UK marketing outfit FIVE33 has been making waves on both sides of the Atlantic. CEO Emily Castel talks about the company’s global ambitions.
UK transmedia agency Five33 is a great example of a UK company making it big on the other side of the pond.
The company provides international and domestic marketing campaign strategy and solutions for a number of major global brands.
Warner, Sony, Universal, Fox and Disney are among its growing portfolio of film clients, but it is with Disney that the company has forged strongest ties, making a US splash with its recent Pirates Of The Carribbean: On Stranger Tides experiential store take-overs in LA and New York.
Initially set up as a UK outfit in 2007, 12 of Five33’s 25 staff are now based in Venice Beach, LA, and the company is seeing an increasing demand for US campaigns. This was only possible, however, after a number of successful international projects, including most notably its travelling Alice In Wonderland experience ‘Wonderland,’ a 5000 sq ft exhibition that had industry, fans and shoppers queuing around the block in London, San Diego (Comic Con), Amsterdam (Cinema Expo), Toronto, Berlin, Deauville, Tokyo and Madrid.
Five33 CEO Emily Castel recognises that the company’s experience with Disney International was essential to ensuring its current foothold with Disney US. And they were given some decent access along the way:
“Alice got us noticed on the domestic front. We worked on it from the beginning, from the script when there was nothing, just a couple of concept art pieces. We were incredibly lucky to have the insights from Tim Burton in terms of where he wanted to go. We then worked hand in hand with the strategy team to work out how we would differentiate the title.”
“We’re very honoured to be brought in at an early stage with the studios,” continued Castel. “Pirates was the result of a long association, working with Disney’s strategy and creative teams to find the solution to capturing that elusive audience of 13-25 year-olds.”
On that campaign the company worked hand in hand with the studio and a BAFTA award winning production designer to come up with the designs, which included a replica Queen Anne’s Revenge that jutted out of the second-floor of an LA shopping mall.
Of the special relationship with Disney Castel comments: “We’re very much thought partners with Disney. We’re one of the key players they turn to. I was working on the Disney account when I was at Aegis Media and the relationship has been developing. Moving forward we are working on their slate for 2012 and 2013.”
The company has created UK and US pop-up stores, fashion week tie-ins, a number of print campaigns and is moving into video games.
Upcoming projects include a transmedia campaign for Shawn Levy’s robot punch em’ up Real Steel and a commission for 2012 animation Wreck-It Ralph.
Castel sees a bright future for her brainchild but remembers what got the company to where it is: “We’re still working internationally, that’s our homeland, but we’re now being able to apply our thinking to a global rollout. That’s where those international sensibilities come in.”