A Fat Thumbs-Down To Marriott Video Content

David Beebe, who started the Marriott Content Studio three years ago to make narrative-driven content for Marriott like short films, TV shows, Webisode series, documentaries or influencer-supported offerings (whatever that is), said in a story this week that, "In a multi-screen world where technology allows consumers to choose when, where and how to interact with brands, it's important that brands stop interrupting what consumers are interested in, and become what they are interested in."

I'm buying that (so far).

Then he said," "In order to engage with consumers today, brand content must first provide value first — either by informing, entertaining or solving problems."

(Starting to lose me, since I don't look to brands to provide entertainment, but that's just me).

All this pointed to a Marriott-produced Web series called "Two Bellmen," one episode of which ran nearly 40 minutes long. When I watched the newest installment, I wondered why 9 million others had watched it. Or perhaps, like me, they started and stopped after seeing it as the nearly worthless load of crap it turns out to be.



It starts out as a send-up of Asian Kung fu movies but quickly devolves into a heavy-handed plug for the company's bellmen services, including an utterly humorless sequence of the luggage carriers training like Kung fu fighters. I won't further spoil it for you, if you are stupid enough to watch the whole thing.

I can think of little I've watched that shows more of the dangers of brands trying to be entertainment studios.

While I am highly appreciative of brands that sponsor great content (thank you, Viking Cruises, for all you do with PBS) I'm not convinced that "entertainment" in which brand offerings are somehow central to the plot help sell hotel rooms or make me want to somehow "engage" with the brand.

Frankly, if the content brands produce is as mindless and obvious as "Two Bellmen, it runs the risk of compromising the core values that might have been built up over years of good customer experiences.

Perhaps all this runs counter to evidence that making commercials more "entertaining" is a great way of cutting through the clutter and launching some sort of viral social media presence. Still, there are dozens -- if not hundreds -- of commercials that were lauded for their "humor" or "sensitivity" that failed utterly to move product.

Other than to somehow "engage" me with long-form crap, I can't think of any reason for Marriott to have produced such a worthless video. It isn't funny, it isn't entertaining and certainly doesn't make me want to stay in one of the company's hotels any time soon.

On the other hand, if you think that any PR is good PR, mission accomplished.
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