Motorola's director of marketing, Colleen McClure, has had her eye on the Toronto International Film Festival Group for years. “There is a lot of cachet around the festival,” she notes. “We wanted to associate ourselves.” But she was wary, too: “To be part of a logo soup is not of interest to us,” explains McClure. Motorola's marketing team only gets excited about a sponsorship when there's both a chance to let consumers sample products and the event's image fits nicely with their own brand.
Since Motorola began rolling out mobile phones with video capability last year, the company finally felt comfortable approaching TIFFG. And in its very first year as a TIFFG sponsor, the global communications company has some of the coolest initiatives around.
Take, for example, its MotoFilm project. One month before the festival, Motorola supplied V635 video phones to the 22 emerging Canadian filmmakers participating in Talent Lab, the festival's artistic development program. At the festival, the artists will privately showcase the movies they created using the V635 (assignment: self-portraits), and participate in a round-table discussion on mobile movie-making, a new trend. (Two films showing at this year's festival were made using video phones.) In return, Motorola hopes for feedback from the filmmakers for future product development.
Another neat idea is the Motoreel contest, a student competition to create the best 30-second spot reminding folks to turn off their cellphones in the movie theatre. The winner's commercial airs before every TIFF screening. Motorola's ulterior motive: forging a relationship with students, and getting up-and-comers hooked on their brand.
Motorola will also have street teams working the festival lineups, demonstrating to Joe Average how video phones function, and distributing coupons.
Motorola won't divulge how much the sponsorship costs, citing confidentiality agreements with TIFFG, but calls the price tag “significant.” Before committing to another year of sponsorship, McClure's team will measure the effectiveness of this year's efforts: how many coupons redeemed, how many good product suggestions gleaned, how many times the Motorola name makes it into the news. But if she had to guess about the future? In McClure's eyes, “video movie technology is very important for the future of our technologies…I see [TIFFG sponsorship] as a nice fit moving forward.”