Film directors are a funny, yet evolving breed. Many still protect their art form in the most parental way, others open it up for pimping. The ones that get it right are collaborating, knowing that brands can help fund movies, help promote movies, and create additional conversations beyond the plot & characters.
Collaborative marketing was at the centre of Transformers. Michael Bay seems to get the value of creating branded opportunities and it was this area which saw the partnership with Lenovo. In the film Autobot Wheelie’s sidekick, Brains, masks as a quiet ThinkPad Edge Plus laptop that turns into a transformer with its own character traits, voice, temperament and life. As Brains helps protagonist Sam Witwicky fulfill his destiny the audience gets a sense of the laptop’s imaginative nature and function.
“We’re seeing an increasing number of Chinese brands looking to product placement as a way to amplify their brand awareness and influence. However, seamlessly integrating products into films in ways that will really connect with consumers requires creativity and skill. It requires professional expertise to successfully integrate branded content into not only the movie itself but also into everything from trailers to bloopers, posters and billboards to branded merchandise. Ogilvy Entertainment has a solid presence and network in Hollywood and can connect our clients to the world’s entertainment capital,” added Ogilvy Entertainment’s Zhang.
I don’t think product placement can work without collaboration. This relieves the forced nature of many product placements giving it a more natural feel, fitting in with the Director’s vision for the film. I quite like this but sadly couldn’t find any visual of it anywhere.