Over 10,000 delegates descended on Cannes for this year’s 50th miptv conference. Many optimistic producers attended hoping to secure a sale for a format, some buying, everyone looking. In the past 50 years of miptv there have been countless changes and developments in the industry, we all know what they are so let’s move on.
Our interest was in branded entertainment. We wanted to see if Australian content creators were keeping pace, or perhaps even setting the pace, in this arena, as well as determining whether there was a universal definition of ‘branded entertainment and content’. The answer was a resounding ‘no’. Sure, plenty of individuals thought they had a clear-cut definition, but the industry as a whole, whether globally or locally, cannot agree.
What we do know is unique content created for the digital medium has contributed to growing opportunities for marketers, where the viewer is no longer at the mercy of a programmer. Consumers get it how and when they want it. There’s also a desire for content that entertains and adds value to their lives. If there’s a marketing message woven throughout, that’s fine, if it entertains. Production values also vary widely and seem to be less important particularly if you listen to the YouTube gurus.
Take Pixiwoo, for example.
But then we move to the other end of the spectrum with a grand concept like Love in the End a full feature film. You may know the great work done by Ogilvy Greece with Lacta Chocolate.
A client funding a feature film in partnership with a distributor is an excellent case in point. No overt branding in the film for the product was necessary as a large part of consumer engagement was done prior to the film’s production. This also enabled the project to enjoy a uniquely long promotional period, something that paid dividends when the film opened, even outperforming some big budget Hollywood productions at the box office.
Tooned, produced by Simon Whalley and the team at Framestore London, is another excellent example where a willing and somewhat bold client, in this case McLaren, knew they needed to do something different to generate cut though in F1. The net result is that the animated series is now being sold on DVD after a solid run on TV.
There were many great ideas from some truly great writers and producers, but sadly they all lacked a key ingredient: funding.
So, a message to advertisers – the ideas are ready, the new world order is here. Don’t wait or you will miss out and one thing is for sure, your competitors are looking at content now. They are looking at how content will deliver greater strategic flexibility and how the consumer can gain better insights into a product in a far more informative and engaging way.
It is our job to convince advertisers that there is real value in branded content with a solid ROI. Unlike 30-second TVCs or print, a high quality content piece has a long term residual effect – once it’s out there, it is out there for good.
So, sit with the client, agree on what defines success and go for it.
The message from the global content community is that there is nothing to stop us except for a few programming executives, unrealistic timelines and clients who think a content piece needs multiple brand messages.
Why would you interrupt their entertainment, when you can be their entertainment?
Cameron Jurd is the founder of Oxygen360.