Corporations Sponsor Mini-Movies for Innovative Re-branding

Aug 6, 2015 4:00 PM ET

Corporations Sponsor Mini-Movies for Innovative Re-branding

Documentary films have been an active creative field for some time, but now the format is being put to innovative use by business. Corporations are commissioning noted independent filmmakers to produce documentaries that are a new genre, neither cinematic commercials nor completely independent indies. These films do not have product placement or advertising. Instead, company branding is limited to sponsorship messaging in the credits. The new docs feature a variety of subjects, which are approved by the sponsor, but corporate involvement ends there. Chipotle, Ford, and Zappos have supported mini-movies about industrial farming, small town companies, and nonprofit activity.

American Express has become a leader in this new field, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Three new, 20-minute Amex documentaries focus on entrepreneurs and their struggles to get their products to market. There is no mention of Amex or its cards in these stories. The purpose of this very minimally branded content? To reposition a company as an engaged lifestyle business, not merely a transactional brand that offers goods and services for a price.

 I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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