Intel and Toshiba have just wrapped the final episode of 'The Power Inside', the third social film series created by the brands.
Building on the success of ‘Inside’ and ‘The Beauty Inside’, Intel & Toshiba have again joined forces to produce a Hollywood-quality film to be screened online.
‘The Power Inside’ is a comedy / Sci-Fi adventure which sees earth invaded by a race of extraterrestrial moustaches and unibrows which take over people’s faces. The film follows our group of heroes, led by main character Neil, who must use Intel/Toshiba Ultrabook to defeat the invaders.
Inline with the previous films, the main character discovers the power inside the laptop along with the power inside himself.
As with the previous social film projects, fans were invited to audition for parts in the film by uploading videos to the dedicated Facebook page.
Last year's 'The Beauty Inside' film dominated at Cannes International Festival of Creativity, winning the Branded Content category and the Film category [check]. It also won a 2013 Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding New Approach to Daytime Programming.
Johan Jervoe, Intel's vice president partner marketing, said: "When we embarked on the first social film, the concept of branded entertainment was still in its infancy, yet consumers rewarded the newness and boldness with tens of millions of views and recently with a coveted Daytime Emmy. We continue to push the boundaries by partnering with acclaimed Hollywood talent and experimenting with new social tools to keep the experience fresh for our fans around the world."
Intel & Toshiba are clearly hoping the old adage third times a charm plays true with this series.
Bouncing off the back of the immensely popular The Beauty Inside, (read Branded Arts Review's thoughts here, here and here) the brands were under the spotlight with this series, which needed to perform.
The move to a Sci-fi comedy was a smart move in ensuring the subject matter was different enough to the previous series, it also provided an opportunity to appeal to a new audience and grow beyond its current fan base.
However there was a danger too that it might not pull it off, would it be funny enough or would it prove to be lame?
Let’s compare the stats.
'Inside', which launched in July 2011, starred actress Emmy Rossum in what was deemed ‘Hollywood’s first social film’. A mysterious thriller, directed by Hollywood director D.J. Caruso, which sees Rossum trapped in a room with a laptop and untraceable internet connection. Her only hope is connecting to friends through social media who will aid her escape. The series attracted 50 million views and 7 million interactions on Facebook.
'The Beauty Inside', launched in 2012, starring Topher Grace and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a romantic comedy directed by Drake Doremus. In ‘The Beauty Inside’ Alex wakes up every day as a different person, he is always the same on the inside, but the outside is always different. He meets Leah, falls in love and everything changes as he knows he will never see her again. The series gave fans the chance to play Alex and appear alongside Hollywood stars. The series attracted 70 million views, 96,000 likes on Facebook and went on to win an Emmy along with a swag of advertising awards.
'The Power Inside' has big shoes to fill. Launching with a trailer in July, the latest Inside film was directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon. It stars screen veteran Harvey Kietel along with a number of young stars including Analeigh Tipton, Reid Ewing, Craig Roberts and Zack Pearlman (yep me neither).
The trailer alone attracted around 1 million YouTube views setting the first episode up nicely to receive 1.9 million views. However, the challenge would be holding the audience’s attention for 5 more episodes.
As Branded Arts Review published this article ,the films were tracking at around 2.5 million YouTube views, which is nothing to sniff at. The proof will of course be in the pudding of all the combined viewing figures. It’s reasonable to assume these numbers will increase significantly as other platforms are included.
The production qualities are sleek, this a blockbuster-class experiment in social entertainment and on that level it scores. The premise is cute too: the hipster moustache is an alien life form trying to take over the world. The script is kooky, there are a couple of good gags in there and mostly things hum along nicely.
Obviously not being the target market makes it hard to review its impact fully however I can’t help but feel that this series fell a little flat.
Unlike the previous films, the role of the laptop is more overt, it seems less plot device and more of a clunky add-on. It just felt like this one was trying a little too hard.
‘Inside’ was compelling for its mystery and suspense and also the way that fans could become so entwined and engaged with the content. This kept audiences coming back and in some cases barely leaving, for many it was an emotional and addictive experience. They begged Intel & Toshiba for more.
Similarly with ‘The Beauty Inside’ audiences were enraptured. Fundamentally the story and the message at the heart of that series was so human and so lovely that this project was bound to perform strongly. The idea that we can be loved no matter what is on the outside is a strong and powerful message, particularly when it is presented without an enormous layer of schmaltz. In addition it was really well made and really quite lovely storytelling.
Whereas ‘The Power Inside’, which as the title suggests was all about finding your inner strength – like the strength inside your computer - is not quite as emotive a message to communicate. It’s less relatable and as an experience finding your inner strength is quite a personal and individual journey, which makes it a tough one to communicate authentically.
It’s hard not to compare 'The Power Inside' with the other series, and to view it on its own would probably be fairer on the project, because sadly in comparison it just doesn’t match up. It lacks the magic, the mystery and the storytelling just aren’t quite there. At no point in 'The Power Inside' do you question how the story will end. It’s predictable and when you are targeting such a savvy, cynical audience as the 18 – 24 – year olds, this is not going to cut it.
On paper 'The Power Inside' is a winner. It is quirky and relevant, it mocks itself playfully while showing off great production values. It’s downfall was its message, in going for gags and plumping for such an ambitious sentiment it failed to capture the authenticity and mystery of the previous films.
However that is not to say that the series has failed. (Especially when you consider I am not the target market and accordingly may have totally missed the point here.)
When you consider the strategy behind 'The Power Inside' is the same that has driven the last two films: to raise awareness and create interest in Toshiba laptop with Intel processing and lure people away from the Apple products.
In this way the 'Inside' films continue to be successful platform for the Intel & Toshiba brands and their products. Also when you consider the secondary element was to align the brand with creativity, this too has been achieved successfully through the ongoing strategy of branded entertainment.
The real challenge now is what the brands do next? They have captured the attention and imagination of a huge audience, so it's clearly time to raise the bar.
These brands have achieved a major milestone creating the first social films and in doing so creating a new genre of branded entertainment. They have demonstrated a solid grasp of storytelling and how brands can create compelling stories to engage with fans.
The 'Inside' films have been a masterclass in branded entertainment and a perfect example of the power of strategy and artistry. It is a shame that 'The Power Inside', lacked some of the punch it so desired.
'The Power Inside' may have struggled in comparison to Intel & Toshiba’s 'Inside' Films series, but it was a solid effort in branded entertainment.
Brand: Intel & Toshiba
Creative Company: Pereira & O'Dell