Marriott Content Studio was founded to create compelling storytelling content across all platforms—film, television and digital—designed to engage, entertain and motivate the traveling audience, to incubate the talent of established and up and coming storytellers in the studio mentorship model, and to showcase the incredible Marriott properties that are the loci in quo of the films. The ultimate goal is to achieve what we call the "3 c's": deliver Content, develop Community and drive Commerce.
In development and production, the strategy was to treat FRENCH KISS as an independently produced short film as outstanding stand-alone content in its own right, in addition to being branded content. As Executive Producer and Marriott's VP Global Creative + Content Marketing, Marriott International David Beebe said at the time: "Marketing as interruption is over, and FRENCH KISS propels our strategy of providing entertaining and informative content that adds value and helps build a community of people passionate about travel who ultimately drive commerce for Marriott's global brands, such as JW Marriott."
Production involved choosing a seasoned filmmaking team and in the case of FRENCH KISS, that was veteran director John Gray (Ghost Whisperer, Grimm) and noted Hollywood production company Sander/Moses Productions (Ghost Whisperer, Profiler, Reckless), along with a top-notch cast, headlined by Tyler Ritter (The McCarthy's, NCIS).
Producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses, along with co-executive producer Nichelle Protho put together a fabulous team that executed a visually inventive and emotionally engaging short film.
FRENCH KISS follows young executive Ethan, who is in Paris for an important work event but has spent his entire time at his hotel preparing for his speech, seeing nothing of the magnificent city. Mere hours before his important presentation, his laptop vanishes. In a blind panic, he searches the city, following magical and unbelievable clues left by the delightful and mysterious Margaux, who uses the magical romance of the City of Lights to show him what's truly important. Margaux reveals to him the beauty of the city through her eyes and when the two finally meet in front of the Eiffel Tower, he finally realizes that the choice of how to live his life has always been up to him.
FRENCH KISS, though inventive production and a delightful sense of whimsy, reminds you that travel should inspire and delight...that anything is possible. An entertaining and professional film that subtly yet undeniably wears the Marriott brand, FRENCH KISS firmly associates Marriott with Paris and romance. Combining press, social media and word of mouth, the production team built public excitement over the film from trailer through release, launching with a bona fide Hollywood premiere on property.
Engagement with both the film and trailer exceeded industry engagement benchmarks. The trailer enjoyed a view rate of 31.87%, 65% above benchmark, and the film garnered a 57.71% view rate, 159% above benchmark. The film drove a total of 6 million views on YouTube. The film was released on YouTube and frenchkiss.com, and through a limited theatrical release and in Marriott Hotels throughout the world, the film quickly picked up momentum attracting attention for its originality while also helping to change travelers' perceptions of the Marriott brand.
With almost 500 million PR impressions, the film earned an ad value of more than $7M. Marriott brand interest, as measured through a Google Search lift Study, saw a 63.2% lift after the film's release, illustrating that the film achieved its objectives to drive brand awareness and consideration for Marriott brands.
To promote the Paris premiere and elevate the film, we engaged with influencer Be Frassy. She shared the event with her more than 550K blog readers. Her posts covering the event garnered more than 6K engagements on Instagram.