DON'T HIT HARD, WEINSTEIN TELLS BRANDS — 'IT'S A TURN OFF'
There are several brand with which Hollywood storyteller, game-changer and multiple -award-winning producer Harvey Weinstein would like to collaborate: "generous and smart" Samsung, Apple "with it's cool stuff", Google... — "and I have a great idea for Coca Cola..." — he told delegates at yesterday's Publicis seminar, Beyond The big Screen: The Future Of Storytelling In Hollywood.
Talking to his old friend Maurice Levy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Group, Weinstein said on of the reasons why attempts to bring Hollywood and advertising industry together have been largely unsuccessful is to do with approach . "You have to be nuanced when working with brands," he said. "If you hit it too hard, it's a turn-off."
Take product placement: "I'm not against it, but it shouldn't be overdone, Pepsi in 27 scenes in a movie is too much. Three's probably too much. Again, it's got to be nuanced." Levy observed that, while Hollywood has mastered the are of storytelling, "digital intrusion" is slowly killing the big screen. Weinstein agreed: "I see people on planes watching Pulp Fiction on their phones and i think, why did I bother?" But this is the future. The model is going through deep, deep changes."
In this brave new multiscreen world, "subject matter is everything", he added, referencing Weinstein Company's upcoming release Lion. "It's and amazing movie about a five-year-old kid in India, who's adopted by Australians and finally finds his way home. It has the epic size and scope that's needed to fill the big screen."
Weinstein Company's television business, meanwhile, is booming, with 10 series on air and further seven of eight in the pipeline. Weinstein welcomed the trend for big-budget, cinematic drama, exemplified by War & Peace and Doctor Thorne, saying it gave him "a huge landscape and the time to tell stories."
And he predicted that those stories are set to become bigger still. As an example he referenced a recent acquisition SS-GB — based on the Len Deighton thriller — set in Nazi occupied London. "In the old days on TV , you had one car chase an hour,' he said. "We had 10,000 extras in Marco Polo."