Brands as Equity Partners in IP?

Will success of J&J’s 5B inspire more brands to invest?

Verizon Media announced on April 30 of this year that it would acquire the Johnson & Johnson funded film “5B”, and besides a theatrical release, would leverage its media prowess to promote viewership. “In addition to the theatrical release, Verizon Media will also amplify 5B across its ecosystem of nearly one billion global consumers and will create additional immersive content experiences using technology to enhance the story, compassion and humanity showcased by the nurses and caregivers at the forefront of the film,” according to the press release.

Wow! Is this a home run for J&J or what? Nobody is saying what the production budget was and the size of investment, but you have to think that J&J is seeing a pretty keen ROI here. Besides the money they will receive for sale of the film, the sheer number of impressions and brand association has to make the execs who green-lighted this project feel pretty great. And oh yea, the film was accepted into the Cannes Film Festival and won a Cannes Entertainment Grand Prix.

The success of 5B and the attention it has garnered over the past several months (Brand Storytelling was proud to screen the film on January 26 in Park City) has had to grab the attention of major brands that are considering investment in feature films or series and taking an equity position. If brands are moving money into content, why not make investments that can earn at least a portion of their money back in the sale of that asset while still earning the brand attachment to the story? Certainly, J&J will enjoy the brand association to 5B, an important story that sheds light on the essential role of nurses and the agony suffered by the gay community from the AIDS epidemic.