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filmone

November 28, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

This summer, I had the brilliant idea of having Pearl Kreations sell the iMovie button-badges idea to cinema houses in Nigeria. It seemed like a no-brainer. The proposal was simple – an opportunity for a strategic partnership. Pearl Kreations would supply its attractive button-badges for each year’s blockbuster movies. For example, this year had five movies from Marvel Studios, including Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange and X-Men: Apocalypse, and Batman v Superman from DC Entertainment.The badges would be sold at their concession stand/gift shops, or as small gifts/souvenirs for early ticket purchases or for the opening week of new releases or cinemas. I thought it made a lot of sense, especially listing the possibilities and incentives. Plus, as usual, I strongly believed the buttons would be a good investment that would significantly boost/increase patronage.

I started my iMovie campaign with who I assumed was the market leader [at the time]. I drafted a letter, put some samples together, and headed to Silverbird Cinemas at Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island. I planned to drop off the letter along with the samples and book a meeting with the Marketing Manager. Thankfully, I didn’t need make a second trip as the Marketing Manager was free to me. She took me into her office and I made my pitch. I showed her the samples as well and she loved the idea. She said she’d discuss it with her team the following Monday and get back to me. I thought that went well. The following week, I got an email with a counteroffer. Rather than purchase buttons, they could rent Pearl Kreations a space/kiosk (not for free) in the galleria for buttons sales, and also inform Pearl Kreations on upcoming exhibitions, so it could rent space early enough. It was a little disappointing, but rejection is always a possibility. I passed on the offer and moved on.

Next, I approached Genesis Cinemas. I took the same approach. I drafted a letter, put some samples together, and headed to Genesis Cinemas at The Palms in Oniru. I asked to see the Marketing Manager. I was told she wasn’t in, she came in on specific days. The Box Office Manager met with me though, so I told him the plan. He liked it. He said I could leave the proposal with him and he’d see that she gets it. I did that, but never heard from them. Sometime later, I planned to see a movie with a friend at Genesis Cinemas. I got there early, so decided to check in to see if the Marketing Manager was in, and she was! Unfortunately, she was in another meeting. However, she stepped out of it to meet with me quickly. I briefly introduced myself and share the idea, and she remembered seeing the proposal. She apologised for not responding. She said she couldn’t make those sort of decisions, but had sent it to senior management and she’d give me feedback in due time. I thanked her, but knew that was code for “not happening”. No response or feedback till date.

I was really bummed out ‘cos I was so sure one of them would have decided to partner. I couldn’t think of anywhere else. Then I remembered there was a cinema I saw a movie at in Ibadan. I didn’t know if I could all the way there for a meeting, but decided to search for the name and address in Google. It was Filmhouse Cinemas, and they are a big deal. Remember, at this point, I was fairly new in Nigeria, so I only knew about Silverbird Cinemas and Genesis Cinemas. I had been to Filmhouse twice, but only in Ibadan. I assumed it was an only-in-Ibadan brand. Online, I saw they have a branch in Surulere, so I figured I’d go there, rather than Victoria Island. Surulere is closer to home, and I was getting tired of the island traffic.As usual, I drafted a letter, put some samples together, and headed to Filmhouse Cinemas at Leisure Mall in Surulere. When I asked to see the cinema manager, the attendants got super concerned, asking if everything was okay. It was pretty funny cos I said everything was good, but they didn’t believe I just wanted to have a discussion with the manager. Eventually, they produced the manager. I made my pitch. She liked it, but said all initiatives are run through the Marketing Manager and she worked at the Head Office in Victoria Island. *Huge Sigh*. I thanked her and gave her a free button cos she was super friendly. Then, she asked if I’d like the Marketing Manager’s name, so I could I dress the proposal directly to her. I said sure! I asked for her surname as well, just in case. Good thing I gave her the free button lol.

Off I went to Victoria Island the next day to meet Uju (I think was her name). Good thing I asked for her full name cos their reception area was pretty professional. If I went there like a novice asking to see the Marketing Manager, I may have gotten a different reception. After exchanging pleasantries with the receptionist, I asked to see Uju X. I was asked to sit, but then informed that she’d just left for a meeting. Bummer. I asked the receptionist for her name and asked if she’d make sure Uju gets the package (proposal letter and badges) when she returns. She promised to and I left. The very next day, I get a call from a gentleman asking to speak with Sylvester. I was just about getting into my car and had my hands full, plus I didn’t know what it was about, so I was a bit anxious and impatient. As soon as heard “Filmhouse”, my tone changed lol. The gentleman, Damola L*, had seen the proposal and badges, and absolutely loved the idea. He sounded very well-educated; I was like “Finally, someone who gets it”. In fact, he wanted the relationship started right way. He asked that we meet to discuss pricing and next steps the following week.

During the meeting, he seemed more excited about the badges than I was, and that was a pretty good feeling. I could tell this was the start of a beautiful friendship, and that Pearl Kreations and Filmhouse Cinemas were going to work very well together. We discussed logistics, negotiated pricing, and everything in between; all in all, a good meeting. The following week, Damola informed me that they would like to proceed with the first order. It was for Trolls, an animated movie. The order was for 1000 buttons. He requested for 10 proofs, so 100 of each could be done. There was a bit of a back-and-forth on the designs, but we finally settled on:The order was placed, but there too close to the release date; there was a bit of a scheduling misunderstanding, so regrettably, the buttons weren’t ready by the 4th, but the 14th. We weren’t happy about that, and neither were they. As soon as the buttons were out, we went on social media announcing the completion our largest single order so far this year (1,000 Trolls badges) for our newest partner, FilmOne Distribution. To clarify, the partnership is with FilmOne Distribution, the distribution and production arm. We also encouraged people interested in getting one to go see the movie at a Filmhouse Cinema closest to them. Then, I personally delivered the badges with apologies.

I was thanked for coming in person, and everything was smoothened out. I even got to meet the COO, Moses B*. He was pretty cool. He liked the buttons and suggested they ordered another batch for the Logan movie next year! Our second order, hopefully, and just a month in.

I’m glad we reached out to them. It pays to be persistent as an entrepreneur. Oh, did I mention they pay on time? Lol

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