For a decade, there has been at least lip service paid to greater collaboration between Hollywood and Madison Avenue. Now, with social media becoming a larger part of marketing campaigns, Silicon Valley may be creating a triumvirate. Facebook and IPTV opportunities bring an increasing need for producers and programmers to work together.
For Ben Silverman's money, there's a need for a "combination of storyteller and engineer" and an answer to the question: "how do these two people come together to build and deliver against a marketer's need, and a consumer's desire to have something immediately and available and interactive?"
On a panel at the NATPE event, Silverman -- the head of digital-oriented studio Electus --- cited the imperative to better establish a Hollywood-Madison Avenue-Silicon Valley shuttle system to take advantage of new platforms, especially with boundless Facebook applications.
Silverman spoke partly in reference to a Facebook initiative that Electus launched with Subway last fall. Part of the challenge was gaining an understanding of Facebook functionality from a program developer standpoint. The need for science to work with art should continue as Twitter and various apps blossom.
The Subway "High School Heroes" program had people nominate a high school local luminary on Subway's Facebook page. Visitors could vote for personal inspirations or others in a national contest with a $10,000 prize and iPad at stake for the top vote-getter. There was an opportunity to upload video of a volunteer, outstanding teacher, etc.
Subway CMO Tony Pace described the effort as "'American Idol' meets Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd."
Pace said the project generated significant online chatter among high school students and increased Facebook traffic. Citing a branded-entertainment effort with MSN, Pace said ROI has been highest across all media when Subway has engaged in "a program that has been content-based in the digital world."
Facebook Director of Sales Stephen Zangre, who was involved in the "High School Heroes" project, said conversations between people and related recommendations are changing marketing. "Brands are recognizing this and starting to reorganize around people ... building these personalized social experiences, that's where it's going," he said.