Branded brings the sense of fear and paranoia much closer to home—as close as your personal mobile phone. As close as your daily life. We all have them; we happily snap them from posters, mailings, websites, even store shelves. They are the increasingly ubiquitous QR codes—those black and white scanner codes that bring us special offers and information; that let us into the movie theatre or onto your plane when we’ve bought e-tickets.
Branded's hero is drawn further and further “down the rabbit hole,” explained Bradshaw, he sinks into a world that is ultimately “not of this earth.” Although I've not yet screened the movie (visit the official site for clips and trailers) it seems a natural extension for marketing pro Bradshaw, who explained that filmmaking and marketing are more connected than you might think. He also drew much of his inspiration from many years spent living in Russia and immersing himself in Russian culture.
The Branded trailer includes 97 unique QR codes with additional codes embedded in the film’s website , social pages, posters and other materials. QR codes enable consumers with a smart phone and a reader app to scan a code in the Branded trailer or other marketing materials which will reward them by offering a deeper glimpse into the film's alternative universe of out-of-control brands, consumer gluttony and insatiable materialism through exclusive image and video content. Overall the Branded marketing campaign will include 100 QR codes in all.
The film, starring Ed Stoppard, Leelee Sobieski, Jeffrey Tambor, Ingeborga Dapkunaite and Max von Sydow. is a dark and mind-bending journey into a surreal, dystopian society where corporate brands have unleashed a monstrous global conspiracy to get inside our minds and keep the population disillusioned, dependent and passive. One man's Misha (Stoppard) passion to unlock the truth behind the conspiracy will lead to an epic battle with the hidden forces that really control our world.
In the Branded clip above, marketing whiz Mikhail (played by Ed Stoppard ) approaches the leaders of a dim sum restaurant and asks them how far they’re willing to go to get the Russian market that’s just out of their grip. It’s just the beginning of Mikhail’s scorched-earth campaign against the marketing machine, co-writer/co-director Jamie Bradshaw told Wired.
Sounds a little bonkers — like a psychosis-induced Mad Men — but Bradshaw actually knows what he’s talking about. He met his co-director/co-writer (and now BFF) Aleksandr Dulerayn (also spelled as Alexander Doulerain) on their first day of work in 1998 at the CTC TV network in Moscow, where they were essentially doing on-air promotions and branding for one of the first independent entertainment stations to emerge in Russia after the end of the Soviet Union .
Making Branded was the realization of a dream for the old friends. The movie, which stars Arrested Development’s Jeffrey Tambor and Leelee Sobieski , ends up as a head-warping piece of sci-fi in which one man claims to see all the demons of advertising and marketing as they work their dark magic on unsuspecting consumers.
It seems in the film the big, wonderful corporations have come together to work up a conspiracy so that they can work together to control our minds. But for our benefit. Starbucks. And one man has seen behind the conspiracy and wishes to bring it down. But we shouldn’t let him. Get a cup of joe from Stabucks. And the further he gets into this conspiracy the further he sees into it’s dark heart.
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Characters are playing roles as:
Ingeborga Dapkunaite is playing as Dubcek
Mariya Ignatova is playing as Host
Andrey Kaykov is playing as Pavel (as Andrei Kaikov)
John Laskowski is playing as Fast Food Executive
Leelee Sobieski is playing as Abby Gibbons
Atanas Srebrev is playing as Jon
Emma Stickgold is playing as TV Correspondent
Ed Stoppard is playing as Misha Galkin
Jeffrey Tambor is playing as Bob Gibbons
Max von Sydow
Lyubo Yonchev is playing as PA on set (as Lyubomir Yonchev)