For those who remember, the expression ‘branded content’ was coined in 2001 with the launch of an amazing BMW project called ‘The Hire‘, a collection of 8 short movies produced by BMW with some of the world’s best directors, starring Clive Owen as the main character and showcasing some of the best qualities of the mighty German cars.
It’s always good to remember what Gary Knight, ex ITV, once said:
The content element must be real, for real people, in the real world. It must never be advertorial, as it then becomes “fictitious” and the franchise is lost. The best starting point is to think about how to create a genuine viewing experience that can adopt true brand-extension positions, both on-and off-air.
The new decade has definitely started with a BANG within this marketing environment as more and more marketeers try and come up with cost-effective ideas; new ways to reach diversified audiences and create content that can be easily integrated within a marketing mix using different channels.
In 2009, Red Bull decided to create an online series whose target audience of extreme-sports fans could completely-relate-to and entirely-get-addicted-to. For this reason, they decided to launch ‘The Atherthon Project’, an awesome show tracking the exploits of the most famous family in mountain bike history. The series follows British riders Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton as they compete in the 2009 UCI World Cup Series and the World Championships in Australia. Totally addictive and perfect for their adrenaline-junky-core-audience.
Also last year, Schweppes launched a short movie called ‘SIGNS’ which is one of the videos I simply can’t stop watching. The viral seeding activity was brilliant as no one actually knew that it was a branded project by the Orangina Company. The video has reached around 10 million views since launched and it’s an absolute masterpiece in my honest opinion. It’s quite funny that until the last time I saw the movie, I didn’t realise at the end the ‘Schhhhhh’ sign made by the actress (which kinds gives it away…)
In 2006/07, Orange commissioned a TV show called ‘Orange Playlist‘ to promote the existing Orange Mobile Music Store. The show was broadcasted on ITV every Wednesday featuring different celebrities picking their 10 favourite songs. The show was so successful that it was commissioned for the following year. Orange and their brand entertainment agency Cake also managed to extend their Playlist content into experiential marketing through roadshows touring universities and city centres.
Jonze says of the collaboration:
Absolut didn’t give me any requirements to make a movie that had anything to do with vodka. They just wanted me to make something that was important to me, and let my imagination take me wherever I wanted’.
All I can say is that the movie seems to be fitting perfectly with the ABSOLUT brand and even more with their latest comms positioning. The investment in such an acclaimed director seems to have already paid off with the 30-minute film being accepted into film festivals globally, including Berlin next month, Turkey and the aforementioned Sundance. (Ref. Contagious)
One last thing to mention for those who really don’t get the difference between ‘Sponsored Content’ and ‘Branded Content’.
Sponsorship is adding a brand’s logo to an already existing event or entertainment property, whereas Branded Content involves coming up with the creative idea together with the brand and the producers. It is an effort of collaboration in order to bring consumers entertainment that they want, in the form that they want it!
Who is gonna be next?