After successfully expanding its film marketing business to include producing original content for Hollywood studios, Big Picture Entertainment has launched Rec Room.
The company will operate independently from Big Picture and focus on helping its film and television studio clients, digital networks and consumer brands create projects that connect with consumers in ways traditional advertising cannot.
Former 20th Century Fox executives Jonthan Helfgot and Mike George formed Rec Room after developing Big Picture’s nontraditional ad business over the past three years. Current clients include Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Netflix, LinkedIn, Fox Sports, Red Bull, Papa John’s, Coors, Google, YouTube and the New York Knicks.
The duo will especially zero in on projects that effectively utilize a variety of online platforms as a way to engage audiences with storytelling that creates connections with their brands, whether it’s a specific film or product. That includes a current campaign for Sony’s sci-fier “Chappie,” that promotes the film on Instagram through video and other content. Another is a global launch of Netflix in foreign territories that may not necessarily be familiar with how the streaming service works or what it offers.
“Where you win is when you make something entertaining but serve a strategic marketing purpose,” Helfgot told Variety. “You can make something that goes viral and gets conversations on blogs, but if it doesn’t connect emotionally then it’s not successful. People don’t want to be sold to.”
With Big Picture operating as more of a traditional marketing agency, “It made sense to separate out Rec Room as an individual company,” Helfgot said of the company that operates out of offices in Culver City, Calif. It will continue to work closely on editorial and post-production with Big Picture.
The decision to spin off Rec Room comes as the division grew to a point where it warranted its own identity, Big Picture said.
“We are all aware that the landscape of nontraditional marketing is constantly changing, and with Mike and Jon’s creative and strategic experience on both the studio and agency sides, we can’t imagine a better partnership to bring this new venture to market,” said Ryan Hegenberger, managing partner of Big Picture.
Helfgot previously spent nearly a decade as a strategic marketing executive at Walden Media and 20th Century Fox, where he developed campaigns for more than 150 films.
George has directed over 100 commercials, promotions and branded content pieces for film studios, TV networks and major brands. He also was previously creative director at 20th Century Fox for domestic film campaigns and collaborated on cross-promotions with Coke Zero, Panasonic, McDonalds and Hershey’s.