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Intel and Toshiba join forces to fight zombie alien mustaches

Intel partnered with Toshiba to produce a social film series last year. As they reveal a new series coming up, it makes sense to take a look at this as a brand strategy.

Way back in 2001, BMW introduced the world to the social films concept with an innovative series called “The Hire.” This group of eight short films starred such notable A-list celebrities as Clive Owen as the driver, Madonna in a story about a miserable starlet who gets a bit of humble pie, Mickey Rourke, James Brown and Gary Oldman in a Faustian tale, and others. Each film was directed by one of the best in the industry, such as Guy Ritchie, Tony Scott and John Frankenheimer. They were sensational. Their popularity wasn’t only because powerhouse names were involved, but also because they represented a new way of thinking about branding. The BMW brand was not broadcast in any overt way. It just happened to be the car used in these films. The stories were pure entertainment, so you could share them without thinking that you were somehow pushing a brand on people.

Also innovative at the time was that consumers had to seek out the content themselves; it wasn’t pushed through major media such as television. BMW sales increased by 12% in 2001 from the previous year and the movies were viewed over 11 million times in just four months. This result is stunning when you consider that YouTube didn’t exist and viral marketing was in its infancy. As the films gained traction, BMW even produced DVDs for customers who visited certain BMW dealerships.

BMW sales increased by 12% in 2001 from the previous year and the movies were viewed over 11 million times in just four months. This result is stunning when you consider that YouTube didn’t exist and viral marketing was in its infancy.

Intel and Toshiba joined forces to produce the award-winning social film, “The Beauty Inside,” which had a similar strategy. For some strange reason, those films no longer appear to be available on the web. But next month the two companies are introducing their next phase of the effort with a new six-part series premiering August 15.

“The Power Inside” stars Harvey Keitel, Craig Roberts, Analeigh Tipton, Reid Ewing and Zack Pearlman in an odd story of aliens who disguise themselves as mustaches, turning people into unthinking drones. Seems like a fun concept, as the trailer below suggests. With the help of his friends, technology and ordinary people like you, the main character learns how he can stop the invasion. I’m not sure if the company is being clever enough to minimize any overt references to their products. Let’s hope so, but naturally Toshiba notebooks feature prominently in the story line.

You can visit thepowerinside.com to audition to be in the film, either as a bad guy or good guy. The series launches August 15 at facebook.com/insidefilms

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rCuUBpTZE_U

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George Pytlik

George Pytlik has been involved in the advertising industry for over 30 years and designed his first website when the Internet was one year old. He was an internationally recognized speaker on advertising and branding and served on a number of communication committees at various times throughout his career, as well as writing a regular column for Marketing magazine.

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