As the announcer used to say in the Certs commercials, “Stop, you’re both right.” The clip, with an accompanying behind-the-scenes video, does double duty, for the Redbury Hotel in Los Angeles and an Australian rock band named the Rubens.
The clip and the video are part of an extensive campaign, with a budget estimated at $75,000 to $100,000, that also includes the Web sites for the Redbury and the Rubens; e-mail marketing; social media like blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube; prize giveaways; and paid ads on Facebook.
Synergistic marketing efforts have become commonplace in recent years, particularly with the increasing popularity on Madison Avenue of what is known as branded content, branded entertainment or content marketing.
The goal is to produce advertising that is perceived by consumers as entertaining or informative rather than yet another hard-sell product pitch.
While the clip works hard on behalf of the Redbury and the Rubens, it originated as a content marketing campaign for the Redbury, a five-story, 57-room hotel near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine that was opened in 2010 to cater to guests in creative industries like film, fashion, advertising, television and music. The SBE Hotel Group, a unit of the SBE Entertainment Group that manages the Redbury, brought in Matthew Rolston, the director and photographer, to develop the concept for the hotel along with Sam Nazarian, the entrepreneur and nightlife impresario who is also the chairman and chief executive of SBE Entertainment.
Mr. Rolston was asked recently to produce a campaign that would help attract to the Redbury more guests from its largest international feeder market, Australia, as well as show off its features, which include a restaurant, Cleo, and an indoor-outdoor lounge, the Library. His idea was to find a band from Australia to front the campaign, musicians who would personify the image of the Redbury, which The Los Angeles Times describes as “an effort to mix bohemian, 1960s flower power and old Hollywood sensibilities.” Mr. Rolston then turned to Warner Brothers Records, part of the Warner Music Group, whose executives suggested that he work with the Rubens, a band that includes three brothers from New South Wales, Australia, named Sam, Elliott and Zaac Margin. (Hmmmm. Perhaps their parents are fans of the American actor Sam Elliott.) Among the mutually beneficial aspects of the collaboration is that Warner Brothers Records plans to release an album by the Rubens on Sept. 10.
“The Redbury brand is rooted in rock ‘n’ rock and Hollywood,’ says Veronica Smiley, chief marketing officer at SBE in Los Angeles. “It’s a brand in its infancy in the life style category and for us, relevance is so critical in our relationship and appeal to guests and prospective guests.”
To help “extend the love and excitement for the Redbury to new audiences,” Ms. Smiley says, on the “limited budget” that SBE has as “a small yet growing company,” the decision was made to “zero in on an important consumer segment, Australians.”
Then “we went to Matthew, our established partner on this brand, and challenged him to develop a campaign to amplify the Redbury’s awareness and connection to rock ‘n’ roll and Hollywood,” she adds.
Centering the campaign on branded entertainment or content marketing was crucial, Ms. Smiley says, because “our audience doesn’t respond to a print ad.”
“They’re looking for unique and unexpected ways to connect with us,” she adds.
The clip and video represent “an authentic extension of how we have envisioned our brand,” Ms. Smiley says. “We were thrilled with how it turned out.”
The clip was directed by a young director, Sean Nalaboff, for Mr. Rolston’s production unit, R-Roll; the behind-the-scenes video, also a production of R-Roll, is directed by Sophie Turner. The clip begins by proclaiming: “R-Roll Presents the Rubens. The Rubens at the Redbury. ‘The Best We Got.’” (“The Best We Got” is the title of the song the band sings in the clip.)
The clip, liberally peppered with sex, runs for almost four and a half minutes. It intersperses scenes shot in daytime and nighttime, in color and in black and white, at the hotel and the neighborhood.
The opening images include a brief glimpse of James Dean’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a young woman undressing as she walks down a corridor in the Redbury.
Mostly, the Rubens are the focus, performing “The Best We Got” and frolicking in various parts of the hotel, including Cleo and the Library. They eat pizza, stand on a table, have a food fight and hang out with attractive young women. To spice things up, there are quick shots of two women in some amorous activity as well as a moment, after the food fight, when one member of the band licks frosting off another band member’s face.
In the behind-the-scenes video, which runs almost five minutes, Mr. Rolston, as creative director and executive producer, explains how the clip represents “an interesting cross-promotion between a hotel group and a record label and a band.”
“It’s something I feel points the way to the future of marketing and advertising,” Mr. Rolston says, “where entertainment really is the medium.”