By Evan DeSimone
Renaissance Hotels, part of the Marriott family of resort properties, is teaming up with its parent company’s original content studio and Substance Over Hype to produce a new comedy short film, “Business Unusual.”
The 12-minute film was shot on location at Chicago’s recently renovated Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel and will serve to promote the Renaissance brand. The cast includes Yoshua Sudarso (“Power Rangers Dino Charge”), Jason Gerhardt (“General Hospital,” ABC’s “Mistresses”), Grant Bowler (“Defiance,” “True Blood,” and “Ugly Betty”), Tia Carrere (“Wayne’s World”) and Brian Poli-Dixon (artist, actor and former NFL receiver). The film will also incorporate recognizable locations around Chicago and a number of cameos by native Chicago notables like former White Sox player Ozzie Guillen and local band The O’My’s.
“Business Unusual,” will see debut in early 2016 on multiple platforms including YouTube, and also get a limited theatrical release. It follows a handful of notable originals from Marriott’s in-house content studio. Back in March, Marriott debuted its first feature film, “Two Bellmen.” The hotel chain has also orchestrated influencer campaigns aimed at millennial travelers featuring content creators such as Grace Helbig and Latino influencers from the digital and traditional entertainment space. More recently, the hotelier delved into animation with web series “Hot Shoppe” and inked content deals with popular online creators like
Taryn Southern and What’s Trending frontwoman Shira Lazar.
With the launch of its original content studio in 2014, Marriott became one of the first players in the hospitality industry to fully embrace original digital entertainment as a marketing strategy. In a statement David Beebe, VP of global creative and content marketing for Marriott International, summed up the philosophy surrounding Marriott’s original content push, saying, “Brands must stop interrupting what consumers are interested in and become what they are interested in, and short films driven by storytelling vs. advertising are just one of the many ways we are engaging with next generation travelers,”