EXCLUSIVE: David Gordon Green and John Sloss are partnering in Brand New Story, a new concern that will work with top brands and Hollywood storytellers to finance, develop, distribute and market long-form content that finds ways to integrate brand ethos into entertainment properties at a time when viewers — millennials in particular — won’t sit for commercials, outside of live sporting events.
Brand New Story is a joint venture between Rough House Pictures (which Green runs with Danny McBride and Jody Hill) and Cinetic Media, which assembled financing and exec produced the Best Picture winner Green Book, and sold at record price the docu Knock Down the House to Netflix at Sundance.
Joining Green and Sloss as the CEO of Brand New Story is Jared Shulman, an entertainment marketing executive with nearly 15 years of experience helping brands tell their stories through innovative content initiatives while at Creative Artists Agency and most recently ACE, Anomaly’s original and branded content studio.
“As the 30-second commercial slips further into obsolescence and consumers increasingly reject product placement and sponsored content, an opportunity presents itself for brands to support stories that succeed in conveying key messaging, without sacrificing entertainment value,” Sloss said. “In today’s fragmented content landscape there are no longer restrictions on who can deliver great stories. With their intimate knowledge of consumer preference and behavior, brands stand well-positioned to ensure these great stories find their most receptive audiences.”
Said Green, who directed the smash hit Halloween and before that Stronger, also works successfully as a commercials director and sees potential here.
“Our goal is to develop a new paradigm for storytellers, with new ways to structure the finance and exhibition of film and television through relationships with brands that share common values, while maintaining the creative integrity of their storytelling,” Green said. “This is as much an opportunity for filmmakers as it is for brands.”
Shulman said that that if the best strategy for an advertiser proves to be inclusion within the imagery of a film than so be it, but a lot of this will focus on brands backing and using its clout to promote projects that share the values of its customers, even if that brand isn’t seen in the project. An early successful example was tech company Netscout financing the Werner Herzog-directed Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, and putting itself on the map and creating huge awareness by association.
“Millennials don’t want to be sold to, and these consumers are much smarter today and they seek out more information on brands to which they align,” Shulman said. “They have more intimate relationships with brands they feel strongly about, and this creates an opportunity.”
Brand New Story will helps brands identify feature film and television projects to invest in, and share their message by developing a strategic distribution and marketing ecosystem deploying brand channels for promotion. Per its creators, benefits of the new model can provide brands with all of the additional revenue sources enjoyed by traditional media companies, while finding deeper consumer connections.