A few glasses of cabernet may have helped get the creative juices flowing between a.k.a. Euro RSCG and the Sonoma Valley Film Festival. The hot topic: how to present the annual festival as both a celebration of cinema and a showcase event for Sonoma County, Calif., which is renowned for its wineries.
"We were trying to get into the mind-set of a real Sonoma citizen and extend that to the film festival," said Michael Kantrow, managing partner at a.k.a., San Francisco. Kantrow said it would be nearly impossible to find a more enticing location and event proposition for film lovers, filmmakers and sponsors.
The 5-year-old festival, which will run next spring from April 12-14, tapped a.k.a. last month to handle its advertising, Web site, sponsorship sales kits, invitations and call-for-entries pieces. There was no formal review for the business, and this is the first time the nonprofit group has worked with an agency.
The budget, which was not disclosed, is not expected to be large. Still, Kantrow said the account offers a.k.a. "a very visible creative opportunity" and its first foray into the arts.
Already a.k.a. is working on sales kits, which will solicit event sponsorships. The Web site will launch in early October, and a larger media push will follow, including posters, movie trailers and print ads in local publications.
All work is tied to the theme "Cinema Epicuria," which connects the festival with the fine wine and gourmet lifestyle of the valley. The logo combines a film reel, a wine glass and the "Cinema Epicuria" tag.
"The festival has been very well received among film-industry types and filmgoers, but has not necessarily met overall attendance expectations," said festival president Brenda Lhormer. "This year we were looking for a creative marketing partner to help us clearly define and articulate the unique experience this festival, in this beautiful setting, can deliver."