Michael Sugar: X4Y is a tech platform which is designed to link creators and brands to pay for their creative. I have been in service of commercial directors for many, many years, and one of the things that a commercial director needs to do to be discovered, to get paid, is make a commercial that then goes on the shelf. I remember thinking how inefficient this is; people are spending money making very creative commercials without the benefit of a creative agency. Coming up with their own ideas and spending their own money. They get hired to do commercials, and their work which got them there, is gone. So I’ve been thinking about how to bring those creators to a mass market.
I thought, well, 15 years ago, a person with a car and a phone didn’t know they had a job until Uber said you did, and people who needed a cab didn’t know they could just press a button.
There are 30 million companies that are advertising right now and they don’t know that there are hundreds of thousands of phenomenal creators, hopefully all of them in this room right now, who are making really cool shit – if I can say that word. [These creators need] to get an audience who will pay for it. You can do a TikTok, but that’s specific. You can be a live streamer, but that’s not going to lead to movies and TV. All respect to that [but] it’s a different model. We have a couple hundred thousand short films made a year. None of them, maybe half a dozen, ever get their money back. [Yet] all of this money, time and crews are being dispatched.
X4Y.com is [a community of] folks that are creators who are making commercials that are brand agnostic, preferably. Don’t make a commercial for Gatorade because Gatorade doesn’t probably want to buy your commercial. Make a commercial for health and wellness and any of the thousands of health and wellness companies that would love to have a piece of commercial content to put up on Instagram or Snap or Twitter. Let them pay you for it… they don’t know that people are creating such incredible content. Now people are making these commercials – we’re selling them – and also the brands are now coming to us to put out opportunities to this creative community. So what we’re looking to do is bring [more] creators in… to come sign up, and we’ll give you information [on brand opportunities]. We will educate you on how to monetize this new medium because it is a new medium.
We’ve been trying to solve for branded content for 20 years. BMW films, everyone talks about it. We did that at Anonymous. It was 20 years ago. Why is the best version of branded content 20 years old? And we’ve been chasing it for 20 years. Because in my mind, the whitespace and the solution is unbranded content. Make emotional content, funny content, make something that some brand will want. I don’t care if it’s Joe’s Candle Shop. They need something that sells their candles, and they will pay to have really meaningful creative that connects [with their audience] and it doesn’t have to have the candle in it.
15 years ago, a person with a car and a phone didn’t know they had a job until Uber said you did, and people who needed a cab didn’t know they could just press a button.