" />
Why TIFF Works for Global Brands & Activation Highlights

Why TIFF Works for Global Brands & Activation Highlights

4 Minute Read

  • TIFF fans represent a global audience, reflecting what resonates with audiences across the globe

  • The film festival provides movie lovers with accessibility unparalleled by other global film festivals

  • Many returning sponsors activated on Festival Street but the ones who diversify their experience YoY resonate the most

Since 1976, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has attracted global crowds and is known universally as the ideal platform for filmmakers to launch their careers and to premiere their new work. As the world’s largest public film festival with dozens of premieres, hundreds of thousands of fans, and immense A-List star power, TIFF presents a great opportunity for sponsors to reach diverse audiences of movie lovers.

TIFF has even been recognized as being a “crystal ball” for predicting Oscar wins, some attributing this to Toronto’s diverse population. As TIFF’s top award is selected by the public, Nouman Ashraf, assistant professor at UofT’s Rotman School of Management, described to CBC that that when Torontonians “actually pick what resonates with them, what they're doing is they're giving a proxy vote for what will in fact resonate with a global audience literally across the globe”. The same can be said for global brands looking to see how their products and marketing efforts resonate with global audiences – by testing the waters with TIFF-goers.

MKTG Canada’s Decoding Research Study provides insights into Canadian Movie Buffs and just how much they look forward to TIFF each year – while passersby will check out the festival, or people might check out Festival Street on their lunch breaks, Movie Buffs are 76% more likely than the average Canadian to attend TIFF if given the opportunity and 86% more likely than the average to actually attend each year. Geographical boundaries may play a factor in those who can actually attend but the access that TIFF provides to movie lovers is undeniable – from publicly available tickets for star-studded premieres to free screenings and branded experiences, there truly is something for everyone.

This year, the #HumansOfMKTG took to King Street, also known as “Festival Street” to report back on a few of our favourite brand and sponsor activations from the Festival. While it’s a given that most brands activate around the film theme, it was a new mandate this year that all activations must have a clear & succinct tie to film, enabling TIFF to curate activations that will resonate with experience-seekers and film-lover audiences.

For everything #TIFF2019, keep reading.

Lyft solves fan painpoints with a cute photo opportunity

Lyft returned for its second year as a festival sponsor with a fun and interactive experience that spanned across multiple touchpoints. From giveaways on social to mini games, prizes, ride vouchers and free popcorn, Lyft’s footprint engaged festival go-ers in a cute, Instagram-friendly space - their retro minivan had a surprise mirrored room, and oversized speaker wrapped in Lyft’s signature pink hue was the backdrop for many photos on the #TIFF19 hashtag. Sometimes the simple giveaways work – everyone loves free popcorn. In fact, according to Decoding, Canadians who identified as interested in movies and film festivals, sampling a sponsor’s food product was the #1 way they choose to engage with sponsors, so it’s no surprise that brands offering food sampling as part of their activation saw some of the highest success with this audience.

Lyft also solved a few customer painpoints by offering complimentary charging stations and a designated pick-up zone outside of Roy Thompson Hall – given the commotion caused by the road closures of festival street, this was a sure way to drive consideration for Lyft amongst the clutter of ride sharing and taxi apps.

Barilla’s Masters of Pasta activation celebrates Italian cinema

Barilla’s activation celebrated Italian cinema through its creative and included free cooking lessons and pasta samples with Chef John Lee. There was a long line throughout the weekend for fans to sample a pasta dish and received free boxes of pasta, extending the experience into consumers’ homes and into their kitchens. While critics might not see the tie between pasta and movies, movie lovers enjoy sampling free dishes and food is a part of every movie, with the tie between Italian cinema and cuisine as both holding immense cultural importance.

Loreal’s sponsorship stands out amongst ambush marketing efforts

For a consecutive year, Loreal’s footprint spread between two touchpoints – from Festival Street, into David Pecaut Square. One of the most powerful pieces of this execution is the super polished, exclusive red-carpet facing structure of the latter. With its executive view of the red carpet and A-listers on their arrivals, the placement exudes prestige meaning it was guaranteed to be seen in paparazzi shots – certainly amplifying Loreal brand exposure and impressions.

We covered Loreal’s TIFF experience last year and are pleased that there were some upgrades to the experience for this year’s iteration. Loreal leveraged its 2018 investment in “ModiFace” software by introducing “Movie Makeovers” where consumers could select from a celebrity make-up look from a movie, which would be digitally transposed on their faces, and then emailed to users acting as a data capture touchpoint. The experience celebrated Women in Film and was tied to Loreal’s #WorthSaying social campaign . The Augmented Reality trend on social is definitely prevalent in 2019, especially at the intersection of beauty and technology, but it’s the brands like Loreal with effective storytelling whose AR efforts have the most impact. It’s likely that this activation was designed to be shared online more so than it was tied to any specific product, although products were integrated in the Loreal red carpet studio and pushed online via social influencers.

Loreal leveraged an online influencer campaign which included sponsored content around the narrative of  getting ready  for the premieres, a narrative leaned on by “ambush” marketing efforts on social, such as from  Pandora  and  See Eyewear .   https://www.instagram.com/p/B2R5xlsHIAP/

Loreal leveraged an online influencer campaign which included sponsored content around the narrative of getting ready for the premieres, a narrative leaned on by “ambush” marketing efforts on social, such as from Pandora and See Eyewear.


TIFF is an exciting time for Toronto – the most important takeaway from our experience of Festival Street is for returning sponsors - it is crucial that these brands diversify their experiences year over year to create new experiences for the movie-lovers who return to Festival Street each year.

This Blog was powered by MKTG’s Decoding Canada research study.
here to download the report or reach out at decodingcanada@mktg.com.

Click the links below to Follow us on social media to keep up with us as we explore more related topics.

Picks of the Week: September 23, 2019

Picks of the Week: September 23, 2019

Picks of the Week: September 17, 2019

Picks of the Week: September 17, 2019