Director/Writer Matt Hodgson partners with CAESARS Entertainment, TAHITIAN NONI and W in these early expressions of his Experiential Brand Storytelling vision.
WANTED — W BRANDS
Conceived, Written & Directed by Matt Hodgson
"WANTED" — is a great example of Brand Cinema. I conceived, developed, creative directed, wrote, cast and directed this short film for a branding agency as a proof-of-concept calling card to attract new clients. The agency premiered the short film as a trailer that was attached to a slate of summer blockbusters they were helping to promote. Their unsuspecting prospective clients were invited to attend the summer blockbusters, and ended up seeing the following short film before the featured film began. The following day Zero Halliburton briefcases, identical to the one featured in the film, were delivered to each prospective client, filled with a personal copy of the film and additional information about the branding agency. This branded short film, and the accompanying campaign were both a huge success. I will be forever grateful to my cinematographer Matthew Williams, and my friends at EFilm, Dolby and Deluxe Color in Hollywood for their collective help to make this film "theatrical" in every sense.
"Wanted" — Brand Cinema
THE ANSWER — CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT
Conceived, Written & Directed by Matt Hodgson
"THE ANSWER" — was created for CAESARS Entertainment to promote their new convention center in Atlantic City. I originally pitched "THE ANSWER" as a Live Action short, but due to budgeting issues I was forced to look for an alternate way to tell this brand story. The other aspect of my brand storytelling pitch was that I would create an interactive website that would allow meeting and events planners to experience the same experience that Claire (the Heroine in our film) experienced, as they discovered Harrah's new Waterfront Conference Center for themselves. I decided to take a more organic illustrated approach to the film and combined 2D, 2.5D & 3D animation styles to create a wildly original and hugely successful brand storytelling experience. CAESARS loved the idea so much that I ended up creating a second version of the short film that could be used to promote all of the CAESARS Entertainment properties. The original :60 Trailer and both the Atlantic City & CAESARS Corporate short film versions are featured here. You can visit the website to experience it first hand at www.askcaesars.com. Below this paragraph you will also see a link to a PDF that details the entire campaign that was spawned from this simple brand storytelling opportunity. The marketing team at CAESARS Entertainment was extraordinary to work with, and my design/production team comprised of illustrators, animators, visual effects artists and creative directors, art directors, programmers, musicians, actors and producers from Hollywood to New York worked together seamlessly.
"THE ANSWER" — Film Trailer — CAESARS Entertainment
"THE ANSWER" — CAESARS Entertainment (Atlantic City)
"THE ANSWER" — CAESARS Entertainment (Corporate)
HERO / WEST SIDE STORY — TAHITIAN NONI
Conceived, Written & Directed by Matt Hodgson
"HERO / WEST SIDE STORY" — When I pitched the idea of an interactive branded musical to the marketing team at Tahitian Noni, for their annual three-day worldwide conference, they were stunned. Tahitian Noni was planning to use this conference to launch a new sports drink line and they needed an unforgettable compelling launch experience, but they never imagined this type of approach. It didn't take long for them to catch the vision, and before the presentation was over the entire marketing team was totally behind it. With over 13,000 people in attendance, I created a one-of-a-kind, live, branded, Broadway musical that combined a re-imagined storyline and lyrics from the musical—West Side Story, with brand messaging from Tahitian Noni. The event took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and featured a three story practical set, a live orchestra, and over one hundred singers, dancers and performers. The event was a staggering success and I would love an opportunity to walk you through the details.
TAHITIAN NONI'S "WEST SIDE STORY" @ MGM GRAND / LAS VEGAS
MATT HODGSON — A COMPLETE BRAND STORYTELLER
Whether you define him as a gifted director/writer with big-time branding experience, or an executive creative director with a keen story sense and unlimited ingenious ideas—Matt Hodgson is a complete storyteller. As a TV Director/WriterHodgson has 48 episodes of a multiple Emmy award winning TV series to his credit. As a Commercial Director/WriterHodgson has directed well over 500 hundred national, regional and theatrical TV commercials for some of the biggest brands in the world, including—Coca-Cola, Sprite, Overstock.com, XANGO, Lowes (Orchard Supply Hardware), Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and their sponsors—Marriott Hotels, Rite-Aid, Dairy Queen, ReMax, Walmart and Sam's Club, as well as Lagoon Amusement Park, Tuffy Automotive Services Centers and numerous winning political campaigns Besides directing these campaigns, the huge difference that Hodgson brings to the table is his over 20 years of experience as an award-winning Creative Director/Writer/Idea Guy. In every example on this site Matt Hodgson was the creative force behind the campaign, the passion behind the words, the directorial vision driving each story. So it should come as no surprise that when the ad world turned to "brand storytelling" as the next big way to connect brands to consumers, Hodgson was already there—with an experiential approach to brand storytelling that is unlike anything you've ever seen. He calls it "Brand Cinema," and whether this form of brand storytelling is told as a short film, a live theatrical event, a made for TV series, through the pages of a book, or in an online interactive game, Hodgson's Brand Cinema will engage an audience in an experiential way that is as personal and powerful as it is visceral and compelling.
— Jeff Miller, Executive Producer, Vineyard Productions
A BRAND CINEMA PREAMBLE
From my perspective "Brand Cinema" is simply "brand storytelling on steroids." It's storytelling for the senses. I see "Brand Cinema"as an extraordinary opportunity for brands to make indelible impressions on their target audiences. With each branded story I create, my goal is always the same—to create a brand-saturated, story-driven, interactive experience that will live up to the maxim... "that long after an audience has forgotten what they've seen and heard, they'll remember how they felt." That feeling, that emotional gestalt, is the magic that turns a passive unsuspecting audience into passionate, loyal, inspired customers. The PDF on the CAESARS Entertainment page details the campaign ideas behind my most recent Brand Cinema success story for CAESARS Entertainment. This is a comprehensive overview of how Brand Cinema / Brand storytelling works from my perspective. In fact, this PDF is the very overview that I created for the CAESARS Executive Board, so they could see how an ingeniously cool campaign grew out of a simple, targeted, compelling story. The tenants of emotional branding are at the heart of my "Brand Cinema" approach. This type of storytelling is an immersive, dramatic, compelling experience where a targeted audience makes a powerful emotional connection with the core tenants of a brand. This connection is reinforced through subsequent interactions that further the brand story by giving it added relevance and meaning. Brand Cinema stories can be live, cinematic, printed, interactive or theatrical, but they're always experiential. Most importantly, Brand Cinema is never just storytelling for storytelling sake, instead, it's brand storytelling with a definite purpose—to set a hook, make a sale, and engage the audience in such a way that they want to continue the brand conversation.
I love compelling stories and I'm fascinated by the inherent power of a story to make an immediate and lasting impression. Whether it's dramatic, reality-based, live action or animated, stories have the ability to connect with an audience in a more visceral, more meaningful, more persuasive way. Brand storytelling was never meant to be a passive experience where testimonials or supposed "real life" stories were paraded past an audience with the hope that they might resonate. Instead, brand storytelling is a vibrant, experiential, interactive opportunity for a brand to take its audience on an entertaining journey—a journey that explores, informs and illuminates the facets of a product or service in a way that makes an indelible emotional connection with the target audience. Just telling stories for story sake is fine for Hollywood—because that's their business. Brand stories need to accomplish more, and because of that, effective brand storytelling needs to answer a higher call. Brand storytelling not only needs to be imaginative and entertaining, captivating and compelling, but it needs to set the hook, make the sale, and engage the audience in such a way that they want to continue the brand conversation long after the story is over. My goal for every brand story experience I create is that the brand story never ends, but continues on, and becomes a relevant, inextricable part of the fabric of a brand and its target audience.
To date I have created three wildly successful Brand Story experiences, for three distinctly different clients, in three distinctly different environments. The "Wanted" short film was created for a fledgling branding agency, and premiered in movie theaters attached as a trailer to various summer blockbusters. "The Answer" short animated film, premiered online for CAESARS Entertainment, in tandem with the launch of an interactive website, to promote a one-of-a-kind new property in Atlantic City. "Hero / West Side Story" was a live Broadway-style musical that debuted at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to promote a new line of sports drinks for multi-level marketer Tahitian Noni.