Film director Nick Hamm and his brother Jon, former global chief creative officer at Geometry, have launched a branded entertainment business called Free Turn.
The company will work with brands "to bring the power of entertainment to the heart of their marketing strategies and transform ad-free platforms into strategic and commercial growth partners". It will be based in London and Los Angeles.
Alongside the brothers, Jeremy Groman, co-founder of Firecracker Films, joins as chief creative officer and Gemma Batterby, former new business director at Geometry in London, joins as managing director.
Free Turn will have four divisions bringing strategic consultancy, creativity, production, and distribution and marketing under one roof. "We’re going to give marketers the power to build distinctive and impactful entertainment to reach their audiences, whilst also delivering ownable IP that can drive new revenues for them," Jon Hamm said.
The business has already signed exclusive partnership deals with subscription-on-demand and over-the-top content distributors to create brand-funded entertainment for their respective platforms and has also been appointed to launch an American sparkling water brand in the UK later this year. Nick Hamm will also run his productions through Free Turn and the company is already in pre-production for its first film, which does not involve any brand partners.
Nick Hamm said that the relationship between advertising and entertainment has reached a pivotal moment. "The relationship has been decoupled over the last 10 years as the distribution of entertainment has changed and as streaming has grown. And we’ve asked ourselves: how is this going to affect what I do – which is making product – and how is that going to affect what Jon does in terms of the world of brands and advertising? Both industries now require reach other in a different way."
Jon Hamm added that the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the way we consume media and how marketers are thinking about their budgets has helped reinforce the Free Turn positioning. "It’s accelerated the transformation in the advertising industry in a really significant way. And if you look at the space we’re in, in terms of how brands have been engaging in entertainment and content over the last two or three months, it’s clear that space has also become much more prominent in their thinking. So I believe that we’re in the right place as a company to be part of what will be a new era for advertising at the end of this."
The Hamm brothers have founded a creative company together before, Greenroom Digital, which they sold to Interpublic in 2008, and when Jon was chief creative and innovation officer at Momentum Worldwide they formed Momentum Television as a content offering for marketers.
Nick Hamm’s film credits include Godsend starring Robert De Niro, The Hole starring Thora Birch and Keira Knightley, and Driven about car designer John DeLorean. He won a Bafta for The Harmfulness of Tobacco starring Edward Fox and has directed the pilot and several episodes of Netflix’s new series White Lines, which launched last week.