Sony Pictures Screen Gems exec, Glenn Gainor, on successful brand integration in film

After 25 years in the entertainment business, Glenn Gainor, head of physical production at Sony Pictures Screen Gems, knows plenty about great films and stories. He also knows what it takes to create successful integration for brands — and points to the seminal ET/Reese's Pieces hookup as the gold standard of integration.

A big thing to think about is how brands work within the framework of a story to keep the audience in the film and not take them out of it. For instance, if the audience sees a product that they are not familiar with, it can be a jarring experience that takes away from the story — whereas using products that people are familiar with is a form of visual “comfort food” that keeps people in the moment and in the story.

Gainor notes how, when moments are lost, it’s difficult to bring an audience back in. Additionally, lack of brand integration can be equally as distracting because it doesn’t necessarily mirror shopping or consumption behaviors and realities today.

One of the great opportunities that Gainor sees for brands in integration is related to breadth that brands can have. For example, a deal with GM can lead to integration of a specific mark and model — which affords more flexibility and makes the film not feel as though it was inspired by producers and, ultimately, more authentic, which is what makes great stories in the first place.

What's the Story? is sponsored by Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), the first global network for branded product integration in the entertainment industry, across all media, including the influencer space.

Filmed at Sony Pictures in Culver City, California

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Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

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