‘Green Book’ and ‘Roma’ producer Participant gets a makeover as it rides ‘conscious consumer’ wave
Participant Media, the company behind both “Green Book” and “Roma,” is getting a makeover as it looks to become a better-known brand in the entertainment industry and among socially conscious audiences.
The Beverly Hills firm, founded in 2004 by former EBay President Jeff Skoll, has made a name for itself in Hollywood by financing and producing films and TV shows and waging campaigns for what it views as the public good. However, for the general public, the company has mostly remained under the radar.
Executives are hoping to change that, starting with a new logo expected to debut at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday, ahead of the screening of the Michael B. Jordan civil rights drama “Just Mercy,” the Warner Bros. release that the company co-financed. Participant’s previous logo was essentially just its name in a simple lower-case font. The new image features the word “Participant” in all caps, surrounded by shapes meant to evoke the planting of a flag and cut-up pieces of film.
In another part of its face-lift, the company is dropping the “Media” part of its moniker in order to emphasize that its goal is not solely to produce compelling content but also to spur audiences to act, executives said.
“We believe that our efforts, including our logo and visual identity, now better convey what we do and the values behind it,” Skoll said in a statement.
The idea is to make the brand feel more accessible and approachable for the public, said Participant’s president of worldwide marketing, Christina Kounelias.
The rebranding also comes at a potentially opportune time for Participant amid a rise in “conscious consumerism,” in which people make decisions about what they buy and watch based on their perceived social, political or environmental effect.
“It allows us to tap into some global trends and cultural shifts that are happening right now,” Kounelias said via phone. “It’s this era of individual empowerment. You can become a participant, which is the brand’s premise and promise.”
Participant is led by David Linde, who took the reins in 2015 after a period of struggles that led to a strategic review of the business.
Recently, the firm has found success backing this year’s popular, albeit controversial, best picture Oscar winner “Green Book,” released by Universal Pictures. Participant also made Netflix’s black-and-white Alfonso Cuaron drama “Roma,” which competed head-to-head with “Green Book” in the Oscar race. Its documentary “American Factory,” released by Netflix in August, earned the distinction of becoming the first title from Barack and Michelle Obama’s production entity Higher Ground. The company also owns SoulPancake, the digital video provider co-founded by “The Office” actor Rainn Wilson.
Participant executives said they’re looking to increase their efforts to use their content to promote social good. Alongside the release of “Roma,” for example, Participant launched a campaign pushing legislation in Mexico to give labor protections to domestic workers. The rebranding reflects that effort, the company said.
“We embarked on a thoughtful process of building a refreshed identity, which will resonate with that rapidly growing demographic who embrace inspiration and seek to change the world,” Linde said.
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