Studio Tentpoles vs Smaller Properties

It always amazes me when you hear the pitch on big tent pole properties. These are usually films that have at least a budget of 100M and are the properties studios are hanging their year on for big participation with brands and product. They come promised with tons of potential retail, and licensed brand support and you feel that you feel like you just bought your first package of shake and bake. This promotional meal looks easy, fast, and tastes…okay…but the cost to play in this feast is high for the perceived results.

The alternative is a property with limited budget support, little retail support or promotional/licensed product, and unless you are a paradigm pioneer partnering with a smaller property could be a Texas shootout.

So the decision sounds easy and most big companies do choose the easy comfortable way out. For comparison lets root for the underdog for a bit. Small films or properties have the less clutter advantage. If you’re a small brand you can play king of the hill. If handled properly, with a portfolio of products, you can create your own merchandising event with your normal retail support. A truly outstanding opportunity of showcasing and billboarding your shelf set for the promotion. Usually there is little or no license fee and the people behind the small brand are there to lend you “over the top”support to make the partnership work.

Now I don’t want to the talk behind the tent poles back, but the tendency is to let the property do the talking. If the retail community appears to be behind it, it does look inviting to participate and spend the bucks. Big retail and brand participation always in inviting!!

The lesson really to be learned is it’s your job to make it or break it. You have to protect your brand and control what you can control. You must be responsible to stay on top of the pile that is uncontrollable.

If you think any of the 2 decisions is not going to take strong hands behind the wheel you better stay off this road. You may think you have found the golden wrapper of a property and you will surely be mistaken. I have seen huge tent poles with lots of glitter on paper that look dynamic. However, when the retail execution reality show sets in, fingers start a pointing. The last thing you want is to put your customer or brand in a promoton where they can drop the ball and have that finger pointing at them or you.

The best advice is to develop a promotional matrix on how you think each facet of your organization will embrace either opportunity, tentpole or smaller property. Benchmark retail, sales, marketing, buyers, executives, internal and external factors before making your decision.

Set out clear objectives for your executional expectations and see if you and your brand can be accountable to the gold standard. If your answer is never, then I suggest giving either option a try , because it’s clear you or your company is a constant “Dr No” !!!