Can a trifecta of filmmakers behind Universal’s “Fast & Furious” franchise and Marvel’s newest blockbuster “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” create the next big hit for Madison Avenue?
That’s what Justin Lin, Anthony and Joe Russo are trying to do with Bullitt, a new agency backed by film producer Todd Makurath and Ridley Scott’s RSA that will produce entertainment around consumer brands, the first of which is Harley-Davidson. An impressive list of smaller boutique ad agencies, including Maven Label, the House of Representatives and Venable will work with Bullitt.
Harley-Davidson’s motorcyles have appeared in the “Captain America” movies, with the star-spangled superhero shown riding the company’s American-made bikes.
And now Marvel and Harley are looking to introduce a new set of superheroes through a digital series that the Russo brothers (who will direct “Captain America 3”) will oversee.
The trio of directors have formed a collective of other filmmakers that include Louis Leterrier (“Now You See Me”), Troy Miller (Hulu’s “Deadbeat”) and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (“Monuments Men”) they will turn to as they develop projects with brands or work on other films and TV shows.
The Bullitt name is derived from the title of the 1968 Steve McQueen film, long considered one of the best commercials for Ford’s Mustang on the bigscreen.
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Madison Avenue has long experimented with branded entertainment as a way to build stories around their products and help them stand out in a way that they do not in traditional advertising like TV commercials. That’s especially true as more audiences, especially younger ones, are turning to digital platforms for their entertainment.
RSA scored with a series of BMW Films called “The Hire” that starred Clive Owen. More recently, it’s produced the short film “Desire” for Jaguar that starred “Homeland’s” Damian Lewis.
An example of the Russo brothers’ branded entertainment work can be seen in Smirnoff vodka’s new campaign, which stars Alison Brie and Adam Scott. A nearly four-minute film (watch below) has been broken up into 30-second spots.