In November, DreamWorks Animation announced it would openly share the software it created for the special effects in its new film "Rise of the Guardians." Months earlier, the movie giant also teased plans for a DreamWorks TV channel. And just this week, the company announced the addition of Michael Francis in the new role of chief brand officer.
As these initiatives diversify the animation company's brand portfolio, chief marketing officer and 16-year DreamWorks vet Anne Globe is inspiring change on the marketing front. Ms. Globe, who oversees promotion of the company's brand and film products, as well as manages the marketing components of its technology partnerships with Hewlett-Packard and Intel, will work closely with Mr. Francis. She talked to Ad Age about the evolution of the company's brands, as well as the perks of being an animation company at a time when technology and marketing are converging.
Ad Age : DreamWorks has built and licensed technology for years, and now is openly sharing that technology. How does that benefit the brand?
Ms. Globe: We have found an opportunity to be very inventive on the tech front and find new ways to support filmmakers, bringing technology to the marketplace, using it in our marketing, and sometimes on its own separate track. There are also things we're creating out of need, like Halo systems [teleconference software designed by DreamWorks and licensed by HP]. It was marketed as a competitor to Cisco's system.
That was something that was created out of need post-9/11. It became more time-consuming for people to travel, so we thought it would be helpful to be able to have a more effective video-conferencing system.
App creation and other things then become software that 's a shareable resource.
Ad Age : Tell me about some of the apps DreamWorks has created and how their development contributes to your marketing goals?
Ms. Globe: Three years ago, we didn't have any apps at all. Now that 's a huge opportunity to engage an audience. We recently launched, as an ongoing element of the "How to Train Your Dragon" franchise, an app called DragonDrop. We have two feature films and TV stories on the air, and technology is providing the most unique and best place to create a consistent and ongoing connection with the characters and story.
For "Rise of the Guardians," we looked to create an augmented-reality app [with photo-recognition technology] ourselves that allowed us to have deeper vertical integration with all materials we put in the marketplace. When you're in a theater, you point the device at a printed material, and that comes to life with extra animation. It's an opportunity to engage with additional material and feature content related to the movie. It's something we hadn't done before.
Ad Age : How, if at all, have you shifted your marketing mix and budget?
Ms. Globe: We have shifted advertising dollars and general marketing spend to the digital side with each film we release. Going forward, we'll continue to see the digital space as a bigger and bigger opportunity for movie marketers, but we'll still do the same amount of TV and in-theater advertising and, depending on the season, build a lot of outdoor [ads]. Traditional print media has been the place where we've shrunk that budget substantially. We need to go where the audience is . Now more than ever, if we're releasing a trailer, there's a big program online, whether it's with iTunes or with YouTube. We promote that information online because a majority of moviegoers get their info about a film or see a trailer for the first time online.
Ad Age : The company recently hinted at creating its own television network. What will that mean for brand marketing and positioning? How else is the network diversifying its brand portfolio?
Ms. Globe: We are looking at various places where we can extend the franchises into not only the movies and sequels and DVDs, but also TV. We had discussed our show "Penguins of Madagascar" with Nickelodeon, as well as a "Dragon" show. We have an aggressive group licensing to theme parks, and we are developing a studio in China, as well as looking at potential for a TV station, possibly with our new distribution company, Fox. We're also diversifying products even further with theme parks. In July, DreamWorks announced it was partnering with a brand-new New Jersey mall to create a theme park featuring DreamWorks Animation characters.
Ad Age : What are some key challenges you're facing on the marketing front?
Ms. Globe: The biggest challenge for us right now is marketing films to all audiences, including kids. The kids networks you can buy, particularly Nickelodeon, are working on trying to replace some of the eyeballs [migrating online], and I think all marketers are looking at where kids are migrating. That includes Netflix, which we can't buy, and apps and so forth. We have aggressive programs on YouTube—they're very effective—where kids are spending time. Kids and teens and tweens are early adopters, so we have to challenge ourselves to know where the audience is .