Team One Pitches Movielink to Broadbanders

LOS ANGELES Publicis Groupe’s Team One has created its first advertising for Movielink, the agency said.

The online movie-downloading service named Team One its agency after a review last December, but the account win was not revealed at the client’s request. Estimated billings are $5 million.

“When we decided to look for an agency, we decided to take our time and find one we were comfortable with,” said Alan Citron, senior vice president of marketing at Movielink, Santa Monica, Calif. “A cookie-cutter approach wouldn’t work, because our advertising has to both distinguish us and educate potential users.”

Launched in November 2002 with 170 titles, Movielink is a pay-per-download service for broadband users, formed by a consortium of Sony, MGM/UA, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros., plus licensing with Disney. Users download movies to their computers for a rental fee, after which they can watch the films within 30 days. Once they begin, they may watch a movie for the next 24 hours, when the film self-destructs, limiting piracy.

Citron said obtaining legal rights clearances slows catalog growth more than potential piracy. Movielink now offers more than 600 films, he said. “We should have over a thousand titles by the end of the year,” said Citron. “We’ve been growing quickly over the last six months.” He said the company is generating close to a million unique users per month, representing “tens of thousands” downloads at a growth rate of 25 percent month to month, “which is impressive, given the fact that we’ve done virtually no marketing.” Movielink spent about $500,000 on ads in 2003, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“For now Movielink will be in the mode of online and print, and initially we’ll work on the branding of this company, instead of playing the commodity-delivery game,” said Chris Graves, executive creative director of Team One, El Segundo, Calif. “Previously their communication was about ‘$4.99 for the Hulk.’ We need to get them thinking about branding.”

Team One’s John Maxham, creative director, and Kevin Smith, art director, will work with Graves on the Movielink creative team.

“What excites me about Movielink is that convergence of technology,” said Brian Sheehan, agency president and CEO. “It is the future of entertainment, making it easy to see the movies you love. And it’s in its cradle, so it’s a tremendous growth opportunity.”

Sheehan added that the demo is “anyone who has broadband,” but that the ads would certainly target college students, business travelers, and those with experience downloading music.

Graves said the first print ads, tagged “The newest way to get hit movies: Download them,” present wordplay such as “B-DOC: Biggest Downloader on Campus,” recognizing that “the first generation establishes the new vocabulary and the new behavior.”