Giving young filmmakers the opportunity to break into the market

by Sonja van den Bosch

Giving young filmmakers the opportunity to break into the market

I love interviewing people who do things out of the ordinary and think outside of the box. Laurence from Brand Honee definitely fits this picture. Laurence, originally from Texas, came to Australia to acquire an MBA from Macquarie University. He loved Australia and the way of life so much (I can relate to that), he decided to stay.

Despite the fact that Laurence had zero ambition to go into the corporate world (his parents have always been self determined entrepreneurs), he landed a job with a big pharmaceutical company.

As their digital marketing manager he made his mark with a short film competition as a vehicle to raise disease awareness. Because pharmaceuticals can’t be directly marketed to the public, Laurence had to find a creative way to market to potential patients. And so, the ‘Live & Love Short Film Competition’ was created to raise awareness of the Herpes Simplex virus. It was launched nationally in 2010 with a $10k cash incentive for filmmakers to create a 30 second clip with the aim to de-stigmatise the virus and make the taboo topic more open for discussion in a light-hearted way. The campaign generated 120 entrees, an outstanding result for any film competition.

‘I realised that if we could mobilise people to create content about an unsexy and awkward subject such as herpes, we could facilitate content creation on most anything. This was the big ‘aha’ moment and how Brand Honee was born.’ says Laurence.

Brand Honee gives access to young and upcoming creative film talent via their platform. A brief with the brand/client’s objectives is posted and the Brand Honee community is invited to partake in the competition. The best videos win cash. In addition to social media exposure, brands can get highly engaging and original video content in a far more cost effective manner than that of the traditional model. There is a growing need for fresh, original and inspired content and more and more companies are using crowdsourced content creation as part of their marketing strategy.

Laurence’s real passion, however, is to give aspiring creatives the opportunity to get exposure for their work in a tough and largely closed industry. His aim is to help them find their audience and give them the opportunity to make a living from what they love doing – creating.

Although video crowdsourcing isn’t new, there are several platforms overseas, Brand Honee is the first one to leverage this concept in Australia. While Brand Honee has had some notable wins (partnered with Red Bull in its latest competition) and is growing fast, the journey has not been without its losses. ‘We have had many hard lessons along the way, most all of them out of the ‘start-up’ book of clichés, but those lessons, those failures as some might say, are seeds of future successes.’

When asked what it takes to be an inspirational person, Laurence tells me that it is fundamental to be passionate about what you do, to try new things and to give yourself permission to make mistakes.

‘Back home, failure is a badge of honour. That doesn’t seem to be the mentality here. I come from a culture where you are taught to dream that anything is possible, but it won’t come easy. You are going to fail, you are going to fall over, but it’s from these experiences that you will succeed – because of your failures, not in spite of them. Success is measured not by how many times we fall down, but how many times we get up.’

I have truly enjoyed interviewing Laurence and I find his attitude of embracing failure as a path to success very refreshing. If you want to find out more info about Brand Honee, please visit


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Inspirational marketing is about being true to yourself, being aligned with your core values and doing something you truly believe in and are passionate about. It is about creating meaningful relationships with everyone you encounter. It is about thoughts from the heart.

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