Online dating services that promise to find a soul mate have nothing on Lance Still.
|Lance Still, exec VP-national promotions, New Line Cinema
As exec VP-national promotions at Time Warner's New Line Cinema, Ms. Still has made dozens of perfect matches between entertainment content and marketers.
Case in point: "Wedding Crashers" needed a partner for its launch last summer, and Ms. Still figured Anheuser-Busch was the one. Its flagship Budweiser brand had an on-screen role in the R-rated film, and Ms. Still wanted that placement to blossom into a multimillion-dollar hookup.
Anheuser-Busch, however, was a reluctant bride, having been out of the Hollywood film game for 14 years. Executives initially turned down the proposal, but like the movie's single-minded lotharios Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, Ms. Still wasn't easily dissuaded.
"I did a lot of stalking," says Ms. Still.
Her tenacity and keen understanding of Anheuser-Busch's business clinched the partnership, which later extended to the movie's DVD release, says Michael Gianino, senior director-branded marketing. "She might've known more about my consumer than I did," he says. "She thrives on information. She's a sponge."
The result: The movie became a surprise hit to the tune of $285 million in worldwide box office. A first-of-its-kind "Crash the Trailer" Web promotion with Budweiser let consumers substitute their photos for the film's stars and share with friends, kicking up massive on- and offline buzz.
The deal is indicative of Ms. Still's approach at the small studio, differentiating her pitches to the marketing community by offering to do much of the heavy lifting for them.
"Being a one-stop shop makes us stand out," says Ms. Still, 38.
The strategy has helped her land first-time film partners like Avon Products and Porsche Cars North America. "It's never cookie-cutter," she says.