How Investing in Indie Film Can Lead to an Oscar Winning Partnership

Brands can play an essential role in the dreams and successes of young filmmakers. Early investments in indie film can result in massive ROI.

By  Stephanie Dade
On 03/07/2018

Determining which marketing activities to pursue are always difficult for ROI driven marketers. This becomes especially challenging in regards to entertainment. Partnerships with indie film houses are no sure bets, but the results of relatively small investments can lead to dramatic returns for brands committed to entertainment as a marketing pillar.

Microsoft's strategic partnership with Branded Entertainment Network and Blumhouse Productions, resulted in prominent brand integration across the film GET OUT. The brand was pivotal in the story line, as characters searched, called, and texted throughout the film.

Brands benefit from early collaboration with content creators. In the case of "Get Out," the film has gained attention—and additional impressions—as a result of its nomination. While determining future Oscar nominees is a daunting challenge, it shouldn’t deter brands from taking a chance and working with emerging filmmakers. In order to establish a successful relationship, it is important for both brands and filmmakers to understand the following points.

Relationship building is a two-way street.
Relationships matter. This is an unavoidable fact that brands and filmmakers need to understand before jumping into any project. Like all great partnerships, trust is and will always remain at the core of every project. This means figuring out early on if there is an authentic role for a brand to play in a creator’s story. Is there a moment in a film that would benefit from a real-life brand?

Lightning in a bottle doesn’t happen every time.
Establishing relationships between brand and creator is key, but setting and managing expectations can be equally important. While there are hundreds of scripts that are thrown around Hollywood each year, only a relative few can end up as Oscar-nominated films. That should not deter brands from investing in talent. Brands should seek to empower content that tells a story they believe in, with characters that they feel with resonate with both audiences and their brand. Supporting an up-and-coming artist’s vision is something creators remember and is how long-term relationships are built. Not every film will result in recognition from the Academy, but it does help filmmakers to know there are supporters of their work willing to invest in their next project.

Brands need to be partners—not part of a transaction.
Maybe product integration is not right for a film. That does not mean a brand and a filmmaker cannot establish a rapport and working relationship. If either a brand or filmmaker goes into a project with the notion they are transacting and not collaborating, they should reevaluate their work together. It is important to align on outcomes and understand when a brand lends itself to a script—and when it doesn’t

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