Branded Documentary: Cause Marketing’s Best Media

SXSW Description

Procter & Gamble recently commissioned Flow Nonfiction to create a documentary film capturing one of its signature cause programs: Pantene Beautiful Lengths. PBL has donated over 272,000 ponytails for real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society, and also generated significant ROI for the brand itself. How and why has the program succeeded in making good on doing good?

Through communication innovation, like branded documentary film. Marketers and filmmakers, your union is at hand. Film-driven campaigns are setting a new standard of authenticity and ROI. PR and digital agencies are leveraging branded film assets through interactive, integrated campaigns — building brand platforms and driving user-generated content. But how do marketers sell in films to clients? How do filmmakers and brand managers execute the process? How is branded content best leveraged? And does it actually deliver? This panel’s case study provides a 360 view – and best practices – from the campaign’s key partners.

Initial Thoughts

As someone who worked in marketing at the time, there wasn’t much that I learned here that I didn’t know. A lot of it was a good reminder though and something I feel big brands really need to learn. To utilize social media to put positivity in the world and help the greater good.

Key Takeaways

  • When it comes to branding, “If the brand is the hero of the piece, that’s the kiss of death.” – S. Smirnov.
  • Branding isn’t bad – use it to financially pursue your creative side.
  • “We’re all chasing the narrative. We’re all chasing the story in marketing and communications.” – S. Smirnov.
  • Don’t think of a company as bad or as source of funding – it’s also a distribution partner (they help support you).
  • Just because it’s a big corporate brand, doesn’t mean the people behind it don’t care deeply about the cause and message (they just need funding).
  • Smirnov doesn’t like press releases. “So 1995.” What are other ways to get information out there?
  • Branded documentaries do not equal branded voice.
  • Marketers need to be storytellers.
  • ALWAYS set up expectations – be clean and transparent about creating anything with brand funding.

Twitter Highlights

Unfortunately, internet went out for this session, so no tweets.

Design Coyote


Date & Location

Monday, March 12, 2012
Austin Convention Center
Theme: N/A

More Posts About This Session

Branded Documentaries for Cause Marketing
Is Branded Documentary Cause Marketing's Best Media?
SXSW Session Info