Sundance Must Market to a New Viewers as Attendees Age


5 days into the Sundance Movie Pageant, the Sundance Institute added 25,000 new Instagram followers, bringing its whole to 510,000 as of in the present day.

The 2024 competition wrapped up on the finish of January, and its advertising leaders informed ADWEEK that proper now, the stakes really feel excessive. The competition faces an existential menace as its loyal base ages, and so it’s embraced a advertising transformation to encourage model loyalty from millennials and Gen Z.

Its 2023 competition was the primary time the Sundance Institute realized it had vital traction with folks between 18 and 34. Since Robert Redford based the Sundance Institute in 1981, the nonprofit has subsided with small advertising budgets. It’s totally different now that it finds itself advertising to new audiences. The hurdle has Sundance Institute’s advertising chief and its company associate launching new social methods and tossing out the years-old processes that slowed issues down.

“That subsequent aspiring class of filmmakers that Sundance desires to amplify? These people stay in digital and social channels,” stated Tom Dunlap, chief content material officer at Superbloom, the company associate Sundance Institute labored with this yr.

That’s why this yr the competition’s advertising technique was all about social media. The web technique additionally made sense given the movie trade’s growth into platforms, influencer offers, branded leisure and extra. It wouldn’t make sense to eschew a social technique when the Institute’s followers are largely content material creators, of varied sorts. 

In 2018, on the time Kate Benay accepted a task because the Sundance Institute’s head of selling, the leisure trade was already acknowledging its convergence with the broader advertising and expertise panorama. Extra folks determine as content material creators or movie lovers, no matter in the event that they use seize footage with cameras or work with iPhone footage. The streaming giants had been additionally rising, and theatrical attendance was down.

The mission isn’t the competition’s legacy format. It’s about giving a platform to unbiased movie

By the pandemic’s onset, Benay was two years into her job as advertising lead, and targeted on altering the Institute’s advertising technique.

So, when the competition went digital for the primary time in its historical past, Benay regarded it a catalyst for long-term development. 

“It pressured us to remodel our whole enterprise on-line and persuade folks to, quote unquote, come to the Sundance Movie Pageant, although that might imply sitting in your sofa,” Benay stated. 


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