Gwyneth Paltrow Directs and Advertiser Partners Get to Ride Along

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Magazines that are still limited to their bindings and that sell ads only in their pages may want to take a look at Glamour’s "Reel Moments" program.
Photo: AP
Gwyneth Paltrow

After all, what once sounded like any other company’s publicity-motivated venture into filmmaking has now breached the gates of the Sundance Film Festival and also scored a Grammy nomination. And marketers got the equivalent of walk-ons in the five short films the program produced.

“Dealbreaker,” a film under the Reel Moments banner presented by Glamour and Nokia and directed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Mary Wigmore, will be one of 73 shorts screened in Salt Lake City as part of the Sundance festival this January.

“What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life,” a song performed by Sting for a Glamour short directed by his wife, Trudie Styler, has also been nominated for a Grammy in the category of instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist(s).

That does not mean that art-house films are falling to corporate raiders. For one thing, Sundance has long since evolved -- or devolved depending on your view -- from an indie showcase into a high-rolling deal-making mecca. It does suggest, though, that indie movies that are both a) worth watching and b) backed by advertisers can co-exist.

Moviemaking middleman
With Reel Moments, an effort run by VP-Publisher William Wackermann, Glamour put itself in the lucrative position of middleman, recruiting advertisers to support short films based on essays submitted by its readers. Each movie is introduced with “Glamour and [advertiser] present a Moxie Pictures film.”

Moxie Pictures is a bicoastal commercial and film production company.

In addition to “Dealbreaker,” the Reel Moments shorts include “Good Morning Baby,” presented by Bebe; “Wait,” presented by Ford Motor Co.’s Mercury Milan, “Little Black Dress,” presented by Elizabeth Arden; and “Gnome,” presented by Glamour alone. Advertisers get a subtle dose of product placement and a closing credit as well.

DVD distribution
"Dealbreaker's" exposure will not be limited to Sundance, as it and the other four shorts will be available on Glamour's Web site, and DVDs will be distributed inside an upcoming issue.

Given the abundance of stadiums like Invesco Field at Mile High, not to mention occasional TV programs titled “Coca-Cola Presents the Young Americans“ or “Pepsi Smash,” it is getting easier to imagine buying tickets to see features called “Brawny Paper Towels Presents King Kong” or “Absolut Brokeback Mountain.”

Whether that’s good for cinema is doubtful if not clear, but it presents a new opening for marketers and their media business partners. Magazines haven’t played much a role yet; small-screen projects like the annual Vibe Awards and “MTV’s Miss Seventeen” are about as close as they have come.

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