Brand Film Review: Beyond Money, Beyond Banking, Beyond Advertising
This may be a first here people. Well, a first for me. I’m new to this branding game. My experience is film criticism on the blogosphere, but the other day, while thinking of ads, I wondered, “Huh? Commercials and branded content are made by filmmakers, so what would happen if someone reviewed them like a movie?” So here I am, writing a branded content review of the long ad Cuanto, Mas All Del Dinero (How Much, Beyond Money).
Cuanto, Mas All Del Dinero (How Much, Beyond Money) was a short film of the branded content campaign “Beyond Money” from Santander Bank, which was a promotion targeted at Millennials to further the bank’s new account offering to that age group. The short film was about Lucia, a young woman living in a world where you can buy and sell experiences for money, and how this new way of banking affects her life. Now, like the Millennials they were targeting, I don’t dig banks, but darn it if this wasn’t a heck of an ad and piece of filmmaking!
- The Filmmaking – Boy oh boy, did Kike Maillo (the director) hit this one out of the park! Forget about Santander! Simply as a piece of filmmaking this movie had it all. The story, cinematography, editing and direction were spot on and the lead performance from Adriana Ugarte (Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta) was engrossing.
- The Subtleness of the 1|2|3 Smart Account – Remember this was an ad, so at the crux of this was Santander trying to sell something, which in this case was the 1|2|3 Smart Account for the youth. Instead of beating you across the head with it, they instead got you hooked with the story and its message of money and experiences all the while having clever product placement appear throughout, such as Lucia’s 1|2|3 Smart Account on her phone and window.
- The Optimistic Message – Now, if this were a straight up sci-fi film, there would be no optimistic ending. Sci-Fi usually ends on a pessimistic or realistic note given the situation, but in Cuanto, Mas All Del Dinero the ending was optimistic. I won’t spoil it for you, but at the end, Santander Bank made a film where they were not the bad guys and everything worked out a-okay. Good marketing.
Some Bad (which, in this case, was few and not all “Beyond Money’s” fault):
- The Twist – I saw it coming by the middle of the film. Now, the point was not to get you like M. Night Shyamalan, but to sell you something so maybe I’m over-analyzing here, but if you approach your ads like a film and want to deliver a film twist, you best play your cards better and not give away your hand too early.
- The Reminder That Mainstream Films Today Lack Brains – Yes. I said it. Look, I’m not saying today’s movies are bad. No way! It’s just that the real good movies are smaller and harder to find. The multiplexes are home to franchises, fan boys and sequels to the nth degree; but, with Cuanto, Mas All Del Dinero, a short film that was a glorified commercial, we were given a thought-provoking story and a film better than today’s mainstream movies and it’s and ad! Come on people! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
All companies and brand promotions can take something from Cuanto, Mas All Del Dinero and Santander. This film was the centerpiece of a campaign that was trying to lasso in a generation that did not trust banks. Instead of getting the middle finger, Santander got its highest sign up rate in 160 years, the negative attitude toward the bank dropped 24% and it nabbed 7.3 million views on various viewing platforms, including movie theaters, in a week!
How did it do it? It made a short film with an engrossing story that was expertly made and subtlety laced with product placement. Watching this ad was a cool experience. I might want to sell it…