Weinstein To Madison Avenue: Try Less Harder

CANNES, FRANCE -- At a time when many on Madison Avenue believe the next wave of advertising will be -- or already is -- content marketing, one of the world’s greatest content marketers advised the ad industry not to try so hard at selling things.

“I think things work when they’re subtle,” The Weinstein Co.’s Harvey Weinstein told delegates here this morning during a Q&A with Publicis chief Maurice Levy.

Specifically, Levy asked Weinstein why, after decades of failed attempts to merge “Madison and Vine,” it has “never worked beautifully.”

Weinstein cited two examples of Weinstein Co. productions that leveraged subtly that worked for the brands involved.

“In ‘Project Runway,’ for example, we have the pleasure of having L’Oreal [as a brand integration]. But it is so innate to the show. It’s just nuance, it’s there all the time. And I think it has more integrity. It doesn’t look like [a placement],” Weinstein, explained, adding: “The advertising is much more subtle.”

His second example was a student filmmaker series it created for auto marketer Lexus.

“There’s no cars,” he noted, adding that the subtle film sponsorship “just blew up -- millions and millions of hits,” mainly because it isn’t trying so hard to sell something.

“Again, it’s nuanced,” explained Weinstein, concluding: “Sometimes when it just hits so hard, it’s a turn off.”

Weinstein teased the Lions Festival by alluding to a new brand integration deal he is working on that he believes will take the art to a new level.

He declined to identify the brand or the property, but said: “We’re going to take a piece of IP and we’re going to create a movie and there’s not going to be one mention of the brand in it. And as a result, I think that will work.”

Asked how digital media is impacting movie marketing, Weinstein seemed frustrated with the shift to the tiny screen -- the hand-held mobile one -- and said he sometimes shrugs his shoulders when seeing someone watching a film like “Pulp Fiction” on their phone and says, “Why bother?”

That said, he predicted big digital powerhouses like Google and Apple will soon enter -- and most likely disrupt -- the film industry, in a big way.

“I believe that Google and Apple are not far behind. I believe they are going to be in the content business in the next second,” he said, adding, “I think they’re already there and they’re going to emerge. They have the pipeline.”
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