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Brands can create Hollywood-level entertainment thanks to Jay Goodman

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For Observatory CEO Jae Goodman, it all seems like it happened in an instant. First, on June 9, Apple TV+ announced that Nike’s he has entered into a multi-year deal with Waffle Iron Entertainment (WIE) for the development and production of sports films. Then, on June 16th, wine brand 19 Crimes released a limited edition Martha Stewart action figure to promote the collaboration.It caused an unpaid eight-minute segment Today with Hoda and JennaOn June 23rd, Doritos stranger things– Branded online concerts featuring Soft Cell, The Go-Go’s and Charli XCX. And the next day, WIE launched its first podcast. hustle rulehanded down by word of mouth Ted Russo Based on the best-selling books by Hannah Waddingham and Gwendolyn Oxenham.

For the past 16 years, this has been Goodman’s mission, and it’s been repeated for every brand that listens.

This mantra prompted him to leave ad agencies like Wieden+Kennedy and former powerhouse Hal Riney, and move to Hollywood in 2006 to join CAA and start an in-house marketing consultancy for a major talent agency. .That eventually led him to a full-fledged agency called CAA Marketing, which spun out in 2017 to become the Observatory, garnering industry and brand accolades in the process (multiple first company Most Innovative Company Honors).

For Goodman, the past two weeks in June were a culmination, including record results for the Observatory and multiple Cannes Lions Awards for Chipotle’s animated short, A Future Begins. “Despite the fact that it took him 16 years to produce, I don’t think he’s ever manipulated the platform to advance that thesis any further than it is now,” he says. “this moment.”

Goodman sees this moment as an opportunity to find out what happens next. He resigns as his CEO of his Observatory. “Now that we’ve seen this moment come, it’s really about how he wants to spend his next 16 years and what platforms he wants to join or create to move this thesis forward from here. It made me think,” he says. “The hard answer to that is the only way to know if there’s another platform to do it is to walk away.”

Pioneer of advertising as entertainment

From Red Bull’s catalog of action sports movies to Pfizer’s documentary about Nat Geo, the idea of ​​branded entertainment is commonplace today. As media has become increasingly fragmented over the past 15 years, brands have been forced to diversify the ways they capture our attention.

Relying solely on traditional paid media tools such as television and radio advertising is longer viable or effective. But you know this. What you may not know is how Goodman was among the chosen few (including my former) advertising age Editor Scott Donaton) knew this would happen soonest. If there was a Mount Rushmore of branded entertainment, Goodman would be Washington or Jefferson.

One of Goodman’s first high-profile pieces of evidence was a 2008 eBay campaign that included a short film called “Force 1 TD.” This is about a group of friends who went on an adventure to find a very special sneaker for their blind friend’s miniature. guide horse. Directed by Randy Kralman, the film became the first brand-produced film to be accepted into the Sundance Film Festival, demonstrating the potential for the right type of partnership for both brands and filmmakers.

At a live screening of the film, Goodman says there was an audible buzz in the room when Krallman thanked eBay. “And of all the great filmmakers in that room, eBay marketing his executive Micky[Onvural]wanted to know how brands could do it and get involved. I was the most mobbed by all the filmmakers out there,” he recalls.

Mitchum launched the campaign in 2010 as a contest to find “America’s Hardest Working Man.” It was a tie-up with “Most Hardworking Deodorant” and challenged people to make a short film about the nominee.Revlon-owned Mitchum suffered a two-year sales slump, and Target and his Walmart was about to be pulled from the shelf of However, the campaign and the news coverage and attention it generated dirty work Star Mike Lowe changed his destiny.

The contestants’ films were turned into 30-minute documentaries and aired on IFC and Sundance channels, garnering 11 million video views and over 200 million media impressions throughout the campaign. And put Mitchum back on the shelf.

In 2012, Goodman and Observatory created the award-winning animated short “Back to the Start” for Chipotle, featuring Willie Nelson covering Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” to be screened in full length during the Grammy Awards. it was done. The track will be available on iTunes with proceeds going to the brand’s charity, the Cultivate Foundation. Received numerous industry awards. But more importantly, it became a cultural hit, garnering over 300 million media impressions of him and propelling Nelson’s cover to the top of his iTunes Country charts.

The Observatory and Chipotle reunited this year for the first time in ten years for a decade-long follow-up called ‘A Future Begins’. This time, Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves covers Coldplay’s “Fix You.”

“Jay’s idea of ​​branded entertainment and his belief in attracting and engaging audiences, not distracting them, will help brands like Chipotle educate their fans about purpose-driven initiatives. We succeeded in doing that,” said Chris Brandt, Chipotle CMO. “Jae said he was doing this all the way back in 2011, working with Chipotle, and it’s never been more relevant than it is today.”

Micky Onvural, now TIAA’s Chief Marketing Officer, has worked with Goodman over the years on the aforementioned eBay short film and YouTube’s 2018 Ad of the Year award-winning Bonobos #EvolveTheDefinition campaign. rice field. A project to shoot an advertisement.

The brand had dozens of men to shoot a clothing campaign when Goodman and his team set up cameras in another room and suggested asking them about their definition of masculinity. The result was a poignant look at real, current cultural conversations that racked up over 10 million views within their first 24 hours online.

Omvral says Goodman was ahead of his time. “We worked together for the first time in 2006 when I was at eBay. can make a brand culturally relevant,” she says. “Looking back at the work we’ve done together… . . it really stands the test of time.

this is not retirement

Just to be clear, this is neither an obituary nor a retirement memoir, it’s worth considering why Goodman departed from the incredibly sound agency he built. If the person who predicted the future decides to try it again, caution should be exercised. Linda Knight, her chief creative officer at the Observatory, said Goodman will continue to work with agencies as a consultant, but the Observatory is fully committed.

“He’s built an incredibly strong team that knows how to do what he sets out to do,” says Knight. “He was looking around the corner. He had a vision years ago and knew where this industry was going—more content-centric campaigns—so building on that idea, this I built a team and a business.”

Goodman said he’s taking steps to get a better perspective on where this branded entertainment idea is headed, so in 2022, Goodman said he’s now advising brands on content. I asked Mr. Patience.

“If you’re used to paying viewers to make up for a TV show that didn’t deliver, or paying for engagement and performance, upstream in this kind of funnel, that type of immediate And you can’t expect direct attribution.Activities,” he says.

At the Cannes Lions Conference session in June, it was titled “Are We Doing Branded Entertainment All Wrong?” One attendee asked Goodman about effectiveness. Standing behind him was Nike CMO Dirk-Jan “DJ” van Hameren. He reiterated this call for patience, noting that it’s been three and a half years since Nike created his Waffle Iron Entertainment, but audiences have just seen its first. project comes to life.

As Nike saw with its WIE project and deal, and Bonobos with #EvolveTheDefinition, Onvural says it still stands as the best return on ad spend campaign in the company’s history.

For Goodman, as the Branded Entertainment expert puts it, he’s now a Hall of Fame free agent. No,” he says. “I can think of it as a production role that allows me to delve deeper into individual pieces with brand clients.”

Or rather, a return to the origin.