How To Use a Conscious Film as a Marketing Tool


Natural shoppers—whether they are tree-hugging greenies, health fanatics, nutrition nuts (in a good way) fitness enthusiasts or youth obsessed—are usually people who have a genuine, vested interest in wellbeing. With a pre-existing audience keen to learn more about the subject and the personal benefits, natural retailers are an ideal venue to showcase the film industry’s more meaningful work.

People want to be entertained and engaged while they are being informed. That is the magic of media publicity and social media. When you unwind by flipping through a magazine or Twitter, you are actually learning. Certain films, too, can teach and open our eyes about issues as well as brands.

“Conscious films are life-affirming cinematic works about mindfulness, wellness, spiritual practice, mind-body science, organic and plant-based food movements, sustainable living and most importantly, the human journey,” explains Danette Wolpert, the executive director of Illuminate, a Film Festival in Sedona, AZ, that brings together the best in conscious cinema exposing inquisitive people to information that makes a difference.

That’s exactly what natural retailers and manufacturers are trying to achieve. Conscious filmmaking is where blogging was 10 years ago. What appears to be a lone voice can influence many. Even book publishers are turning to film producers because video has more impact.

Documentary style films aren’t known for being profitable. They are known for giving back. “Everyone should have a marketing strategy,” said Geralyn Dreyfus, Utah Film co-founder and Impact founder. A good conscious film requires artist merit, commercial viability and distribution that will make a difference. Filmmakers are looking for brands to partner with.

Natural retailers and the brands they sell can have a symbiotic relationship with films that are the most relevant for your image, your shoppers and you.

Cancer, the benefits of vegan eating and menopause were hot conscious film topics this year—the same topics that concern average natural shoppers looking to take better care of their bodies.

How Can Retailers and Manufacturers

Use Conscious Films To Leverage their Businesses?


Investors, distributors and filmmakers are looking to bring new ideas into global consciousness. Retailers can contribute to these films by sponsoring them, becoming subjects for them and showing them in private screenings.

The C Word, one of the most talked about conscious films at Illuminate, had all the assets to take a message viral. A message that many health stores are trying to address themselves. Directed by cancer survivor, Meghan O’Hara—who also produced Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine – and narrated by Morgan Freeman, this film shows us how we can beat cancer before it beats us. The odds are high with 70% of deaths from cancer being preventable, people just need to know more.

Films like The C-Word, Vegan: Everyday Stories and Love, Sweat and Tears (a film that smashed the menopause taboo), are all opportunities for retailers to help raise awareness for the solutions as much as the issues. That’s what marketing is all about. Talking about what people are hearing.

Here is how retailers can get more involved:

Hosting. Use your store as a theater to attract new customers and engage those you have.

Sponsoring. Show your support of a topic by helping to fund a film. Shoppers like to vote with their dollars. Let them know about your support from the moment you start giving it.

Making. Look inside your store for a story to tell to determine if you have the makings of a film itself.

Marketing. Are any of the products you sell or influencers in naturals featured in films? You can leverage this to promote your store in traditional and social media.

Socializing. Whether you’re are financially involved in a conscious film or just like-minded, you can use it to generate sticky content for social media.

Monetizing. Like with any publicity and buzz, being a part of a film in any capacity raises awareness, credibility and recognition.

Conscious cinema is emerging as a genre. The film industry is starting to embrace conscious cinema and realize its value. Distributors are moving into the space and taking chances on new film titles. Box office numbers are climbing, and audiences are adopting new practices and new ways of living and being.

Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globetrotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company (, a New York-based marketing communications firm. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2016 (online 7/27/16)