If Brands Were Movies, Here's What the Posters Would Look Like

EP+Co's Lance Ford on his amusing designs

Ryan Reynolds as the Pillsbury Doughboy? Tom Hanks as Orville Redenbacher? Emma Stone as Wendy? Emma Watson as Betty Crocker?

These movies haven't been made—yet—as Hollywood still hasn't fully embraced consumer brands as fodder for features (outside of Lego, anyway). Still, you can image the posters that might accompany such films. And Lance Ford can really imagine them. Because he's been mocking them up for a couple of months now.

Here are a few of Ford's creations, in which some impressive Photoshop and a knack for classic movie-poster design combine for absurd but halfway believable executions. (Our money is on Reynolds winning that Oscar for his weight gain alone on Pillsbury.)

You can see many more posters over at @brandnamefilms, the Instagram created for the project. We spoke to Ford—by day, a creative director at agency EP+Co—to learn more about his branded Hollywood daydreams.

Muse: Fun project. Where did the idea come from to do this?

Lance Ford: The idea really just came from me wanting a fun, creative outlet. I love advertising, and movies, and thought it would be fun to combine the two in an interesting way. I actually have a small collection of one-sheets, with Goonies and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen being my two favorites.

Tell me about your day job and how it inspired this project.

I work for EP+Co as a creative director with a focus on social media. I currently work with a lot of entertainment brands such as Netflix, Lionsgate and Paramount, developing social content and campaigns for some of their movie properties. I've also developed social content for many consumer brands like Denny's, John Deere and LinkedIn, so combing those two worlds seemed like an interesting thought.

How do you go about picking the brands and then dreaming up fun Hollywood-style plots—and casts—for them?

To pick the brands, I really just start by looking at recognizable mascots. It's easier to develop a plot around a character that already has a bit of a history and then find a fun way to twist the story to make it more interesting. However, I do have a handful of brands that don't necessarily have a mascot that I am developing ideas for, to help broaden the content of the account. 

As far as the actors, I try to find ones who somehow represent the mascot. So, for the Green Giant, I just Googled "tallest actors" and Vince Vaughn popped up, which visually made sense to me. I also try to pick actors who are fairly active on social media in the hopes that they might notice the poster, à la Betty Crocker.

You've got some serious Photoshop magic going on in these posters. How much work goes into each one?

Thank you! Each poster takes a different amount of time to create, depending on the initial concept. On average, they probably take about two hours to put together. Sourcing the images takes the most time since I'm really just pulling from Google. I want the Photoshop work and design to be as good as it can be, so I try to find images that have consistent lighting and angles so it all matches up. Sometimes it doesn't and I have to spend a little extra time trying to adjust for less-than-ideal imagery.

Are you a student of movie poster design?

I've never designed a poster for an actual movie property, but I'd love to someday. I take design inspiration from some of the classic movie posters like "big floating heads" and "standing back to back."

Any favorites you've done so far?

It's always hard to pick a favorite! I enjoy the process of creating something new and evolving it along the way, so my favorite is generally the latest one I've done. If I had to choose, I really like one I did of Chester Cheetah and the one for Wendy's.

Do you think Hollywood will ever actually embrace brands as explictly as this, beyond something like The Lego Movie?

Hollywood has obviously embraced brands in the form of video game and toy properties, but I can't really recall a consumer brand being the subject of a movie. It makes sense to me that someday Hollywood will take one of these brand mascots and develop a larger story around them. Hopefully, my poster explorations can help move it along!

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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