View this email in your browser
Sub-Genre Media Newsletter:
Semi-frequent musings on indie film, media, branded content and related items from Brian Newman.

In This Issue

Brian Newman & Sub-Genre Media

Learn more about Brian Newman & Sub-Genre at 

Keep Up With Brian:

Finland's Unknown Soldier Branded Content Example

Finland for the Win in Best Branded Content maybe ever, with The Unknown Soldier: I don’t know how I missed this, but AdWeek tipped me off this week (read their article, it’s great), and the film premiered back in October overseas. In what I think is a first, the filmmakers behind The Unknown Soldier, funded the majority of their film with multiple brands, who also supported the marketing of the film in a big way – helping the film to become the largest box office success in Finland (and it did well elsewhere). Sure, lots of brands have sponsored films, but this goes to another level.
The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna (1954) is Finland’s most popular book, and it had been made into a movie twice before, as well as plays and an Opera. But 2017 was the 100th Year of Independence in Finland, which was a great time to re-make the film and get the entire country celebrating the Centenary.  The book, and the film, tell the story of Finland fighting to keep its independence from the Soviet Union during WWII (they may have to do this again now that TrumpPutin are meeting in Helsinki soon…). So as AdWeek quotes Eka Ruola, the CEO of Hasan & Partners, “We want to make sure this story does not go forgotten—because it’s one of the most important stories for the Finnish national identity. We needed our Saving Private Ryan.”
So director/producer Aku Louhimies worked with ad agency Hasan & Partners to help produce the film and approach brands for support. Multiple big Finnish brands joined on, with about 26 corporate partners (by my count from their website), along with traditional media partners and Finnish broadcasters, distributors, film funds and investors. Brands included a food companies, a milk company, Land Rover, and many more. WikiPedia says rumors have it “that Rafale International, a defense aviation manufacturer whose Dassault Rafale fighter was one of the aircraft in consideration to replace the Finnish Air Force's fleet of F/A-18 Hornets, was the film's main partner.”
Because it was a historical film, none were able to do product placement, but Louhimies and the team built a platform where each brand could activate around the film leading up to its release. So Land Rover didn’t have its vehicles in the film, but Louhimies made short form content showing the cast and crew using their vehicles in the production. The National Lottery, Veikkaus, sent emails to its best customers to help cast the roles of 3000 extras – and ended up with 14,000 video submissions.
Each brand got very creative with how it supported the film. According to AdWeek again: “Other activations, all supported on social media, included national TV campaigns from different companies including food brand Jalostaja, and beverage brand Meira. A special edition of the Finnish magazine Tuntematon, by media brand Alma Media, was released in August 2017 and songs were recorded, including one from a top band that reached  No. 1 in the country.” Local milk producer Valio also produced an AR piece that could be viewed on millions of milk cartons distributed throughout Finland (see the video from Vimeo, or the image above). More images from the campaign are below.
All of this worked so seamlessly in support of the film because they started working with brands 18 months in advance. In an interview with CNBC, the producers say that the combined impact of this marketing gave them 10 times more visibility compared to its own marketing budget. And that led to success – in fact, it’s one of the most successful films in Finland. Their goal was 700,000 viewers, but sold over 1 Million tickets – in a country of just 5.4 Million people. They had over 20 Million social views and a box office of over $14 Million (as AdWeek noted, Titanic is the second highest grossing film there with $8 Million in box).
That’s quite a great success story, and one that I hope could be copied in the US. For example, we need a massive effort to combat a lot of what Trump is doing – on immigration, public lands, civility, the Court, okay- the list is unending. But instead of disparate efforts, it would be great to see a similar collaboration here.
Imagine if NatGeo (the magazine and the broadcaster) teamed up with a major distributor like A24 and worked with Patagonia, REI, Keen, The North Face, the 200 folks who have signed up to support public lands, major consumer brands like Adidas, major foundations like Ford and MacArthur, nonprofits like the Nature Conservancy, and investors like Impact Partners, and they worked with Sundance to enlist a great filmmaker, and Omnicom to devise a marketing campaign, and all work together to make and release a gigantic film about public lands. That would have actual impact, and we need it – for this and many issues.

Stuff I'm Reading

Trump Bites. Bill Plympton has made some awesome little videos for the NYT Op-Docs, called Trump Bites, as in sound bites, and he has a great Kickstarter going to raise money to make more with 110th St. Films.
Trump Inspires Nicolas Winding Refn : Nicolas Windig Refn has been shooting in the US, and he thinks Trump has made America crazy and we need art to save us. As he writes in the Guardian about the launch of his new website
“The future must be different. I want it to be an uncontrolled place of beautiful chaos, where everyone can create their own universe and is free to speak their own mind, without being overseen by big business. A place of free speech and free access.
Over recent years, I’ve bought and had restored scores of old movies as a hobby. I wondered what to do with them. Then I realised I should share them for free, so I set up a website where they could be streamed. There’s no catch; you’re not being sold anything. Take it or leave it.”
He continues: “Donald Drumpf was elected on the promise he’d make America great again. Older voters rushed at the chance to return to a comforting fairytale. But they are not the same people who will inherit the US and have to heal its divisions. And the past was rarely this scary.”  Looks like an upcoming trove of trash and inspiration both.
More Crowd-Funding I Like: Two campaigns to fund this week:
Pete’s Candy Store: This is their last week, and it’s a great time to make a film about an Iranian immigrant to the US who has created a haven of diverse culture- and ice cream – in the East Village.
The Motorcycle Man: He’s a bad-ass. Support their last dozen hours.
Copyright © 2018 Brian Newman, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp