Huawei marketing plan turns TIFF attendees into red carpet paparazzi

Huawei Canada’s decision to partner with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one way to teach the market how to use technology, according to the Chinese smartphone giant’s Canadian director of marketing.

Radek Krasny said during a phone interview on Aug. 27 that many tech companies will choose to only have a brand partnership, which means the extent of their involvement will be a title on a poster saying “sponsored by.”

He said Huawei wanted to take it to the next level and showcase their technology so that customers could “build a connection” to their products, and an established international event like TIFF presented the perfect opportunity.

One example of Huawei’s efforts will be the TIFF Portrait Studio, a special event for celebrities and talent to have their photos taken professionally using only the new Huawei P20.

Jennifer Frees, senior director of partnerships at TIFF, said the organization’s photographer will be capturing the photos in the Portrait Studio at this year’s event and added that TIFF’s social team will also be using the phone to “capture red carpet content throughout the festival.”

Frees said this was the second year TIFF has partnered with Huawei. She said last year it was more of a soft launch, whereas this year the two are going all out to give attendees the best experience possible.

“We are able to combine our respective reaches locally and abroad with new audiences,” Frees said. “We bring those TIFF experiences to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to engage in it firsthand and that’s really what the partnership helps us do.”

The festival also presented a good opportunity to use the phone with its new camera, she added.

According to the company, Huawei’s P20 Pro camera features “the world’s first” Leica-manufactured triple camera, “inspired by the kinetics of light and precision – engineered to capture detailed, rich, atmospheric images any time of day or night,” according to its website.

The three lenses in the back include a 20 MP mono lens, a 40 MP RGB lens, and an 8 MP telephoto lens.

It was reported that more than 380,000 people attended the festival two years ago, and Frees said that many of the attendees are new Canadian filmmakers.

“You’re getting the best quality picture, and so especially… for those emerging filmmakers who may not have the budget to be able to go and get for a large scale production, they would be bringing in for cameras,” Frees said. “Here you’re getting a Leica camera – you’re getting the world’s best lens on your smartphone so you’re able to actually produce leading edge imagery with that particular unit and at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a $50,000 film camera.”

Krasny said the festival’s setting is exactly the type of location Huawei wanted to showcase the technology.

“Photography and film is so closely connected to our product, so that’s why during the [showcase], during the portrait studio, our goal is to showcase and present to everyone the camera,” he said.

Krasny also said Huawei’s worth is elevated because TIFF is a “highly credible event in Canada.”

“By connecting with [a company], you are building the awareness and credibility of your brand and at the same time it’s not only about the sponsorship, but it’s also [a way] to explain the technology.

“You want to give them an experience, you want them to experience the quality of your product,” Krasny said.

TIFF’s Portrait Studio will be open to the talent on Sept. 6, the same date the festival will begin in downtown Toronto.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Shruti Shekar
Shruti Shekar
Shruti Shekar is a video producer and reporter for IT World Canada. She was formerly a political reporter at The Hill Times and was based in Ottawa. Her beats included political culture, lobbying, telecom and technology, and the diplomatic community. She was also was the editor of The Lobby Monitor, and a reporter at The Wire Report; two trade publications that are part of The Hill Times. She received a MA in journalism from Western University and a double BA honours in communication studies and human rights from Carleton University. She was born in India, grew up mostly in Singapore and currently resides in Canada.

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