You know it’s going to be a good year for clip licensing when McDonalds launches this cracking spot 3 days into 2015. The restaurant giant and their creative agency Leo Burnett used arch enemies from movies and TV shows to reignite their famous tagline “I’m lovin’ it”.

It’s set to be a very interesting year for advertising as we see the industry continue to evolve in order to meet new challenges and trends. The digital and mobile sectors are growing at a phenomenal pace and consumers now have more power than ever before.

One thing that will never change is the desire to be entertained, and content will always be a leading source of entertainment. Content is being being consumed differently, with more options in streaming and the Pay TV players lifting their game with new competitive offers. The Box Office is expected to have a big year in 2015 with hype already building for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, Part 2 of The Hunger Games Mockingjay, Furious 7, Mission Impossible V, Mad Max, The Avengers and the next James Bond instalment. 2015 will also have a big year in television content with new seasons expected for Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, Girls, House of Cards, Modern Family, Mad Men, Veep, Idol, Downton Abbey, Glee, Orange is the New Black plus a heap of exciting new shows to launch. A strong year in movies and TV will have a ripple effect through streaming services, DVD and television syndication across free to air and PayTV.

Clip licensing is a great way to bring together advertising and entertainment to engage the consumer. By leveraging the entertainment properties that they love, advertisers can appeal to existing emotions and awareness.

Here are 8 hot tips to consider for clip licensing in 2015, in no particular order.

1. Tie in with Events

Major events continue to attract advertising tie-ins whether its holidays (i.e Christmas, Halloween), sporting events (i.e. Superbowl, Australian Open), award ceremonies (i.e. Academy Awards) or even seasons (i.e. summer, winter). Most movie and TV properties are versatile and can leveraged by advertisers that develop campaigns around these events.

Leading up to Christmas 2014 we posted 6 Christmas Themed Clip Licensing Commercials. One of the most successful clip licensing Christmas themed commercials is this one with Macy’s and Miracle on 34th Street.

Another major event that advertisers commonly celebrate with clip licensing is Halloween. So much in fact that we put together 4 posts around Halloween 2014:
8 Scary Commercials featuring Iconic Horror Movies
9 Friday the 13th Themed Advertisements
5 Hollywood Horror Themed Print Campaigns
4 Creepy ‘The Shining’ Themed Commercials

This one for IKEA developed by BBH Singapore attracted global attention by recreating an iconic scene from The Shining.

The major global sporting event for 2014 was by far the World Cup football. W+K Portland developed this spot for Nike which was named the most watched ad on YouTube for all of last year. Marvel character The Hulk was a guest star!

VISA also launched their first ever global campaign around the World Cup leveraging beloved characters from The Simpsons, Madagascar, Star Wars and Shrek.

The Simpsons_Visa World Cup2

Madagascar_Visa World Cup

Shrek_Visa World Cup

2. Celebrate Milestones

The most iconic movies and TV shows tend to celebrate milestones in one way or another, whether through branded merchandise, special edition DVD packs or television events. Movies can often relaunch back into selected cinemas for a limited time, sometimes with new features such as 3D elements like The Wizard of Oz did in 2014 for the 75th anniversary. Developing a campaign around a movie or TV shows that is celebrating a milestone year is a great way leverage the hype already in the market.

An example of a milestone celebration from 2014 was with Comedy Central UK and the 20th anniversary of TV series Friends. In addition to adding more episodes to their schedule, the channel invited viewers to take part in the UK’s top 20 episode countdown. A shortlist of 50 favourites was created and the public narrowed it down to the top 20.

Movie Milestones in 2015

– Brokeback Mountain (10 years)
– The Chronicles of Narnia (10 years)
– Sin City (10 years)
– Clueless (20 years)
– Braveheart (20 years)
– Toy Story (20 years)
– Back to the Future (30 years)
– The Goonies (30 years)
– The Breakfast Club (30 years)
– Jaws (40 years)
– One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (40 years)
– Rocky Horror Picture Show (40 years)
– Monty Python and the Holy Grail (40 years)
– The Sound of Music (50 years)

TV Milestones in 2015

– Greys Anatomy (10 years)
– Doctor Who (10 years)
– Xena (20 years)
– The Drew Carey Show (20 years)
– Hercules
– The Golden Girls (30 years)
– Neighbours (30 years)
– MacGyver (30 years)
– Fawlty Towers (40 years)
– Starsky and Hutch (40 years)
– Get Smart (50 years)
– Days of Our Lives (50 years)
– Hogan’s Heroes (50 years)
– I Dream of Jeannie (50 years)

3. Leverage Secondary Characters

In 2014 a major campaign for UK insurance company Direct Line launched with an enormous reported media spend of £40m (US $61m). The star of the campaign was Harry Keitel, who reprised his role of Winston Wolf from cult movie Pulp Fiction. As fans remember, the main stars of Pulp Fiction were John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman. However ‘The Wolf’ was a memorable secondary character and still is 20 years after the movie launched.

Another example from 2014 is the promotional video Netflix created to celebrate the launch of TV series Friends on their service. In the video we see The Rembrants singing the shows theme song in Central Perk and features secondary character and coffee shop owner Gunther.

We’ve also seen Seinfeld’s The Soup Nazi appear in a Honda commercial alongside Jerry Seinfeld. A character that only appeared in 2 of the 180 Seinfeld episodes, but is remembered as one of the most iconic.

Secondary and minor characters can be just as iconic as the main characters of a TV series or film. Plus sometimes the talent might be more available than the leading cast, or more willing to be a part of an advertising campaign.

4. Get Creative with Existing Footage

There are so many ways to use existing clips beyond just inserting it at the end or beginning of a commercial. Here are some examples of how some advertisers and their agencies have used their creative minds to develop something really clever.

This commercial for Comcast uses original footage from gameshow Pyramid with new audio voiceover to change the questions and answers.

Here Volkswagen uses a range of clips from horror movies to demonstrate how unlucky some characters have been with their cars . . . if only they had decided to drive a Volkswagen.

Another one for Volkswagen, this time leveraging iconic movie Singing in the Rain. Leading man Gene Kelly’s face was cleverly superimposed onto a dancer who shows off his modern day dance moves.

5. Consider Custom Animation

Advertisers have in the past worked with studios to develop bespoke animation for their campaigns. In fact we posted about this late 2014 in 7 Commercials with New TV and Movie Brand Animation.

Collaborations with the major entertainment studios to develop custom animation is a great way to deliver something truly unique and creates a lot of hype amongst fans.

Here are some great examples from Nabisco, Coca Cola, VISA and Unilever.

6. Collaborate with Major Theatrical Releases

We’ve already mentioned the blockbuster theatrical slate ahead of us in 2015. With major movie releases comes whopping media spends, PR and hype. The trailer for Star Wars VII has already received over 50 million views on YouTube alone at time of writing this, after just a month since launch. Considering it isn’t slated to hit cinemas until December 18 2015 it has already attracted a phenomenal amount of buzz.

We wrote about this late 2014 and shared 8 Commercials Themed with Blockbuster Movie Releases.

The big advertisers come out to play here with major food, beverage, restaurant, automobile, finance and alcohol companies commonly jumping onboard movie releases.

Here is one of the most successful examples launched in 2014 with The Amazing Spiderman 2 by BETC Paris with Evian.

Advertisers have the opportunity to get amongst the action by developing clip licensing commercials and launching during the movie release. Here are another few notable examples.

7. Think about Incorporating your Brands Characters

A question that can be raised is ‘why use popular movie and TV characters when we are trying to raise the profile of our own?’. We have seen some advertisers address this issue in a very clever way.

Chips Ahoys brand ambassador Cookie Guy was incorporated into 2 famous movies scenes in 2008.

Video rental Blockbuster created characters out of a rabbit and a guinea pig in a string of spots, one of which incorporated an iconic scene from Flashdance.

Insurance company Geico used their own brand character the Gecko to meet Rocky and Bullwinkle in this spot. Confectionery giant m&ms used existing footage from Wizard of Oz and integrated their own characters.

8. Don't forget Outdoor, Online and Print

Video commercials are the most popular way to leverage clip licensing, but lets not forget the other areas that are available either as an extension of a video campaign or as a standalone.

Print ads:

Friday the 13th_Regal Ketchup_Print

Chucky_Burger King_Print

Friday the 13th_Renault_Print

Modern Family_Got Milk_Print_Fox


Star Wars_Vodafone_print9_LucasFilm

Dallas_Qantas_Outdoor_Warner Bros.


Wheres Wally_Paypal_Print_Dreamworks


Pulp Fiction_Directline_Online

Tom&Jerry_NAB_Online_Warner Bros.

So there you go, our 8 tips for clip licensing in 2015. We look forward to seeing some smashing campaigns this year!