fund it properly, choose your partners wisely, distribute and promote it meaningfully, and define the role the film will play in the overall campaign so you and your partners know what success looks like.
How do you create artistic integrity when working with a brand?
Artistic integrity is a loaded term. Avoid it while committing wholly to a world-class creative product.
A brand film is not pure art. It is a marketing solution that uses art to draw people to one brand over another. The entire team should be committed to the idea that the role of a brand film is not pure entertainment; a brand film needs to be part of an overall platform that drives business results. The "integrity" needs to apply to every aspect of the platform, not just the art.
That said, the fact a film is by or for a brand is no excuse to create anything less than something great. Brand films may have to work harder to be entertaining or engaging. If the audience is less-than-thrilled, then why go to the trouble? Just bother them with another annoying ad. Make your brand film Sundance-worthy, or even Oscar-worthy.
What makes a great brand film? Give some examples of films from over the years.
Sorry to be repetitive, but a great brand film is a great film that drives brand and business results. It’s that simple.
If it’s not a great film, then no one will see it or care if they do. And if it doesn’t drive brand and business results then it isn’t a brand film, it’s entertainment for entertainment’s sake.
Here are a few examples off the top of my head and in no particular order. Some are recent and some are not so recent, some we at CAA had something to do with, most we did not.
Some are a little out of context without the campaign around them, but all of them stand on their own as films, and all of them were part of successful, effective marketing campaigns.
Some of our favorite brand films:
Jae Goodman, 2018 jury chair, Brand Film Festival
Jae Goodman is CEO of CAA Marketing, a Stagwell Media and CAA Company. Under Goodman’s leadership, CAA Marketing has grown exponentially and expanded internationally, including recent global initiatives for Budweiser, Coca-Cola, and Canada Goose. In 2016, Goodman was elected to the Board of the Effies and served as the inaugural president of the Cannes Lions Entertainment Jury.