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Who’s Who: Beth Bell (USA)

For the Green Film Making Project, sustainable film making usually takes us behind the scenes where we explore the new ways in which film makers and production teams work to reduce production waste, while maximizing energy efficiency. Trailblazing CEO Beth Bell however, and her Green Product Placement, draws our attention to the front of the screen where the impact of sustainable film-making is more tangible for film going audiences. Long story short, Green Product Placement aims to make green and sustainable lifestyles “normal” through increased exposure of organic, local, and sustainable products within mainstream media product placement.

Beth Bell

Green Product Placement aims to use the marketing platform of feature films and television shows to promote purchasing ethics, while developing eco-savvy consumers through a reinforcement of more environmentally conscious normative behaviours. The services offered by Green Product Placement also aims to make this socially and environmentally conscious option easy for film-makers production designers, as well as set/prop people to access while promoting brands and green products which are geographically correct and true to the film’s temporal and spatial setting.

In this latest venture, Beth draws on her experience in business management as a Freelance Consultant, managing director for Green Box Films, as well as her experience in the international experiential marketing realm as a manager for Becker Group (with clients such as Westfield Group, Macerich, Emaar Properties, TLC, Radio Shack, Curtis Publishing and many others). In addition, Beth is no stranger to the workings of media productions, having 35 years of on-set experience combined, with business partner Lisa Dietrich. With associates in the US, Canada and the U.K., business is poised for a more international Green Product Placement beginning next year.

This is a truly lucrative venture at the moment as Beth cites the fact that marketing science and statistics currently show this truth: commercial advertisements are dead, and product placement is the fastest growing sector of advertisements. This kind of conscious product placement provides an additional emotional connection to the product for the viewer and promotes a stronger consumer connection. Production designers welcome the on-screen change of representation, as do many film stars.

At current the Green Product Placement roster includes, beauty items, cleaning products, liquor, and food, though the company has an ambitious wish list that includes cars, green business chains, electronics, as well as hand props and wardrobe. To-date, Green Product Placement has had placed products in shows on major networks in both the US and Canada, including HBO, CBS, FOX, The CW, TNT, Showcase and Netflix, as well as feature films for 20th Century Fox, LionsGate, and Warner Brothers.

Despite these notable accomplishments, the company is planning for its future global roll out: it wants bigger contracts with sustainable companies, while emphasizing that it doesn’t want to be THE option but AN option and socially concious alternative.

A number of small scale and natural green products or producers do not have the funds necessary however to market products within feature productions ( larger placements are extremely featured and brands like Apple deal directly with producers – often concerning large amounts of money and contractual obligations). In these situations, it is the set-dressing department which offers to these smaller brands and products an opportunity to be seen and recognized. If set decorators or wardrobe departments can get products for free, they will usually use them: everyone (especially producers, says Beth) loves free stuff.

The company functions under a ‘pay-to-place’ model where brands represented by Green Product Placement, pay a service fee when they are placed within a media production: the fee is based on the size of the attained project. On the upside for brands, this kind of product placement also functions to provide residual payments for years after the initial publication – brands can feel a sales bump when the featured media is viewed again and later down the line.

Green Product Placement extends their work beyond the screen as well, by donating a portion of their profits to worthy causes in line with their philosophy of running a green, socially and locally aware business. They also ensure within their offered services no double shipping, and no double warehousing of features products. In addition, they hope to soon be able to offer micro loans for related sustainable production not-for-profits, entrepreneurs, and other charities that promote green and/or socially entrepreneurial causes.

What advice does Beth Bell have for media up-and-comers, and future film-makers who want to be sustainable?

“Start early. Plan, plan, plan. Use networks that are there already, build off of tools that are there, and use the sustainability angle as the ADVANTAGE for your approach. When pitching this way, there are producers who would choose your sustainable project over another. But you need to show that you’ve thought it through its entirety. You need to plan this way from every angle.”

Beth’s expertise will even bring her to Europe this October where she will be hosted as an international guest speaker at the Sustainability & Communication Seminar in Antwerp.

Green Product Placement seems like a very effective way of working within the commercial market agenda while promoting a shift in thinking to sustainable alternatives and behaviours. Subtle yet innovative redesign , we like it!

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