Executive Seat: Building Bluebird’s Brand

Bob Johnson

Lead more and follow less — the hallmark of a true executive and the mantra of Bluebird Film’s Drew Dixon.

The Vice President of Sales for the progressive feature film company said he believes trends come and go but high quality product speaks for itself. And with Bluebird’s dedication to big budget movies Dixon is, well, in the “catbird” seat to execute his management style.

Ultimately, I believe that trends come and go but high-quality product speaks for itself.

“I just want to make sure we continue to reach out to consumers more as the year goes by. For me it’s all about the work. I would like to see that the hard work I am putting in this year turns into results. That’s what it’s all about. To see our brand grow and this company thrive makes me feel great and I just want to keep pushing that as far as I can,” Dixon says.

The adult industry veteran has been a key player in a number of adult companies that has kept him in condition to continue to prosper and take on just about any challenges the tumultuous industry can throw at him.

Dixon cut his teeth in the movie business in 1999 while working in the “Nodance” Independent Film Festival circuit — an alternative to the Sundance and Slamdance circuits — where he said he participated in the first-ever projected screening of a DVD.

His film experience and the lure of a hot technology brought Dixon to Los Angeles in early 2000 to take content managing jobs in the booming dot-com industry with companies including and only to become a victim of the eventual tech stock crash in November of that year.

“During that time I met Michelle Liss from Vivid at a screening in Westwood who then introduced me to David James who was looking for someone to sell the new DVD format through Vivid Interactive. I became the National Sales Rep for Vivid Interactive — the DVD side of Vivid Entertainment at a time when VHS tapes were much more well-known and the mainstay of the business,” Dixon recalls.

Since that time the sales pro has held key positions with Pure Play Media, Sin City and niche producer White Ghetto.

During his five-year stint at Pure Play, Dixon spearheaded the sales of the Seymore Butts and Michael Ninn videos, distinctly different, but popular lines that he says broadened his knowledge of all types of content and presented him with a window into what works in the marketplace.

After a fateful call from Bluebird CEO and director Nicholas Steele soon after his Pure Play departure last June, Dixon joined Bluebird Films as its vice president of sales. He says Bluebird’s aggressive marketing, high-quality productions and experience in the broadcast arena particularly appealed to him and he knew it would be a great fit.

Now Dixon’s responsibilities include not only heading up sales with the help of new National DVD Sales Manager Tom Deniro, but also overseeing the company’s unique day-to-day marketing efforts with Rising Star PR.

His front-line job with a major producer gives Dixon a unique perspective on the ever-changing video market and a game plan for success.

Concerning the state of DVD content — particularly the change from 2009 to 2010 — Dixon feels that the biggest shift he has seen was the sudden rise of parodies and the introduction of specialized content for couples in the form of the new romance genres.

And the company was quick to respond to the new market conditions with a number of successful parodies including “Bat FXXX: Dark Night” and others, and has recently launched its “Seduction” couples line.

He also sees “over saturation and cannibalization” in the business that he says has caused a glut of content leaving consumers weary of being burned by spending their hard-earned dollars on inferior product.

“I am seeing a studio contraction as the DVD market shrinks and the new release market shrinks, squeezing out lesser competitive companies as the market corrects itself. These days only high-end quality content from strong brands crafted by professionals stand out,” he maintains.

True to his beliefs, Dixon’s sales strategy includes pressing Bluebird’s branding and quality productions as the “tools” to help wholesalers and retailers move the company’s titles. He also says that in his sales conversations with major clients like Lion’s Den and Romantix he cautions buyers not to over order.

“I’m confident that I can get our products on the shelves, but more importantly we give our clients the means to get the DVDs pulled off of the shelves that includes Internet support, blogs and constant branding,” Dixon says.

Bluebird also recently joined the Supporting the Onsite Retail Establishment (S.T.O.R.E.) Program, which offers onsite retail assistance on behalf of a select group of adult companies through free educational seminars, point-of-sale support, merchandise and marketing expertise.

Dixon says that the partnership offers everything Bluebird needs to help expand its brand. “In today's economy having a trusted ally helping you navigate your way through the current brick-and-mortar challenges is a welcome surprise.”

The executive’s immediate plans also include furthering the development and strengthening of the Bluebird brand across all available platforms. To that end, he says Bluebird has introduced new elements including exclusive deals with Fleshlight, Fyre TV and mobile opportunities.

The Bluebird juggernaut will continue in 2011 with the release of more big budget films including “Baberunner” and “Katwoman,” Dixon says. He feels the company is especially tuned into what the market wants, pointing to the success of Bluebird’s “Dark Knight” parody “Bat FXXX: Dark Night” and “Bonny & Clide.”

“Ultimately, I believe that trends come and go but high-quality product speaks for itself,” Dixon maintains. But despite all of the ammunition a company can offer, its success ultimately depends on the hard work of its key players. He says the Bluebird team has shown in a short while that its management is among the best in adult and he personally enjoys each minute of his challenges.

So what keeps him so motivated? “Honestly, I’m happiest when I am most productive. That’s what wins for everyone involved,” he says.


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