The JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts brand launched its first original film “Two Bellmen” on Tuesday.
The 17-minute action comedy, directed by Daniel “Malakai” Cabrera, is the first significant foray into filmmaking for Marriott since the hotel giant launched an in-house content studio last fall.
Shot entirely at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live, “Two Bellmen” stars Henry Simmons (Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Miles Brown (“Black-ish”), William Spencer (“The Amazing Spider-Man”) and Caine Sinclair (“Grimm”).
By incorporating music and movement, the movie tells the story of two bellmen, Gage and Christian, who work at the JW Marriott property. When the hotel hosts an event featuring priceless works of art, the bellmen encounter a group of art thieves called the “Purple Panthers,” who try to steal a priceless painting. The bellman go above and beyond the call of duty to stop the heist, and save the day.
Executive producer David Beebe, who also serves as Marriott’s VP of global creative and content marketing, told Variety that the film is the first in what will hopefully become a franchise of Marriott-branded marketing videos that focus on telling great stories, rather than trying to overtly sell the product — in its case, hotel rooms. He said consumers today have outgrown the ploys of traditional advertising.
“People don’t watch 30-second spots anymore,” Beebe said. “They connect with great stories.”
Beebe thinks that by integrating the brand into the plot of the story, viewers won’t be put off like they might be, had Marriott decided to go a more traditional route.
“Our approach is that as brands, we need to stop interrupting what people are interested in, and become what they’re interested in,” he said.
Cabrera, the film’s director who worked on the project with music collective Substance Over Hype, said that when he was brought on, the challenge was to figure out how to make what he calls “a Gobstopper film,” which combines many different elements to create one cohesive product.
“We (Cabrera and Beebe) had this list of how we could make this Gobstopper with lots of different flavors, but still tell a great story, represent the brand well and do action comedy that I can show my four-year-old daughter,” Cabrera said.
In addition to launching the short across Marriott’s various online channels, the film will unspool in limited theatrical release and play in Marriott guest rooms through its in-room network. Beebe said launching the video on YouTube is the best method for distributing this type of content because it encourages the viewers to react and interact.
“It’s a place for us to really build a community and have a two-way conversation,” he said.