objectives of the Marriott Content Studio for BUSINESS UNUSUAL were:
Continuing the creation of compelling storytelling content across all platforms—film, television and digital—designed to engage, entertain and motivate the traveling audience.
Firmly establishing MCS' digital and filmed entertainment storytelling model.
BUSINESS UNUSUAL is the fourth short film in MCS' production slate and the first produced to support Marriott's Renaissance Hotels brand.
Building a compelling image for the Marriott international portfolio of brands.
To incubate the talent of established and up and coming storytellers in the studio mentorship model.
To cast Renaissance Hotels as a starring character to drive brand awareness and consideration among next gen travelers.
Engaging next gen travelers across all screens with entertaining content that builds communities and drives commerce.
Why does this entry deserve to win?
Our strategy incorporated the following elements:
BUSINESS UNUSUAL is ongoing proof of content of the MCS model: great, engaging, kinetic, entertaining storytelling built around Marriott brands. BUSINESS UNUSUAL is also an independently produced short film shot on location at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel: outstanding stand-alone content on its own. As Executive Producer David Beebe said when he launched the content studio: "Marketing as interruption is over, and [our films] propel 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."
Marriott Content Studio acts in some cases like a movie producer, choosing to partner with content creators instead of doing everything in-house. In this case (as with the TWO BELLMEN anthology) the partner was Substance Over Hype. Substance Over Hype® (SOH) is a "movement" that aims to inspire, combining movement and music to tell stories, create unrivaled media, and perform live. SOH content centers on the popular themes of dance, parkour, extreme sports, martial arts, and music—and they do it ALL expertly. There are few other production partners that can deliver the talent, production value, stunts, movement and top it all off with an energetic original soundtrack album. SOH productions contain the world's top names from each movement category—referred to as "Kings & Queens"—who collectively boast over 30 million hits on their current YouTube videos.
As is not "unusual," Substance over Hype delivered. BUSINESS UNUSUAL is a high-energy, fanciful comedy that follows the competition between two creative ad agency executives: David (Yoshua Sudarso—THE MAZE RUNNER; Agents of S.H.I E.L.D.) and Chip (Jason Gehrhardt—BEYOND THE DARKNESS; General Hospital). Both are visiting Chicago from Los Angeles to present potential new advertising campaigns for Mr. Price's (Grant Bowler--Defiance) company, "Albright Glass." David seeks to find his groove amidst an oddly tough day and the reminder of his past, when he served as an intern to Chip. When in his best creative mindset, David daydreams using music, dance, parkour, and spectacle. But, instead of toiling through the night in his hotel, he accepts a chance invitation to the bar and dances with a woman named Ella (Tia Carrere—TRUE LIES; LILO AND STITCH, WAYNE'S WORLD). Will his night out bring the clarity and creativity he needs to beat his rival?
BUSINESS UNUSUAL boldly extends the value of the Renaissance Hotels brand, and performs a key internal function: it lets the Marriott family of over 30 brands know the Content Studio is there for them and can deliver astonishing branded content for them should they choose. "Content marketing is a lot like dating," Beebe says. "You don't get a second date unless you provide value during the first." Combining press, social media and word of mouth, the production team built public excitement over the film from trailer through release, and launched with a premiere in Chicago at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel there.
Overall, the release of BUSINESS UNUSUAL was successful across traditional and social media.
The film has garnered 7.1 million views on YouTube; the trailer got almost 600,000.
It was distributed across multiple channels: renhotels.com; RenHotels YouTube; RenHotels social; limited theatrical release; in-room; Marriott.com; and MarriottRewards.com.
BUSINESS UNUSUAL delivered an estimated 14.5 million social media impressions; 1.6 million views for BU on Facebook and 450k on Instagram.
PR on BUSINESS UNUSUAL delivered an estimated 54.5 million impressions and an estimated $755,820 in ad value.
These are the quantitative analyses. Qualitatively, the film continues to advance the Marriott Content Studio's goals by establishing a track record of Marriott producing and distributing movies.
BUSINESS UNUSUAL was screened at six film festivals and won two awards:
Lakes Charles Film Festival – Best Narrative Short
Roma Cinema Doc – Special Mention for Best Editing
The film also made an impact on associates (Marriott employees) as well as existing and prospective guests; associates know they are part of a worldwide company of storytellers, and the guests know they are part of a brand with a creative, audacious and entertaining collection of stories that inform their travel experience.