Vimeo has a reputation for being the platform of choice for discerning filmmakers looking to share their work. Now, with its Brand Creative Fund, Vimeo hopes to become the platform of choice for adventurous brands looking to tell their stories in creative ways. The new offering pairs brands with filmmakers from within the Vimeo community to create high-quality “brand-enabled” video content.
The first project from the Brand Creative Fund is for automaker Lincoln. Working in partnership with four directors from the Vimeo community, Lincoln has released a film series called “Profile By Design,” the second installment in its yearlong “Hello, Again” relaunch campaign, which encourages people to reimagine the brand by seeing everything old as new again.
For the series, which launches today, filmmakers Eliot Rausch, Lucy McRae, Jeff Frost, and Becky & Joe were tasked with offering distinct interpretations of “Hello, Again.” McRae’s film delves into her research into an ingestible perfume that is released through the body, while Jeff Frost scours the desert for fallen Joshua trees to adorn with art. Becky & Joe create art on old celluloid film, while Rausch explores the tension between technology and human connection in the most poignant film of the bunch. Each of the directors’ creative process is also featured in a series of making-of films to be released on Vimeo in late April and early May.
Lincoln’s digital consumer marketing manager Jim Peters says that this kind of storytelling allows brands like Lincoln to better engage with consumers. “Through the ‘Hello, Again’ campaign, Lincoln wants to tell a new, reimagined brand story, and show our commitment to leadership in areas of design and quality. This collaboration with Vimeo aligns with our brand, recognizing that the Vimeo audience–as well as its film contributors–was more of a fit for the creative and independent program audience.”
Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor says that the company has worked with brands in the past on creative collaborations–and indeed creative advertising is a big part of the Vimeo world–but the Brand Creative Fund is a formalization of such partnerships. “Lincoln is in a place where they’re trying to support creativity in a genuine way, and they came to us in the spirit of collaboration and asked us what we can do together,” says Trainor. “Lincoln has been an incredible partner because they totally get the spirit of the Brand Creative Fund. They have been very trusting of the creators by saying, ‘This is what we want to accomplish and we’re funding you to create this for us.’ ” And for the artists involved, creative freedom and respectable budgets (Trainor pegs budgets at in the “tens of thousands”) have made for a positive experience.
Having a brand underwrite films that creatively interpret a theme is not an entirely new marketing idea. What makes the work created by the Brand Creative Fund special, however, is how it’s conceived. Not only are brands able to tap into the global creative community of filmmakers, but Vimeo takes a consultative approach with brands, helping them conceive the kind of content that will be well received by Vimeo’s 100 million monthly viewers.
“We call it Brand Creative Fund because it’s a little different than a media buy in that a brand comes to the table with funding to distribute and create media,” says Trainor, noting the distinction between digital ad buys on other video sites. “What we do is sit with advertisers, understand their needs, and we then can develop what the program should look like, how much content we want to produce, and then pair them with creatives from the Vimeo network.”
For Vimeo, having brand partnerships through the Brand Creative Fund allows the company to generate revenue and growth while maintaining its high-quality experience. “This is the perfect next step forward in evolving the right type of advertising for Vimeo,” says Trainor. “What this is, is another ad product that allows us to unlock the deeper facets of Vimeo that we think differentiate the service: namely connecting brands with creators and being able to create and distribute video brand pieces–without doing pre-roll.” To which we say, amen.