It’s not easy to attract the biggest names in the film industry to Park City, UT, in the middle of winter, but the Sundance Institute made it happen once again for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, this year Jan. 23 through Feb. 3. The event, which serves as the largest independent film festival in the U.S., offered 12 days of panels, screenings and competitions, but festivalgoers were also treated to a variety of sponsorship activations that catered to the creative community. Here, we take a look at how some of the world’s top brands engaged attendees on the ground. Now, zip up your parka and grab a cup of hot cocoa. We’re headed to the mountains.
Talent agency UTA launched a residency at Sundance this year at an off-site estate where it offered three days of programming to clients and industry professionals. The space, dubbed Sundance House, was converted from a private residence into an event venue featuring panels, lounges, meeting spaces and parties. Highlights included UTA’s annual Brand Leaders Dinner featuring a surprise performance by Ryland James, a celebration of women of color hosted by UTA client Issa Rae, the larger-than-life UTA House Party and an art exhibition featuring photography by Kwame Brathwaite.
This year, United Talent Agency expanded its festival footprint, hosting three days of programming at a private residence. Guests, clients, and industry professionals attended a lineup of events such as the agency’s annual brand leaders dinner; Women In Film’s reception panel; and UTA client Issa Rae’s celebration in honor of Creators of Color. UTA Marketing, the agency’s entertainment consulting practice that represents global brands including Cover Girl, Delta Air Lines, General Motors, General Mills, Google, and Lyft, led the agency’s programming this year.
The estate, which offered picturesque snowy views, was converted into a space to host the panels and parties, complete with lounges and meeting spaces. Mirrored Media handled production, along with UTA Marketing, and DJ Mike Deleasa performed at all of the house’s events.
The late rapper Malcolm James McCormick, better known as Mac Miller, passed away in 2018, but his memory lived on Jan. 17-18 thanks to pop-up events in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and New York City. Timed to the release of his posthumous album, “Circles: Til Infinity,” the events served as museum-style experiences where fans could get a closer look at the artist’s life—and they showed up in droves. The venues were at capacity from opening until closing each day, with lines averaging three to six hours in all three cities. Each pop-up featured a multimedia fan art exhibition, a gallery, exclusive artworks and merchandise, an intimate living room listening experience where attendees could hear “Circles” in Ultra HD, and a chance for fans to leave digital notes. All net proceeds from merch sales benefitted the Mac Miller Fund, an organization that supports young musicians.
Talent agency hospitality is a mainstay at the Sundance Film Festival, be it in swanky lounges on Park City’s Main Street or private chalets in nearby Deer Valley.
United Talent Agency, whose talent roster and independent film group always come in force each year, typically throws a brunch for friends and press — but will significantly expand its footprint this year, in the form of a private residence with several days of programming.
Clients and guests of UTA Marketing — which reps global brands including Cover Girl, Delta Air Lines, Google, and Lyft — will be invited to a private residence tucked away the center of festival madness for key events and refuge from the snow.
Issa Rae, repped by the agency, will throw a party in honor of creators of color in conjunction with UTA’s own head of diversity and inclusion, Shanique Bonelli-Moore. Women in Film will hold its annual Sundance panel and reception at the space, with speakers including director Haifaa al-Mansour, Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden, actor and producer Emily Mortimer, Macro executive Poppy Hanks, and producer Effie Brown.
UTA Fine Arts will share a special pop-up exhibition of the artwork of Kwame Brathwaite and host an intimate conversation with Brathwaite’s son, Kwame S. Brathwaite, and writer and critic Antwaun Sargent. Harlem Field Trip chef JJ Johnson and Lyft social impact head Mike Masserman discuss food accessibility and inequality. Hollywood’s favorite Italian spot, Jon & Vinny’s, will cater dinners to celebrate “Six Feet Under” creator Alan Ball’s new film “Uncle Frank,” and the department will host a brand leaders dinner with the Atlantic, Snap and Tastemade. A surprise performer from UTA’s music roster will also go up for a late-night set.
“Sundance is more than a film festival, but a destination that brings together a diverse set of independent voices and storytellers across the spectrum of culture,” said UTA Marketing co-head Julian Jacobs.
“We are excited to unite so many clients and partners for what has become a key moment on the cultural calendar,” said fellow co-head David Anderson.
Event safety protocols have always been a priority for event marketers. But in the past couple of years, incidents involving active shooters have presented a new, sobering reality for marketers responsible for planning group gatherings. This heightened threat has led to new training and updated event safety plans to ensure that staff, clients and attendees are not only safer on-site, but that they feel safe, too.
As expected, much of the work on this issue is taking place behind the scenes. We tapped three agency partners to understand what they’re hearing from clients, the best practices they’ve implemented and the technologies that are supporting their efforts.
Four years ago, Mirrored Media hired Dustin Burt, owner and managing partner of Superior Protection Consultants, to supplement the agency’s security measures. Since Mirrored frequently produces music events and collaborates with celebrities, the benefit of having a consultant is twofold.
“We have to come up with a safety plan for our guests and for the general public, as well as a safety plan for any talent and celebrities that may be there. It’s being able to have a security consultant that can look at both plans simultaneously and know how they can interact,” says Justin Lefkovitch, founder and CEO of Mirrored Media. Moreover, he says, a consultant will look at the totality of the safety plan, including entry and exit points, ingress and egress for fire safety, an active shooter plan, training staff, adding bag checks, metal detectors, and assessing risk.
According to Burt, communication and collaboration between the various parties, including local police departments and other safety agencies, is paramount.
“Being able to have that line of open communication between everybody plays a huge role,” he says. “It sounds simple, but 90 percent of what we do is just communicating between all the departments that have to work together, which in return will promote a bigger, healthier and safer environment, but also a fun event.”
Mirrored has noticed—and happily welcomed—a shift in perception toward added security measures.
“It’s gone from a nuisance to a benefit,” Lefkovitch says. “We’re seeing a positive shift both from our clients, in their willingness to pay for it and understand why we’re putting such an emphasis on it, as well as from the guests. Now, when you say, ‘If you’re going to have a bag over this size it needs to be clear,’ people say, OK, and they plan accordingly.”
This means sending out additional communications to attendees ahead of the event to set their expectations (for instance, the size of the bag they may carry in) and make them aware of the added safety measures in order to expedite the process on-site. And in that way, there’s safety in numbers.
Partnership for upcoming years announced in Santa Monica
First jointly developed sound to enter series vehicles in 2020
Santa Monica/Munich. In June 2019 at the #NEXT Gen in Munich, Hans Zimmer and BMW Sound Designer Renzo Vitale presented their jointly developed e-sound for the BMW Vision M NEXT. In Santa Monica Hans Zimmer has now officially announced his partnership with the BMW Group to further develop BMW IconicSounds Electric. Hans Zimmer: “We have the unique opportunity to turn electric driving in a BMW into a magnificent experience with outstanding sonority. I am really looking forward to the challenge of shaping the sound for future electric BMW’s. Developing the sounds for the BMW Vision M NEXT together with Renzo Vitale was already an inspiring, new experience for me.”
Jointly developed sound to enter series vehicles already in 2020
Prior to the Los Angeles Auto Show, Hans Zimmer and BMW Sound Designer Renzo Vitale gave exclusive insights into their previous collaboration at Hans Zimmer’s studio in Santa Monica. In this exact studio, where Hans Zimmer usually composes his famous scores for Hollywood movies, the two jointly developed the e-sound of the BMW Vision M NEXT. Furthermore Zimmer and Vitale revealed their most recent co-creation: The sound signaling readiness for driving in purely electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles of the BMW brand. The sound will enter series vehicles already in 2020. Renzo Vitale: “Sound Design gives us the opportunity to evoke positive emotions in our vehicles. This new start-sound triggers joyful anticipation of the electric drive, when the customer enters his vehicle and presses the Start/Stop button.”
BMW IconicSounds Electric
The silence of driving electrically is often cited as a major advantage of electric mobility. However, as the range of electrified models increases, a gap in the emotionality of the driving experience arises for the driver. Under the brand name “BMW IconicSounds Electric” a visionary sound offer will be created for future electrified vehicles from BMW. Stefan Ponikva, Vice President BMW Brand Experience: “Over the years, the sound of our vehicles has enthused and accompanied millions of people. We are very excited about the exceptional chance of creating the sounds for BMW’s electric mobility together with Hans Zimmer. Thereby we can charge future emotions of our customers worldwide anew and redefine sheer driving pleasure.”
As composer and curator of BMW IconicSounds Electric Hans Zimmer will contribute his expertise to various projects for sound creation for electrified BMW vehicles worldwide. The variety of projects may include sounds for vision vehicles and concepts, series vehicles, composition of sound signs, but also sound creation for communicative occasions focusing on the acoustic-emotional character of electric mobility.
BMW Group has been developing sound for electric mobility for around ten years now
In 2009, with the introduction of the MINI E test fleet, acoustic engineers from the BMW Group were already working on artificially generated sound, which was intended to contribute to the better perceptibility of vehicles with barely audible drivetrains. Since the launch of the BMW i3, customers have therefore been able to choose acoustic pedestrian protection as optional equipment.
The sound of the acoustic pedestrian protection has since been further developed in line with new legislative requirements and is now gradually being rolled out as standard in all plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles from BMW (requirements for acoustic pedestrian protection as well as operating times vary worldwide). The aim in the development was to fulfil the important warning function without disturbing pedestrians. At the same time, the customer should continue to enjoy a high level of acoustic comfort in the vehicle.
For the 2019 holiday season, Caruso and The Grove partnered with Mirrored Media to reimagine The Grove’s Santa House. The building is modeled as Santa’s workshop, and is placed in the center of the iconic Los Angeles shopping center. To update the structure while keeping the charm and whimsical feel of the workshop, the Mirrored team worked with Caruso and partners to create a design that integrated a classic Christmas color palette, candy cane and gingerbread patterns, and playful animatronic characters that welcomed families to the “Winter Wonderland at The Grove”. The roof is covered in realistic snow to help set the scene for Santa’s house for Angelenos.
Throughout the holiday season, children can visit Santa and share their Christmas wishlists, while having professional photos taken of this unforgettable experience.
Guests can make a reservation to see Santa and have photos taken HERE.
When it comes to marketing products and services, engaging, firsthand experiences should be at the top of your company’s promotional strategy. Allowing consumers to test out and truly experience what your brand is about is so important, as it can lead to word-of-mouth buzz and a greater following of loyal fans and new customers. Mirrored Media is one experiential agency that has reshaped how brands interact with consumers.
With a robust client portfolio that includes BMW, NBCUniversal, and Mattel, Mirrored Media is a top-notch, experiential agency that creates high-impact, enduring lifestyle campaigns specializing in music and entertainment. Mirrored Media helps brands reach their target markets through authentic, buzzworthy and memorable experiences. Home Business Magazine recently connected with Mirrored Media CEO Justin Lefkovitch, who was happy to share insight on his business journey, his top tips for entrepreneurs, and more.”
HBM: Tell us about the Mirrored Media brand. What sets it apart from other experiential agencies within the market?
Lefkovitch: “Mirrored Media is a full-service experiential marketing firm that creates high-impact, enduring lifestyle campaigns specializing in music and entertainment. We stand apart from the competition through the emphasis of creating authentic, immersive, memorable experiences. By bridging the gap between music, technology, influencers, art, automotive, and fashion, Mirrored Media has curated some of the most successful and influential experiential activations and campaigns.
What makes us unique is our specialized creative and client approach. We have award-winning creative that has helped to change the way brands reach and engage with their consumers. We are a one-stop shop with all in-house capabilities, from ideation through execution, including: rendering, creative, fabrication, staging, lighting, sound, permitting and so much more.
In order to ensure complete continuity in both communication and our work product, our clients have the same producer from beginning to end. That producer is well-versed in each element of the production to ensure the creative vision isn’t lost as it moves from pre-sale, to fabrication, to on-site execution. Every client experiences transformational results.”
HBM: How did the idea for Mirrored Media come about? What was the inspiration behind the company?
Lefkovitch: “As a teenager in Los Angeles, I was an acclaimed touring magician and a regularly featured performer at the world-famous Magic Castle alongside some of the industry’s biggest names. Soon after, while attending Pepperdine University, I began to manage a well-known singer and songwriter, giving me more exposure and expertise in the world of music and entertainment.
During this time, I often saw firsthand the inherent issues that were present when brands were attempting to market with talent. It was during this paradigm shift in marketing and music, that I wrote a business plan and submitted it to the school’s Graziadio Business Plan Competition. After emerging as a finalist, I soon realized that I had a viable business model. Also around that time, I met Steve Kofsky and world-renowned film composer, Hans Zimmer. Kofsky and Zimmer believed in me and my vision and invited me to join them at their Santa Monica campus.”
HBM: What has been your biggest achievement thus far?
Lefkovitch: “The Road to Coachella is a yearly campaign with BMW that has garnered us over four-dozen industry awards and accolades to-date. The ongoing campaign allows us to create innovative ways to reach Coachella-goers and fans worldwide, where we are met with new challenges every year to keep it fresh and unique.
After conceiving the inaugural namesake in 2017 that sought to create an organic relationship between Coachella, a performing artist, and festival partner BMW i, Mirrored Media expanded that narrative in 2018 and shattered expectations in 2019 with a robust creative strategy targeting Coachella-goers and millennials. The annual campaign has featured artists such as Hans Zimmer, Marshmello, Portugal The Man, and Khalid. Khalid, our 2019 artist partner, catapulted to global superstardom in the midst of our April 2019 campaign. This year’s initiative reached over a billion people through social media, press, and marketing efforts.
This campaign took a localized festival sponsorship, and has created a value proposition for BMW and our artist partners, utilizing the Road to Coachella campaign to create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. The legacy of the campaign has continued with BMW sponsoring Khalid’s Free Spirit tour and working with Hans Zimmer to design the sound of the brand’s newest electric vehicle.”
HBM: What has been your biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Lefkovitch: “I realized that as a startup company, especially in an unestablished marketplace, I would always be trading sales for some uncertainty because the clients betting on us, often had risk associated with them. I learned to be very thorough and specific with my payment structures, and I learned to anticipate and even plan for the associated risks.
As a new entrepreneur, especially when dealing with larger clients, you expect to be paid based on a reasonable payment structure. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Whether through extended payment terms or accounting for late payments, you need to consider realistic cash flow expectations.”
HBM: What is your biggest tip for other aspiring entrepreneurs within the experiential and events-driven industries?
Lefkovitch: “The best advice I could give is to get out of your comfort zone and accept any opportunity to get out and meet people while expanding your professional circle. The goal is to build a network of people that you admire and trust and would want to work with both personally and professionally, even if there is no specific job at the moment. Become actual friends and figure out how you can be beneficial to them without expecting an immediate return.
Speak with passion about your vision and the company you are creating because when it comes down to it, people are buying into you, not just the product. People want to get behind something they believe in. When your passion shines through, it excites people. I always aim to seek out mutually symbiotic partnerships and empower people to help me along my way. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for these people who believed in my vision and were excited to be a part of it.”Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oscar-winning film composer Hans Zimmer (The Lion King), has a new side gig, curating the sounds of otherwise virtually silent electric vehicles made by his hometown automaker, BMW.
On the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show’s opening (and of the announcement of Zimmer’s latest Grammy nomination, his 18th), BMW hauled a busload of mostly German journalists to Zimmer’s sprawling music-production compound tucked amid low-rise office buildings a mile east of downtown Santa Monica. There, Zimmer and BMW executives unveiled the initial results of a previously announced collaboration designed to give voice to cars that make virtually no sound.
“It’s the electric engine which is not delivering any sound at all,” said Jens Thiemer, Head of BMW Brand Management. “This is more and more going to be the way in the next decades. We had to think about what holistic sound experiences can we provide our drivers?”
As part of that future, Zimmer will have an ongoing role creating audio for BMW electric vehicles, starting with a sound that signals the start and stop of the cars. It will be part of next year’s BMW electric fleet.Today In: Business
On start, the sound swells from a single note into a full chord. And when the car is turned off, the sound is reversed, going from a chord to a single note.
Zimmer– who still has an apartment in Munich with a view of the BMW headquarters – said his work on the project was initially informed by the feeling of safety and security he had when he could pick out the sound of his mother’s returning car among the city’s street noise.
He also kept thinking what the world sounded like before the internal-combustion engine took over seemingly everything, but especially our auditory landscape.
“What did the world sound like before the internal-combustion engine,” Zimmer said. “Silence is an expensive commodity now. But we could make (the driving experience) more beautiful. There’s no limit to the sounds we could make” without engine sounds overwhelming everything.
The project taps into the same spirit of customization that led people to create their own cellphone ring-tones. As well, there’s a billion-dollar aftermarket for products that aficionados use to trick out even modest vehicles with internal and external running lights, high-end sound systems, custom paint jobs, and much else.
More recently, BMW competitor Daimler-Benz rolled out an entry-level sedan, the A 220, designed to appeal to a new market segment of tech-savvy younger buyers. Among the options is the ability to customize interior running lights with numerous colors or color combinations. It’s a small thing, but ridiculously pleasing for those who like to make a car more truly an expression of their personality.
And so, no doubt, will be the case for audio in the near-perfect listening conditions possible in a well-made electric vehicle. Though Zimmer and Renzo Vitale, who heads BMW’s music project, were circumspect about what additional sound creation the composer might do in his ongoing role, Zimmer several times mentioned that he already had numerous ideas for more work.
“The start-stop sound is a good first thing to be working on,” Vitale said. ‘Maybe it shows us a new way. More is to be revealed.”
Zimmer originally was commissioned to create a distinctive driving sound for a concept car, the Vision M Next, that BMW unveiled earlier this year.
That audio was built around what’s known in music circles as a Shepard tone, an audio effect that enlists a chord of tones separated by an octave each that shift in pitch and volume, said Vitale. It was designed to provide something of the visceral auditory thrill that a sports car’s revving engine can deliver to enthusiast drivers.
The Shepard tone tricks the ear into believing the sound is perpetually swelling in volume as different tones rise and fall within the overall chord. Zimmer said he used the effect in his Oscar-nominated soundtrack for Christopher Nolan’s Inception among other work.
The sounds also are built around unexpected inspirations, taken from notable visual artists.
For instance, Vitale said the road sound for the concept car – designed to unfurl through four “rooms” of emotional response as a driver accelerated from 0 to 200 kilometers per hour (about 122 mph) – connects to the work of prominent Southern California artist James Turrell, a former MacArthur Fellow noted for his work with the Light and Space movement and Arizona’s Roden Crater naked-eye observatory.
“Every story is a journey,” Zimmer said. ‘The character starts somewhere and ends somewhere else. I thought how great it would be if the car would greet you. The on-off sound could be a delicious Beatles chord that makes you smile.”
It’s not the first time Zimmer has worked with BMW on projects. Three years ago, he was the first musician to work with BMW on a project tied to Coachella, the massive music festival held every spring in the desert three hours’ drive east of Los Angeles.
That first Road to Coachella project featured behind-the-scenes video of Zimmer preparing for his live performance, organizing the 100-person backing orchestra he brought along. The automaker since has partnered with Portugal. The Man and this year with Khalid, who today was nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy.
And BMW has been doing entertainment-connected projects for many years, beginning with the commissioning of Ridley Scott and other notable directors two decades ago to create short films featuring the vehicles.Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.
Norwalk, CT, November 26, 2019 – Chief Marketer, a leading publisher of content, recognition programs and training events for Fortune 1000 marketers, today unveiled the 2020 Chief Marketer 200. It is the world’s only editorial listing of best-in-class brand engagement and activation agencies.
The CM200 features editorial listings and coverage of agencies spanning 11 categories, including Experiential, Sports & Entertainment, Promotion, Retail/Shopper, Digital/Content, Social Media, Design and Innovation, B2B Demand Gen, B2B Brand Engagement Marketing, B2B Experiential Marketing and Martech. Editorial profiles include details on core capabilities and specializations, examples of outstanding work, insights on culture and people, client examples and RFP contact information.
“Many of the marketing disciplines that were once considered ‘below the line’ have come into their own and become some of the most powerful marketing tools in the marketing mix,” says Jessica Heasley, Group Editor & Publisher at Chief Marketer. “We created the CM200 three years ago to shine a spotlight on this vibrant and fast-growing agency community, and to help modern marketers find the partners that will help them craft the kind of campaigns that modern consumers demand.”
Chief Marketer’s editors accepted applications from across the country for the CM200 earlier this fall. Winners were selected based on several criteria including: insightful client testimonials; outstanding case study submissions; high caliber, consistent work across programs and clients; innovative and creative executions; and bold and inspiring concepts and ideas that are moving the industry forward. The 200 agencies selected for this year’s program are thought leaders in their craft and representative of the best of the marketing industry.
ABOUT CHIEF MARKETER Global online content portal Chief Marketer, an Access Intelligence brand, arms aspiring CMOs with the tools, insights, data and training they need to master the “next frontier of marketing”—an age of marketing much less dependent on advertising and much more focused on the rest of the branding toolkit. CM has more than 150,000 readers who rely on its content and live events to help them cut through the noise and find the solutions necessary to optimize their performance. From digital, direct and content marketing, to social, experiential, promotion and more, our weekly newsletters and daily website content covers it all. In addition to the CM200, Chief Marketer also produces the PRO Awards, and recognition programs including Masters of Martech and Future CMOs. Learn more at chiefmarketer.com.
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