Planet Propaganda: Advocates for Independent Film with 2004 Wisconsin Film Festival Campaign


For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:
Lori Wilson, Funnel Incorporated, 608.256.0000

Travis Ott, Planet Propaganda
608.251.5481 or



MADISON, Wis. (March 22, 2004) — In a hotly contested election year, Madison-based communication company Planet Propaganda turned political campaign propaganda on its ear in the marketing campaign for the 2004 Wisconsin Film Festival held April 1 – 4 in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.

“After three years of building brand awareness we wanted to promote the event’s larger leadership role regarding film in the Midwest,” said Travis Ott, brand manager at Planet Propaganda. “Since the Wisconsin Film Festival is the area’s biggest proponent of independent film it made sense to champion that cause. And the creative spin on grassroots politics does a great job of that this year.”

Knowing that festival-goers share a passion for indie films that can provoke heated debate and emotion, Planet took a grassroots approach inspired by political campaign channels to position the Festival as a cause to support and rally around. Elements such as photocopied fliers, stickers, buttons and a self-aware manifesto calling on film people near and far to “join us as we strive toward a happier, healthier tomorrow” provide a consistency and sense of urgency for film enthusiasts. Not coincidentally, they also help extend the non-profit organization’s limited marketing dollars.

Additional grassroots campaign elements include five TV spots created in-house at Planet that also serve as in-theater trailers, as well as direct mail postcards, brochures, black and white print ads, a variety of fliers, posters and a campaign of marquee posters, buttons, stickers and life-size cutouts. All of this pushes people to the cornerstone of the campaign, a content rich web site.

The creative centers around the Festival’s signature reddish-orange color and, in keeping with the distinctive look of a grassroots political campaign, limits the print campaign’s color palette to orange, white and black. Planet also created a playfully iconic set of film people inspired by models and fashions from old department store catalogs and armed with film technology and the Festival logo superimposed over their heads. Children, adults and even pets are employed to give the sense of playful ubiquity.

The TV scripts feature phrases encouraging viewers to genuinely support and appreciate indie film. Phrases such as “Vote: Human,” “Vote: Real,” and “Vote: True” support copy that breaks from conventional film clichés. The scenes embrace obtuse imagery to complement on-screen text espousing thoughts such as “Vote: Because life can be weird. Because weird can be interesting. Because interesting can be documented” while a wind-up, roller skating bear wobbles around on a brown and yellow linoleum floor warbling the tune “Edelweiss.”

The popular content-rich Web site ( picks up the Vote Film ’04 theme and drives home the unique nuance of independent film by creating film vignettes in a filmstrip-like format. Empty taverns, sweeping landscapes and ceramic bunnies evoke various film genres while thematic copy gives each page a different twist. However, the site’s functionality is all business. This year, tickets can be ordered online building on last year’s wish list functionality. Users can search films by title, genre, country, series or screening time to build an itinerary. Preferred films can then be selected and added to a personalized wish list that can pinpoint scheduling conflicts, be e-mailed to friends and submitted electronically for secure online order transmittal. The e-commerce function was created in partnership with internet development company IMS.

The site went live on Wednesday, March 3. Site traffic was up 27 percent on launch day from 2003 with 4,179 visitors. Clearly, 2004 is off to an exceptionally strong start.

About the Wisconsin Film Festival: A public program of the UW-Madison Arts Institute, the Wisconsin Film Festival is committed to independent film culture, quality programming, community involvement and a filmmaker-friendly environment. For Festival information visit:

About Planet Propaganda: Planet Propaganda is a communication company that provides graphic design, advertising, active media and motion graphics for desire-based brands including Gary Fisher Bicycles, Bretford and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. For more information, visit

Planet Propaganda 2004 Campaign Credits:
Creative Directors: Dana Lytle, John Besmer
TV Director: Nate Theis
Designer: David I. Taylor
Copywriter: James Breen
Active Media Director: Ben Hirby
Active Media Developers: David Huyck, Brian Wilson, Marcus Trapp
Active Media Project Manager: David Dickinson
Active Media Intern: Scott Starr
Production Director: Ann Sweeney
Production Designer: Angie Medenwaldt
Estimator/Buyer: Julie Kimmell
Photographers: Kevin Wade, David I. Taylor, Tommy Sweeney
Brand Manager: Travis Ott

Internet Development Partner: IMS (Madison, Wis.)
TV Transfer: i^3 (i-cubed) (Chicago)<