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Branded Movies Change Advertising Game

Cape Town, 20 September 2016: Gone are the days, where it was the preserve of massive Hollywood studios to produce high-quality movies. Now, it’s not only independent film makers that are getting into the movie business, but brands are too. Don’t make the mistake in thinking that these are glorified TV spots. Recent branded entertainment has put some of Tinsel Town’s non-branded content to shame.

Johnnie Walker released an 11-minute movie, starring Jude Law called The Gentleman’s Wager, about a friendly bet over a yacht, while still generously showcasing the Scottish whisky. Brands like Miu Miu, Cornetto and JetBlue have also all released excellent quality short films in the last year. But one of the most prolific brand film makers to date has been JW Marriott Hotels, producing films like Business Unusual, French Kiss and the Two Bellmen series.

The company’s content studio is set to release another instalment of the crazy adventures of Town Bellmen in September. The latest adventure has William Spencer (Spiderman, Spiderman 2) and Caine Sinclair (NBC’s Grimm; How I Met Your Mother) playing the two heroic bellmen, as they compete in the Global Bellmen Games in Seoul.

According to Nicholas Barenblatt, Group Marketing Manager of Protea Hotels by Marriott® and African Pride Hotels, “Among its activities to highlight different destinations throughout the world, Marriott International has launched short films that feature popular actors such as Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto. The first two films were set in Los Angeles and in Dubai, and now a third film is being produced, its location being Seoul, South Korea.”

While the plot is exciting, it also showcases the city, and what the JW Marriott in Dongdaemun Square can offer. By creating branded films, viewers can voluntarily watch something compelling, instead of getting annoyed with awkward product placements, or ads interrupting a movie. Instead, the ad becomes the movie. In fact, this reinforces the findings of the McCarthy Group’s recent study which revealed that 84% of millennials don’t like advertising. So what branded films are really doing, is changing perceptions of what advertising can be. And the critics have found these movies highly entertaining, with previous films winning the 2016 Telly Award, A Shorty Award, Best in Hospitality and a Silver Addy Award.

Launched on platforms like Youtube, Instagram, the Marriott website and hotel rooms, makes it the consumer’s choice to click on the content. The films are translated into 10 languages and shared with colleagues on other continents, who upload them to local video platforms.

Production has begun on the third instalment of the Two Bellmen franchise, with the intended release date in September. To watch the previous Two Bellmen instalments, visit

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