Brands Have an Unprecedented Opportunity to Empower a More Resilient Hollywood

3 ways to help creators deliver the content audiences need

Today’s entertainment landscape is a strange new world. Productions are halted. Studio audiences are suspended. Highly anticipated tours and festivals are postponed. While this pause is uncertain and uncomfortable, it also provides something Hollywood has always thrived on—opportunity.

Creators throughout the industry are rapidly adapting to a new normal, innovating and connecting with new audiences in never-before-seen ways. Late-night talk shows are set in hosts’ living rooms. DJ D-Nice’s Instagram live set garnered over 100,000 viewers. Lady Gaga and Global Citizen’s One World: Together At Home concert saw nearly 21 million viewers.

As homebound audiences seek new forms of escapism, Hollywood’s biggest celebrities and productions are extending into unexpected media and creating compelling content at a time when it’s needed most.

This wave of innovation isn’t exclusive to creators. Brands can also shift their focus away from routine advertising investments to empower this new Hollywood through integration. And consumers want to hear from brands in authentic, helpful ways during this time. According to research firm Ipsos, parents agreed that it’s more important than ever to hear from brands since it brings a crucial sense of normalcy.

As people flock to new platforms and entertainment media, brands can help support content that provides an outlet for audiences to laugh, cry, dance or sing. Here are three ways to take advantage of this moment:

New, effective opportunities

From Jimmy Fallon transitioning his late-night show to YouTube to bands like Code Orange livestreaming their concerts, actors and musicians are trying new tactics to reach their audiences. Distance-inspired videos, broadcasts and livestreams are drawing in thousands and sometimes even millions of viewers and generating authentic engagement.

Seeing Hollywood’s biggest stars in their homes adds another layer of intimacy to these moments. This kind of increased engagement must be taken advantage of before mainstream content returns in full force.

By partnering with brands and incorporating integrations into content, creators can enhance their ideas and produce content rapidly. In turn, brands can gain exposure and reach new audiences through trendy, yet authentic, content.

Initiate rare partnerships

With social distancing in full effect, many top-tier celebrities are taking to social media to build new connections and engage with fans.

John Krasinski’s new YouTube show Some Good News is connecting fans with exclusive content from their favorite personalities. Just a few weeks old, Some Good News has already demonstrated the value of a personal approach, forging deeper relationships with audiences and offering an escape. For example, stars from Broadway’s Hamilton sang Happy Birthday to a fan, Brad Pitt moonlighted as an impromptu weatherman and AT&T partnered with the show to provide free service for three months to frontline responders.

Brands can help support celebrities who are finding new ways to connect with fans online. Even before Covid-19, brands that backed producers, celebrities and writers through turbulent times formed the most successful relationships. These new forms of content and the direct connections A-listers are making with fans grant brands unprecedented avenues to develop partnerships that normally might be out of reach. 

Lasting relationships

By empowering content through integrations and partnerships, brands can develop lasting, rare relationships with creators as well as consumers. Brands that authentically and strategically integrate into a new YouTube channel or a star-studded social media livestream have a greater likelihood of driving positive brand associations and purchase consideration.

While productions are on pause, scripts are still being written and visions for new shows and movies are being formed. In the meantime, entertainers, producers and creators will note how brands supported their content during this unprecedented time, leading to future opportunities and new ventures.

Given how partnerships succeed by bringing joy to audiences brands will, in turn, continue to empower artists. During this transition, Hollywood’s resilient creators will generate creative and fresh ways to engage with audiences that will persist long after social distancing ends.

Erin Schmidt is the chief of traditional integration at BEN. With over a decade of experience, Erin has been pivotal in developing specialized brand integration strategies through the implementation of scaled campaigns and a focus on performance-driven results.