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  • Writer's pictureJane Hayes Consulting

The Rise of Brand Marketing Movies as a Powerful Marketing Strategy.

Updated: 18 hours ago


A collage on a light blue background, showing chariters from famous movies.

Every day, we are exposed to countless marketing messages. These can come from the ads in your favourite podcast, the poster on your way to the train or the flyers at the checkout at your favourite café. According to reports, we are exposed to approximately 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day! Some messages are in your face, some are subtle and gradually creep into your subconscious, and others can be under the guise of entertainment. Today, we look at marketing movies and product placement, the sector of marketing that is stealthy and can further ingratiate a brand into the cultural zeitgeist. Recently, we have seen a prime example of this with the Barbie movie, but it’s not the first time a brand has entered the entertainment space, and it won’t be the last.


Previously, Lego entered the movie world with a series of movies that were box office hits. Trolls entered cinemas in 2016, and the list continues. For many brands, creating a film based on a product or brand story can create additional emotional connection to new and younger customers and tap into a sense of nostalgia with older audiences. As we are so overexposed to brand messages, a brand movie or product placement can be a way to cut through the noise, capturing the attention of the target audience.


By immersing viewers in captivating narratives that embody their brand's essence, values, and story, brands have found a new way to connect with their audience emotionally, leaving a lasting impression and building strong brand loyalty.


“According to an article from WWD, “Loo Wee Teck, head of toys and game at Euromonitor International, sees the movie jumpstarting interest in Barbie and dolls globally, which in 2022 generated $12.1 billion in sales and is forecasted to reach $12.5 billion in 2023. “


1. What Is A Brand or Marketing Movie?

2. Brand/Product Movies as Marketing Tools:

3. Product Placements In Movies And TV:

4. Examples of Brand Marketing Movies:

5. What Your Business Can Learn From Brand Marketing Movies:


A poster for the lego movie. A lego world constuction site, with the city in the background. In the forfront a crain holds the words lego movie in the air.

1. What is a brand or marketing movie?

These movies are created by brands with the central storyline focusing on a particular product or often a brand origin story. They’re not just an extended ad; they feature a solid plot and emotion, but the brand and its personality are central to the story. At times, they are created to reignite the love of a product or brand; at others, they are a way of creating a new product line and extending the brand universe.


2. Brand/Product Movies as Marketing Tools:

Movies centred around popular brands and or products have become a strategic marketing approach companies employ to create a strong connection between their products and the entertainment industry. These films combine storytelling, animation, and often humour to capture the attention of both children and their parents. While providing entertainment is the primary goal, these movies are practical promotional tools for the associated product lines and global brands.


Cross-Media Promotion:

Toy-based movies offer a unique opportunity for cross-media promotion. By bringing beloved characters and worlds to the big screen, companies can generate excitement, nostalgia, and interest in their toys among a broader audience. The success of a well-received movie can drive sales of related merchandise, including action figures, playsets, clothing, and accessories.


Marketing poster for air the movie.

Emotional Connection:

Movies have the power to create emotional connections with audiences. Children who watch characters they love onscreen develop a strong affinity for them and want to experience them beyond the movie. This emotional bond drives the desire for tangible toys and products featuring those characters, which the toy companies can capitalise on.


Extended Play and Engagement:

Toy-based movies often lead to extended play experiences. Children engage in imaginative play, recreating movie scenes or inventing their adventures with the characters. This kind of play reinforces the brand's impact and fosters children's creativity and cognitive development.


Expanding Brand Awareness:

Movies with product or brand tie-ins expand a brand's visibility. Children who haven't encountered the toys before the film are likelier to recognise and become interested in them afterwards, and adults can be more likely to consider a brand or product after exposure. This increased exposure can lead to increased sales and ongoing brand loyalty.


3. Product Placements In Movies And TV:

The lines between fiction and reality often blur, creating an immersive experience for audiences. Product placement is one of the most intriguing techniques contributing to this seamless blend. As you sink into your theatre seat or settle onto your couch, you will see real-world products' subtle—or not-so-subtle—appear integrated into the movie's or TV show's storyline. Product placement strategically includes specific products, brands, or logos within a movie's scenes, creating a symbiotic relationship between storytelling and marketing. This practice offers authenticity to the cinematic world and serves as a subtle advertising technique that exposes audiences to brands without overt interruption.


The Art of Seamlessness: Why Product Placement Works:


Contextual Integration:

Successful product placement hinges on its natural fit within the movie's environment. Unlike a forced advertisement, a character sipping a recognisable soft drink or using a popular gadget feels genuine. This contextual integration resonates more effectively with viewers.


Enhanced Realism:

Incorporating actual products into fictional settings adds an element of realism, making the world on screen feel relatable and relaying a sense of authenticity that captivates audiences.


Subconscious Branding:

Product placement taps into the subconscious mind, subtly imprinting brands and products. As viewers engage with the movie's or TV show's plot, the presence of these brands effortlessly weaves itself into their memory.


Brand Awareness:

The power of product placement lies in its ability to introduce or reinforce brand awareness. An audience's association of a brand with their favourite characters or memorable scenes can lead to lasting impressions.


Positive Aspects:


Win-Win Partnerships: Product placement provides financial support for movies, enabling filmmakers to enhance production quality while offering brands an effective avenue for exposure.


Character Enrichment: The products characters interact with often reflect their lifestyles, personalities, and interests, adding depth to their development.


Cultural Reflection: Products placed in movies mirror real-world cultural trends, reflecting society's preferences, values, and technological advancements.


Negative Aspects:


Subversion of Artistic Vision: In some cases, heavy-handed product placement can detract from a movie's artistic integrity, making it feel like an extended advertisement.


Distracting Subtext: If not done subtly, product placement can distract viewers from the story, distracting them with overt brand messaging.


Marketing poster for saving mr banks, the movie

4. Examples of Brand Marketing Movies:

We have recently been amid Barbie fever, and this movie is a prime example of a brand marketing movie. It’s a stunningly crafted tale that has captured imaginations and hearts, but it is a marketing movie. Below, we look at some prime examples of this marketing endeavour and its effects on the brand, cultural growth, and sales.


Lego - The Lego Movie:

"The Lego Movie" hit cinemas in 2014 and was backed by many famous voices. The movie was set around key Lego character Emmet on a mission to stop an evil tyrant's plans to conquer the world. The film was a box office hit and started a series of Lego movies that spoke to children and adults alike. The movie grossed $468.1 million worldwide, resulting in the brand releasing several building sets linking to the film. A video game followed, and the soundtrack could be heard in many households worldwide, adding to the movie's hold on its audience. According to a Guardian article from 2015, Lego saw a double-digit growth in brand sales: “It said it sold 62 billion Lego elements that year, amounting to 102 Lego bricks for every person in the world.”


Trolls - Trolls World Tour:

The movie Trolls came out in cinemas in 2016, and as it was heavily music-focused, it was backed by the voices of many global music artists and actors. Justin Timberlake acted as a voice artist and executive producer focusing on the film's playlist and released the international smash hit “Can’t Stop The Feeling, “ which boosted the movie's connection to its audience. By highlighting diverse music genres and celebrating different cultures, the film effectively reinforced the brand's values of acceptance, joy, and togetherness.


The movie's central characters, the trolls, have been around since 1959 but have become popular in waves like many toy brands and brands in general. The movie bolstered the toy sales, with movie ranges hitting stores upon the film's release. The movie grossed a worldwide total of $346.8 million.


Barbie:

Currently, the most famous of the genre is the Barbie movie. The long build-up to the movie meant that by the time it hit cinemas, audiences were frothing at the mouth to see the film, and it hasn’t disappointed audiences or Mattel. Currently, the movie has grossed a worldwide total of $1.34 billion, spawned numerous product releases and revived the love for the iconic doll across many an age range. The movie follows many loved Barbie characters, with the classic Barbie herself being the main attraction; it is filled with self-love and acceptance messages.


Though the film is a well-constructed story, it is a marketing/brand movie and an incredible example at that. According to an article from WWD, “Loo Wee Teck, head of toys and game at Euromonitor International, sees the movie jumpstarting interest in Barbie and dolls globally, which in 2022 generated $12.1 billion in sales and is forecasted to reach $12.5 billion in 2023. “


Poster for Barbie the movie. A blonde woman drives a pink convertible as a blonde man sits in the back seat. The background is a blue Skye.

5. What Your Business Can Learn From Brand Marketing Movies:

While the world of brand-backed movies might seem distant from SMEs' everyday operations, the underlying principles are remarkably applicable. Crafting compelling narratives, forging emotional connections, embracing creativity, and fostering engagement can help SMEs differentiate themselves in a competitive landscape. Just as a well-executed movie captivates audiences, SMEs that weave together marketing mastery and enchanting narratives can create a lasting impact that resonates far beyond the screen.


The Power of Storytelling: Crafting Compelling Narratives:

Brand-backed movies thrive on storytelling that resonates. SMEs can borrow this approach by creating narratives that captivate their audience's imagination. Whether it's the tale of your company's humble beginnings or the journey of a product from concept to creation, a compelling narrative adds depth and relatability to your brand.


Emotional Connection: Building Lasting Relationships:

Movies often evoke emotions that linger long after the credits roll. SMEs can tap into this by forging emotional connections with customers. Share stories aligning with your brand's values and aspirations, creating a sense of community and loyalty beyond transactional interactions.


Cross-Media Synergy: Expanding Reach:

Brand-backed movies extend their magic beyond the screen through merchandise and toys. Similarly, SMEs can explore synergistic opportunities, such as collaborations with influencers, partnerships, or limited-edition products. These strategies expand your brand's reach while offering customers a chance to engage with it in diverse ways.


Innovative Marketing: Creativity Drives Impact:

Movies often introduce inventive storytelling techniques and creative visuals. SMEs can embrace this creativity by experimenting with innovative marketing strategies. Consider utilising interactive content, immersive experiences, or unique branding initiatives to stand out in a competitive landscape.


Audience Engagement: Fostering Two-Way Communication:

Movies succeed by engaging their audience—prompting laughter, tears, and discussions. SMEs can adopt this principle by creating avenues for two-way communication. Listen to customer feedback, engage in social media conversations, and tailor your offerings based on what resonates with your audience.


Promotional poster for the Trolls movie. Animated troll dolls feature with Dreamworks Trolls sits in silver in the front.

Expanding Brand Universe: Diversify Offerings:

Brand-backed movies often lead to expanded universes, with characters taking on new adventures. Similarly, SMEs can diversify their offerings, introducing complementary products or services that align with their core brand identity. This approach encourages repeat business and attracts a broader customer base.





Jane Hayes Consulting, Leading You Through The Digital World:

Jane Hayes Consulting is an independent digital marketing agency founded to help businesses create consistent, creatively aligned, and strategic content. Jane Hayes Consulting can help you put your best foot forward with our expertly crafted team covering website design and building, marketing strategy, content creation, brand creation, and project management.


We work within budget restraints and look toward the future. Need assistance in developing your digital strategy and creating a business advantage? Contact Jane Hayes Consulting today and sign up for our newsletter.

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