Hassan Pinto is and the producer of Blue Blood Rivalry, the first documentary about the North Carolina vs. Duke rivalry. We sat down with him to discuss his inspiration for the film and how he turned this film into a brand.
Tell us a little about your background as an entrepreneur.
When I moved back to North Carolina, I partnered with a company called Oasis Mobile, an interactive gaming company. My job was to bring content to mobile phones. Any computer company can make a video game but not every company can sell a game. And so how do you sell it?
You sell it with brands like Alex Rodriguez, you sell those brands with like Derek Jeter, Churchill downs, all these prominent brands that you can brand a horse racing game or baseball game or football game, a basketball game with Kobe Bryant.
The net result was that by 2008, I had four of the top 10 mobile games of all time and we had revenues over a million bucks. It was just an exciting time for us. That’s how I stepped into the entrepreneurship realm – through casual video games. I had content because I knew all the guys, and they were eager to get into that business as well.
What inspired you to create the Blue Blood Rivalry documentary?
So from there, we partnered with Churchill Downs. I got a pretty decent exit. Being in the brand business was a really compelling business because you needed brands that people understood to sell products. So Blue Blood Rivalry came about because we did that exit. A friend of mine in Los Angeles was telling me, hey, you should make a film. And I kind of scoffed at it. Another friend came to me, he said, hey man, there is a thing called Kickstarter out there that kick starts new ideas. So a friend of mine helped me set it up and we raised the money.
The film business came about because I lived in LA and knew people in that industry and then there was Kickstarter. I think we were one of the first Kickstarters to really be successful in Durham.
What made you take the documentary and turn it into a brand?
So segueing back to the video game business. I understand brands. I understand that you can have the best product, but if people don’t have an emotional connection, people won’t invest in it. People talked about it, they said blue blood rivalry and school rivalry. It wasn’t something that was bottled up, where you could look at a logo and say that’s blue blood rivalry. So I said, look, we have an opportunity here.
We can create a logo that represents rivalry that people understand and can relate to rivalry. Then we can kind of bottle it up and package it. And then once you get that, it’s unlimited to what you can do that. I always tell people, my best ideas are progressions of ideas and learnings and failures along the way.
Where did the idea to create a beer come from?
We had this great film, with the potential to be a great brand. I was looking for ways to take the film and tie it into a consumer packaged good, CPG. What do the people in this lifestyle do? The blue blood rivalry lifestyle is this collegiate lifestyle that people live. They dress a certain way and they go to games.
I was out watching football games and going to basketball games. I said, well, people are consuming beer. And what kind of beer are they consuming? Craft beer. So with one of my investors, about four years ago, we went to the 2014 World Cup and we’re sitting on the beaches of Brazil. He asked me how do we elevate this brand? I said we’re going to create a craft beer, the Blue Blood Rivalry ale. We laughed about a little. We made a successful film and now we’re going to make a beer. I said we’re going to make a beer because they drink. So we came home and I started to draft some can designs.