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Marriott ramps up mobile storytelling with trailer for first short film

Marriott International is entering a new sector of digital marketing with a trailer for its original short film Two Bellmen, which will be available in its entirety in March on the brand's mobile-optimized Web site and YouTube.

The film, featuring the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles property, is the first original production to come from the hotel brand, and builds upon its initiative to leverage digital storytelling in a bid to connect emotionally with consumers as well as highlight its properties in a creative manner. The film is set to debut on Mar. 10 on YouTube, and will be available for streaming on a variety of digital and online platforms, including, in-room televisions and the film?s own mobile-optimized site.

?Two Bellmen is part of our entertainment slate across digital, TV, and film,? said David Beebe, vice president of creative and content marketing at Marriott International, Bethesda, MD. ?The story is meant to entertain, make people laugh, and tell a great story where the hotel and brand is merely a character in the story.

?It?s not an ?integration? but a backdrop, a set that enabled the story to take place. That?s how we are creating the emotional connection with the consumer,? he said.

?We evoked a response from them, made them laugh, entertained them, and then we can ask for the sale.?

Storytelling and advertising
Marriott?s increasing mobile push has led it to establish a veritable storytelling platform across all digital channels. Its purpose of creating interactive and creative content to display its properties enables its advertising to yield a more emotional touch that resonates positively with consumers.

The film features a competitive relationship between two bellmen as they team up to thwart an art heist and form a new friendship in the process. Starring Hollywood stuntmen Caine Sinclair and William Spencer as the titular leads, the theme of the short focuses on the two bellmen, the hotel and the brands? signature services prevailing as heroes.

It also features a plethora of martial arts, dance, parkour and music action to keep consumers engaged, and was executive produced by Marriott?s Content Studio head, David Beebe.

Marriott hopes that the film will resonate with millennial travelers that spend much of their time on mobile devices, and believe it will aid in delivering content to foster a community and drive sales. It was also designed to showcase the Los Angeles hotel?s natural beauty and amenities.

The one-minute trailer, which can also be accessed on, features the characters engaging in a series of dramatic stunts as they work to stop the heist.

Marriott has created standalone social media handles for the film on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for fans wanting to keep up-to-date on the premiere.

?We are exclusively distributing the film on YouTube for the first window and built the site on Tumblr to tap into the millennial audience,? Mr. Beebe said. ?We?re going where they are, and programming on the devices they use.

?Besides the trailer, we are producing behind the scenes, making of, and other derivative content in all formats for all devices/screens for Two Bellmen. It?s not about trying to force a trailer into every platform,? he said.

?You have to produce for the platform and behavior of the consumer on each channel.?

Mobile pioneer

Marriott has been aiming to serve as a mobile pioneer for the travel and hospitality industry, as evidenced by its foray into the world of short films and its recent collaboration with Snapchat?s Stories feature.

The brand leveraged a campaign on the social media application that featured content from popular influencers that were given the option of traveling to any Marriott property worldwide and documenting their journeys on Snapchat (see story).

They were asked to take suggestions from fans and develop their trip itineraries accordingly, with photos and videos uploaded onto their personal Snapchat accounts as well as Marriott?s official channel.

Marriott?s dedication to rolling out consumer-friendly and creative material will likely yield even more fans, and perhaps prompt other hotel brands to counter back with their own short films.

?The age of marketing as interruption is over,? Mr. Beebe said. ?Millennials fast forward and skip 30 second spots, don?t click on intrusive banner ads, and don?t engage with advertising that doesn?t add value or isn?t delivered in context.

?We launched Marriott's Global Content studio with that in mind, essentially saying we understand that next generation travelers want content that adds value to their life first, and that?s the ?why? behind the studio,? he said.

?Our team partners with Marriott International?s 19 brands globally to develop and produce content that informs and/or entertains consumers, provides value first, knowing that if you do that over and over again by scaling content, you?ll build communities, that drive commerce, in our case, ultimately putting heads in beds at the end of the day. It doesn?t happen fast; it?s a long road, but it?s the way brands can connect with the millennial audience.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York