The Future. Prolific manager and producer Michael Sugar of Sugar23 (Spotlight, The Knick) believes there’s a rich opportunity for brands to take a bigger role in producing and financing premium film and TV. With Hollywood studios recently crying poor because of their transition into streaming, the entertainment industry may welcome the opportunity to collaborate with some deep-pocketed partners.
According to Sugar, any company can have their Barbie moment.
- Sugar argues that instead of pouring millions into traditional advertising and DTC marketing, brands should instead produce and finance movies and shows that reflect their audiences and values.
- For example, that could look like Coca-Cola doing their version of Ted Lasso, or a sports apparel company doing their version of Friday Night Lights.
- Sugar points to how popular titles have been a boon for featured products, like chess in The Queen’s Gambit and skateboarding in Back to the Future.
- Sugar23 has already experimented with this model with its docuseries The Turning Point, which was financed by P&G and ended up on MSNBC.
So, what do brands get out of this arrangement? For starters, they get access to stars who don’t want to do commercials and stronger connections with their audiences. And that’s not to mention the ability to use product placement where appropriate, a bigger direct return on their marketing investment, and ad revenue from other brands that want in on what cool thing was created.
That’s some literal big-screen marketing.