Motion Picture Influencers as part of successful Supply Chain Management?

jdesormej    June 5, 2017

Supply chains are all of the elements, organizations, people, and production systems involved in the creation, distribution, and consumption of a product or service.

Supply Chain Management (SCM) recognizes that all of the players and processes in the system are interconnected. When one player fails or doesn’t deliver up to expectations, product success can be diminished or lost. From Napoleon to Hitler, this idea of guarding supply line control carries has always carried mythical, and real military implications in our history.

SCM proposes that collaborative practice among commercial stakeholders is an appropriate driver for successful enterprise today.  But does this practice actually work? Is collaboration actually business bullying of the larger buyer over the smaller supplier into resentful submission?  Imbalanced business relationships such as these usually create suspect questionable dialogue between such contracting parties? There are always going to be continuing “best deal” dynamics involved or intellectual property or data source to protect. If you squeeze your supplier, why would the supplier necessarily share pertinent information with you?

However, we know that few organizations operate in a vacuum. Supply Chain Management proponents suggest that these problems must be overcome or the risk of disruption is heightened. There is too great a risk that outside influences or 3rd party organizational failures can disrupt a competent company’s best laid internal plans, if an appropriate dialogue is missing from the workflow between people and companies.

We are reminded that this supply chain is a journey of a product or service from inception to delivery. It must by necessity, include the interaction of a myriad of players and sub-contractors, growers, developers, marketers, wholesale to retail, depending upon the nature of the product. In an outsourced, overhead efficient world, few successful organizations function in a manner permitting them to produce all of the services or products necessary to deliver their final product.

We see numerous examples of supply chain problems around us every day. most notably In Toronto with the Toronto Transit Commission’s continuing difficulties with noted tech giant Bombardier. Observers have placed the cause of the delivery problems on one of Bombardier’s subsidiaries in Mexico, which is having difficulties delivering prototype streetcar elements to specification, therefore causing delays in the Sault Saint Marie plant and delays in delivery of the contracted street cars to the city of Toronto.

These are contracts in the billions, so the illustration here is an important one.

The business concept of sharing information is itself an interesting one. Can Sharing readily occur in our profit motivated, risk averse capitalist society? I happen to work in the educational industry which guards its silo educational content world with great, regulatory grit. Yet Stanford is offering free university  to all and Harvard University has also followed suit.

Look at what is happening to film schools which is my specific area of interest film schools ! Will we be around in 10 years?

Some are predicting the end of film schools in 10 years as we know it, unless substantive changes occur.

So change is most certainly inevitable and the concept of Sharing may just become the catalyst to SCM becoming a more effective tool in the business arsenal of progressive organizations.

This philosophy and practice of “sharing”, through social media, is occurring with good measure in media and it may well be that the Motion picture industry can reveal to us how organizers are becoming more dependent on the stakeholders involved in their industry.  The media world, specifically the motion picture industrial process is all about multiple stakeholders influencing the success or failure of a given motion picture: from development to financing to production, delivery, marketing and exhibition. If any of these essential steps in the process falters, it is unlikely the product will ever succeed. It is essential therefore, and we are seeing interesting examples of this, where the motion picture producer is adopting a unique supply chain management application in order to diminish risk, create product visibility, ensure “audience-focused” product development. Social media of course is the primary important tool in this battle.

We know that embracing multiple media delivers huge marketing rewards allowing the producer to connect product through deep, participatory experiences.

How has Social Media itself helped to shape this industrial process? Considerably. Stakeholders are more than just players in an assembly line of supply and delivery. Consumers today, join this collective group as important participants, observing and determining relationships, commenting upon picture quality and influencing the creative development of the end product. The Consumer in fact is defined differently as well, no longer a gender, age, culture or religious metric alone; demographics being the commonly applied term.  Consumer or audience has expanded into the stakeholder role of interactive participant, evolving beyond the “demographic” designation to that of “passion participants”.  Smart producers believe that sharing information with this passion group is a great opportunity.

This new view integrates product and brand awareness of product. The market itself becomes Psychographic, that is divided into segments based upon different personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of consumers. This audience segmentation is particularly advantageous because it allows a producer to engage in product design and marketing based upon the passion of the consumer, in a focused manner, with the data developed employed as an essential ingredient in the motion picture strategies of many a modern-day producer.

So how do you reach this critical, passion audience and why is this important to Supply Chain Management? Audiences in Motion Pictures no longer appear to be passive players in the supply chain process. These people share their opinions, likes and dislikes, many times demanding higher standards and innovation of the original product. They influence continuing product evolution.  From a SCM perspective, the idea of multiple organizations and participants deeply involved in the life cycle of a given product, is key to the sharing philosophy.

The role of the Social Media influencer. becomes critical. Influencers themselves may create a personal following in a given discipline such as the notable individual commentators  or they may speak to an area of collective shared passion or interest. A film critic perhaps. Trust between commentator-influencer and the consumer is the key component here as parties exchange views on mutual interests.  Successful influencer commentary is earned recognition by the passion player community.

We see sales growth driven by bloggers in many industries. One recent article describes the power of cosmetics blogger Annie_uu in China who shares images of herself, cosmetics and accessories every few days on Weibo with her 650,000 followers. The discussion in this article is about the strength of the Estee Lauder brand and the loyalty of followers in comparison to western consumers. Whoever is winning in this social media race, there is no doubt that the process has touched all in industry, globally.

The blogger influencer in Canadian media, may be a critic, or may be the super fan, a “whale”, and has also shown the capacity to inject interest or energy into any specified project that the Whale has a great passion for. Sometimes the first influencer in this scenario can be the actual producer reaching out to a community ,asking fans to endorse and support the work being created, or even the work to come.  This is the feature film Wolf Cop, today’s case study.


At the annual Playback Marketing Seminar in Toronto, sponsored by Telefilm Canada. and the Brunico – Playback Group , a great many of these marketing and branding ideas were discussed at length. A fun, very low budget Saskatchewan based feature film “Wolf Cop” was introduced to us as an example of the power of Social media and Influencer power. This is the subject of this week’s commentary.

Here is Wolf Cop, a low budget feature film example of this Influencer phenomenon .

Alcoholic cop Lou Garou to black out and wake up in unfamiliar surroundings, but lately things have taken a strange turn. Crime scenes seem oddly familiar… Lou’s senses are heightened… and when the full moon is out, he’s a rage-fueled werewolf. WOLFCOP is one cop’s quest to become a better man…one transformation at a time.”

Wolf Cop. “Dirty Harry, only hairier!”

Low budget feature films are very difficult to fund in Canada, even with our generous subsidy system. The trigger to most financing in Canada has been to sell the picture to private broadcasters or distributors which then generates the critical generous subsidy system. Competition is fierce for limited Canadian Distribution and Broadcast dollars and window.

What can make your project stand out from the pack?

The aforementioned Playback Marketing Seminar focused upon the benefits of deep marketing and brand awareness. Social Media triggering audience interest and loyalty was discussed at length.

Lowell Dean and partners, the creative voice and director of the Wolf Cop, were searching for a way to fund their film. Their strategy was to build a fan base before approaching the private distribution interests and selling the project. The campaign began with a website and then expanded to multiple social media platforms.

Dean said putting the actual script online for fans was different, but added “it almost gave us more steam,” because it provided fan feedback about what they found confusing, what they liked and what they didn’t.

Wolf Cop was initially advertised as a horror, but the humor confused people so the adjusted PR “to say comedy.” It was a case of fashioning marketing “on how people were reacting.” –

Notably the Production team also designed an Indiegogo campaign to raise funding and fan interest  Twitter connections were employed   The Echolands Creative Group was contracted to come up with the social media consulting and development of the film. all to raise funding and fan interest in the project itself.

The initial influencers who began of course with Facebook, on the project were the creative and producer team itself, but then the voices grew from there.  Bloody Disgusting – Horror Film Magazine drove interest and genre followers to the Wolf Cop brand sites with interesting insights into the project.

Playback Magazine pushed the uniqueness of the project. There is always some doubt as to how much sway film critics hold?  Apparently not as much as you would expect.

But project followers, the “passion” followers, seem to influence project potential enormously, even before film starts – at the investment stage, and certainly afterwards, at the exhibition and exploitation stages.

This seemed to be the motivation for maverick fan investment funder Cine Coup’s decision to support the film. Cine Coup Film Accelerator Group, a film investment group that portrays itself as a “fancentric” developer of product came on board for a significant amount of money and the money began to flow. Cine Coup’s mantra is that it is trying to change the game (so to speak) in the way films are produced in Canada.  With a back pocket of funding, Cine Coup gets filmmakers to package and market their film ideas through a social web platform that engages both fans and filmmakers using social media to pump out weekly missions to grow a fan base and build support.

“The power is given to the fans who vote which film(s) they want to see get produced.  They’ve flipped the pyramid upside down by building an audience first before actually making the film, as opposed to finding an audience afterwards.” WOLFCOP: A Social Shape Shifter

Filming began filming in October 2013 in Regina, Saskatchewan and surrounding area. The film is set to rely on “retro-style” practical effects instead of computer-generated imagery.

Here is a trailer for the film employed by the Producer’s to raise influencer and audience interest.


Wolf Cop was released to Cineplex theatres nation wide on June 6, 2014.

Box office was modest but the interest from the fan base was enough to garner significant interest to keep on going.

On review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, the movie currently has a 71% approval rating. (which is very good)  Bloody Disgusting, a Horror Genre Magazine, gave WolfCop a positive review and stated “A perfect storm of creature action, the occult, gore, intrigue, humor, and puns, Wolf Cop is destined for cult glory.”

A Wolf Cop sequel was being planned almost immediately after the first film was released. This is a franchise in the making, and it was fan power that drove the project to its success. Fan Power is now an essential part of the supply chain for motion pictures.

We leave the reader with a link to Wolf Cop Fan Art as a final testament to the power of fan passion and the many Influencers they follow.



Lessons for Others

Can Social Media practices in Motion Pictures provide pathways for successful Supply Chain Management?

Traditional competitive business practices and protection of corporate asset bases often appear to negate the benefits proposed by Supply Chain Management which suggests greater risk assessment, information exchange helping to ensure continuity, quality, speed of delivery of the product, certainly all these elements suggesting real cost loss to the producer of a given product. Today the chain supply system keeps on expanding. In a Social Media world, the customer is becoming an important part of this supply system, both before product completion, as co-creators of the product, and afterwards as consumers who speak back to producers with amazing critical effect.

In the motion picture world, we are seeing interesting examples of this producer – consumer partnership and when we study the Cine Coup phenomenom, a new studio filmmaking process said to be built by the fans for the fans, we see at  least here, that there is no doubt that fans, content passion players and brand influencers are becoming integral to success in this business.

Producers, film makers must pay great heed to this aspect of their community. As consumers begin to demand more and more from a given organization, ignoring these voices, failing to share essential informations, failing to capitalize on Influencers with large followers, or traditional commentators can be as negative a result, as simply delivering bad product.

Indeed, this approach can be viewed as a sword as well and we see in the above study that the producers of Wolf Cop to fair advantage of Influencer and fan based passion for their project.




Organization: Wolf Cop Corp
Industry: Motion Picture Production & Finance
Name of Organization Contact: TBA

Authored by: Jean Desormeaux

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


International marketing and festival participation program

‘Wolfcop’ is Like ‘Dirty Harry’… Only Hairier!

CineCoup, the Film Accelerator (SLASH!) wolfcop

Annie_ uu

Poster URL

Estee Lauder in China

Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer on YouTube