Should Your Brand Launch a Film Festival?

Did you know Whole Foods has a film festival? None of my friends or colleagues do -- and many of them shop there. So, even though 2012 is the third year of the Do Something Reel Film Festival, and whether you've heard of it or not, I wanted to closer examine when, or if, brands should get into the celluloid game. Think of this as a continuation of a post I did back in early March about Rick Bayless who branched out from his brand to take to the Lookingglass stage as an actor in Cascabel, only focused exclusively on film festivals.

To be fair, Whole Foods' film fest is on message, since it's about food and educating its customers about where their food comes from, but still. At its surface, it's still a grocery store showing movies. So, could your company do the same thing?

"For many brands and entrepreneurs, stunts typically fall flat, and sometimes can even backfire," says Ross Kimbarovsky, co-founder of Chicago-based crowdsourcing creative marketplace Crowdspring. "But there are smart ways for brands to associate with interesting causes and promotions that reflect their values and complement their marketing."

If this is something that interests you, Kimbarovsky e-mailed over this list of criteria entrepreneurs should meet before starting their own film fest:

"1. Set clear goals for the promotion. Without clear goals, it will be impossible to measure the effectiveness and therefore, impossible to determine whether the expenses were justified.

2. Identify media and social media partners. An online promotion is often more difficult to execute because you're competing with a lot of noise.

3. Make sure the promotion has synergy to your company's core values/marketing message. Promotions that are completely random (stunts) rarely work, but those closely related to a company's mission and values can strike a chord with the right audience."

So, there you have it. And until next time, I'll see you at the movies… in aisle 4, next to the all-organic bagels.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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