A SUCCESS STORYBOARD - HOLLYWOOD AND THE MILITARY
The best way to get a sense of what we can do for you is to look at one of our most successful change campaigns - our efforts to reform the image of American servicemembers in Hollywood. Take a look at the storyboard below. And then imagine how these same techniques and strategies can help you effect the change you want to see in the world.
Hollywood Movies Portray Servicemembers in a Negative Light
Back in 2007, the entertainment trades were abuzz regarding a flood of movies coming out of Hollywood that were going on the attack against the U.S. military, portraying American service-members in a highly unfavorable light. Here are just a few examples:
REDACTED: GI sexually assaults a young girl.
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH: GI murders a brother in arms.
STOP LOSS: GI goes AWOL.
HOME OF THE BRAVE: GI goes psychotic.
Given the power of film and television programming to shape public opinion, these movies had a corrosive effect on support for the troops at home and troop morale overseas.
Hollywood and the Military Suffered from a Cultural Divided That Needed Mending
The first step in crafting a strategy to effect change is to evaluate why the problem exists in the first place.
In the case of the barrage of anti-military movies, Constant Motion's analysis yielded three main motivations.
Some writers and directors do not like the military and their work reflects this reality.
The Iraq War was unpopular and some creative people chose to vent their frustrations with the war by making anti-military movies.
Creative people in Hollywood did not have familiarity with military servicemembers and therefore could not offer accurate character portrayals.
Constant Motion saw an incredible opportunity to address these concerns but it would take the right story and a smart strategy.
CHANGE FACTOR 1: STORY
Constant Motion Focuses Rebrand on Courage, Service and Sacrifice
Hollywood's old story featured military characters sharing one or more of the following characteristics.
The sociopath hell-bent on killing and destruction.
The uneducated youth hoodwinked by crafty recruiters.
The indestructible superhero immune from bullets.
The emotionally unstable returning vet victimized by war.
Constant Motion's rebrand involved flooding the market with alternative character portrayals, namely:
The intelligent and ethical leader who willingly joins the military to serve his/her country.
The dedicated and loving spouse and parent who endures long deployments for the greater good.
The courageous warrior who proudly discharges his/her duties but does not relish the taking of life.
The returning vet who overcomes the physical and mental wounds of war.
With our new narrative in place, we then set about devising a strategy for distributing this narrative to the marketplace.
CHANGE FACTOR 2: STRATEGY
Constant Motion Crafts Two-Pronged, Inside-Out Strategy
Since the image problem for the military originated in Hollywood, that’s where we took our campaign, crafting an determmined inside-out approach.
From outside Hollywood, we started a high profile, celebrity-driven independent film festival, the GI Film Festival, to focus on stories that showed the courage, honor and selflessness of those who serve. This festival would include independent films as well as studio films that met the festival's thematic requirements.
From inside Hollywood, we began building bridges with writers, directors and industry folks, inviting them to attend our events and mix and mingle with our military family audience. And we also launched training programs to help more military veterans find success in the industry so they could help correct misperceptions.
All the while, we tempered our rhetoric, leaving the door open for partnerships with Hollywood influencers and people of all political persuasions.
We had developed a compelling narrative. We had formulated our strategy. Now we needed to find influential allies.
CHANGE FACTOR 3: SYNERGY
Rally the Faithful But Make Sure to Also Reach Across the Aisle
The fatal flaw in most change campaigns is usually tunnel vision when it comes to building a community to support a cause.
The temptation is to recruit the firebrands and true believers most sympathetic to your mission. Sure, it is important to find passionate supporters. But if you focus solely on the fundamentalists in your cause, soon you are only preaching to the choir. You may make money this way. But you won't make change.
Constant Motion was very deliberate in its community building strategy finding influencers within the Hollywood, military and congressional communities who had broad appeal.
We avoided any temptation to allow anyone to turn our cause into a political debate, even when money was placed on the table.
We remained fiercely non-partisan. We tolerated a wide variety of views. All we asked was fidelity to our mission: To foster respect and appreciation for military servicemembers through film, television and live special events.
The key to lasting change is to rally the largest group possible around your mission. This requires tolerance, patience and something we call "hiding the medicine in the applesauce."
A Total Image Transformation for the Military in Entertainment
The results of Constant Motion's rebrand campaign for the miltiary in Hollywood has been nothing short of miraculous.
Consider these statistics:
The GI Film Festival has generated more than 1 billion media impressions since its founding.
The GI Film Festival produced television shows for the American Heroes Channel and The Pentagon Channel.
The festival produced a "Cinematic Salute to the Troops" variety show, placed in 400 Regal, Cinemark, and AMC theaters nationwide.
The festival has hosted screenings and premieres for Walt Disney Studios, MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and NBC Universal.
The festival has atttracted major brands such as American Airlines, Target, Walgreens, and USAA to join its programs.
And consider these results:
Before Constant Motion's campaign, the majority of military films emerging from Hollywood denigrated the military. Today, the majority of films honor the military. (See American Sniper, Lone Survivor, Hacksaw Ridge, Unbroken, etc.)
Before Constant Motion's campaign there was no philanthropic initiative in Hollywood support the military. Today, there are atleast four, including Veterans in Film and Television, founded by a festival filmmaker, now 2,000 members and growing.
Before Constant Motion's campaign, military veterans did not have a single vehicle to promote and distribute their stories. To date, through the festival, Constant Motion has distributed 500 films honoring the military into the marketplace.