Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Learning from the other side

Having spent the last 20 years making independent films and balancing about half that time with creating commercials for brands, it has been an enlightening experience to become a brand owner.  After traveling Italy to make the film BELLA VITA, my friendship with winemaker Piergiorgio Castellani inspired a passion project called, ZIOBAFFA organic wine.

Castellani is a 5th generation Tuscan vintner and one of the larger exporters of Italian wine in all of Tuscany.  He has a strong voice in the winemaking community and was eager to try a project that, built on friendship, aspires to reach a youthful audience.  Dare I say, a... beer drinking, outdoor seeking, fun-loving audience... with our commitment to a 100% organic product that is sustainably produced in recycled packaging including a revolutionary new twist-off "eco" cork and our roots in surf-travel,  ZIOBAFFA is literally a modern take on an old tradition and we are selling worldwide.

My end of the bargain is trying to make some enjoyable content that reaches out to the masses so that a small, independent label like ours with zero marketing budget, somehow cracks through the massive amount of content that we are all bombarded with daily.  The same content, I will shamelessly add, I'm paid very well to make as a commercial director.

Jason Baffa on location in Namibia

So... as the aforementioned blog title tee's up...  I am truly learning from the other side.  For the first time, I'm not just commercial director... I am Brand Owner or Client as we say in the biz, which is entirely ironic as I'm often complaining about AD budgets disappearing, influencers taking precedence over great creative AD campaigns and the constant ask to do more for less... and make it look great... so clients can post it to social media.   And guess what we do with our wine marketing? uh... yeah, #hypocrite.  Damn, what a dose of humble pie.

But I get it.  Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, this is free real-estate to build a brand.  People are hungry for free content and if the Brand can grow and connect with a bigger community but entertaining the masses with a new edit or photo... well, I guess everyone wins.

Piergiorgio Castellani opens a ZIOBAFFA Rosso
My biggest fear, where is the ceiling?  There is just SO MUCH shit out there.  I certainly don't have time to process it all.   Regardless, I put the same passion into everything I create but for what?  What used to be work that people admired is now... well, as a friend recently said... disposable.  Ouch.  The creative in me really hates that word as I have always tried to make things that I hope have some staying power.

The good news, people enjoy drinking wine (and other things).  So, I'm excited to use @ziobaffa as a self-indulgent excuse to continue to create things.  If one can help sustain the other, well then, I guess I'm becoming a sustainable-creative.  Maybe that will be the new catch phrase, sustainable-creativity. I will also add, it feels really good to make content for a brand that you own.  This isn't new info.  I think we've seen many celebs sway away from paid endorsements and actually start their own brands with financial investors.  It's a bit like getting points or royalties on a movie.  You believe in the work, put your name on it and see how it works out as a team.  Like, Clooney made what on Casamigas Tequila... 1 billion dollars?   Cue every investor looking for their own tequila label.

I'm no Clooney, but the nice thing about our ZIOBAFFA project is that it is truly based on things we believe in...  organic farming, sustainable business practice, an ethos to be responsible with what we make and what we put in our body and moreover, an over-riding want to make something that we can share with friends and family... and eventually new friends.  I guess, in the end, it's really not that different than what I've always done with a film camera.

for more, check out:

Baffa and Chris Del Moro premiering BELLA VITA at the Santa Barbara Film Fest

Doctor's now say a glass of organic red wine per day is a good thing.  photo:  ziobaffa

weekend essentials for filmmaker, Jason Baffa, aka ZIOBAFFA