Inside Mob Scene's Creative Advertising and Content for Will Smith's King Richard
Warner Bros.' King Richard presented a unique and exciting challenge for the teams at Mob Scene. It is both a wide-reaching, crowd-pleasing inspirational story and a suspenseful, intense character study about what it takes to make it out of poverty and into the elite world of sport.
We would tackle both sides of the marketing equation, creating advertising and content campaigns—all under one roof. Could we demonstrate that shared lessons and insights from each side would enable us to deliver something greater and more inspired; that 1 plus 1 is indeed more than the sum of its parts? At Mob Scene, we not only pride ourselves on the diverse range of advertising and creative content that we produce with our studio and filmmaking partners, but also on our deep love of the moviegoing experience and our unique role in that world.
Our advertising directive was bold and clear: sell King Richard as more than a sports movie. Led by John Stanford and Josh Goldstine at Warner Bros. Pictures, this campaign would not be a conventional sports story, but instead seek to embrace the widest possible audience through exploring the richness of the characters and the world they are working to join. Unlike a traditional sport film, it would not focus on the athletes, Venus and Serena Williams, the superstars-in-training, but on the father who guided his young daughters down a path to a success that was anything but pre-ordained. This is a story of dignity and perseverance, overcoming impossible odds, breaking through glass ceilings and finding a deeper humanity; tennis came second.
We had the gift of Will Smith in a role that delivers both heart and humor. King Richard is the type of story that accentuates a type of humble humanity that only Will Smith can deliver as both actor and filmmaker. Will plays Richard Williams, a dad from low-income roots, living in Compton and constructing a 78-page doctrine on how he would help his gifted daughters Venus and Serena overcome economic challenges to parlay their natural gifts into a tennis program. He had a vision for his children and an unswerving dedication to see them through, never exploiting but nurturing them to become more than just athletes. The film is a love letter to their dad and what he was able to accomplish.
Meanwhile, our content production stems from a 16-year working relationship with Will Smith and his Westbrook team. After so many years working together on films including Hitch, Emancipation, I Am Legend, Pursuit of Happyness, Bright, Collateral Beauty, Men in Black 3, King Richard and others, our crews are welcomed onto Will's set, assured that we'll fold into the team, filming b-roll and interviews quietly, respectfully and without impacting the film.
Will is an inspiring presence on his films. Even before he began producing, he's always been a filmmaker, guiding his films around human stories of people overcoming great challenges. Will is a leader on his sets, taking time to connect with everyone, ensuring cast and crew feel safe, comfortable and appreciated. The boundless enthusiasm we see in his behind-the-scenes clips is genuine; he loves what he does, and he loves the people he makes the films with.
Will and Westbrook are leaders in the charge for greater diversity in our business and on our sets, both in front of the camera and behind. Mob Scene, as a leading creative agency in this industry, has followed that charge, embracing change and providing opportunity and inclusivity to all diverse populations. Our content and advertising on King Richard dovetail seamlessly with this powerful message.
Combining our creative advertising and content efforts for the film led to fruitful creative collaboration between our groups. Having the gift of a long lead time enabled us to fully immerse ourselves in the stories of King Richard, lending an intimacy and familiarity that shows through in the work that was produced. At Mob Scene, a simple teaser or an in-depth interview with a filmmaker can lead to a new and exciting piece of creative work that can only come from spending time with the material at hand.