BOBCM: Best of Branded Content Marketing 2015 D&AD Edition


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BOBCM’s special 2015 D&AD edition - produced in partnership with D&AD, the global association for creative advertising and design - presents industry experts’ guest features and awards

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BOBCM: Best of Branded Content Marketing 2015 D&AD Edition

  1. 1. Best of Branded Content Marketing 2015 D&AD Edition
  2. 2. D&AD:becomingthebestofthebest D&AD: becoming the best of the best Introduction # By Tim Lindsay, CEO, D&AD 2015 really felt like a coming-of-age moment for branded content. D&AD exists to stimulate, enable and celebrate the best advertising and design work in the world. To keep pace in a rapidly changing communications landscape, we continually evolve our Professional Awards categories – this year, we introduced a Branded Film Content & Entertainment category. To further explore the increasingly important world of branded content, we’ve teamed up with BOBCM.  Our award winners demonstrate how far branded content has come. D&AD Members value creativity above everything else; they live and breathe it. Branded content offers an opportunity to stretch their creative legs more than any other format. They also flock to watch it – we have a vast archive of D&AD award-winning creative work, and already our new category is one of the most popular.
  3. 3. D&AD:becomingthebestofthebest In this BOBCM special edition, we explain our take on the significance and purpose of branded content marketing; present insight from our Jury Foreman and Jurors about what they expect from an award-winning campaign; and run the rule over some of our favourite recent examples of the best of the best. Why are brands turning to content-based marketing approaches? We're all familiar with the saturation of brand messages in our lives. It's hard to avoid and people have learned to tune it out. So brands have to work out how to engage people in ways that benefit or interest them. At the same time, we're spending huge proportions of our time online, glued to our phones and computers. These media offer new patterns of behaviour, where our cultural capital is judged on how we express our tastes and actions online. So for brands, the measure of success has changed. They now have the opportunity to be a part of people's daily conversations. This does however mean that they're now competing with a myriad of other brands, media owners and personalities to be a part of that conversation.  The natural conclusion is this: in order to be heard, one must create the most interesting, useful, shocking, or exciting content. Often this means shifting your messaging from being product focussed to having a more value- orientated approach. It has transformed our perception of audiences, from customers into people with wider interests. This is exciting as it widens the scope for creativity – whole new swathes of culture become relevant to your brand and can become the subject of marketing. But it's 3
  4. 4. D&AD:becomingthebestofthebest important to remember that it only works if it's relevant to your brand values, and ultimately your product. The future of branded content We're seeing that more and more brands  recognise the value in content-led campaigns. And the ones that don't are looking increasingly old-fashioned. For the 2016 D&AD Awards, we're expecting an even higher level of craft from brands that are already experienced in using branded content. We also expect to see some of those who are slower on the uptake get involved, with more FMCG brands deciding they need to stand for something. A good case in point: breakfast cereal Shredded Wheat now wants people to 'live from the heart'. To demonstrate this, its rather charming ad is a short documentary on ageing Northern Soul enthusiasts. It sure beats watching smiling kids around the kitchen table. I expect we'll also see a continuation of the trend towards value-led campaigns over product-focussed ones. Good causes and global moments, such as Pride, Father's Day and World Cups, will become colonised to saturation point by tie-in campaigns. More brands will become media or digital service companies. We're witnessing a mass, global pivot in the way we behave, away from fixed products to a sharing, co-creation economy. For those kinds of brand – Uber, Spotify, Airbnb and the like – who don't have a manufactured product, value-led branded  campaigns will be standard. The result is that consumers will benefit from better content in their lives. Brands will realise they can’t shout at us, they need to co-create with us. We’ll seek out more great creative work and incur fewer interruptions in our lives. Sounds good to me. 4
  5. 5. PEDIGREE K9FM D&ADCaseStudy
  6. 6. Challenge D&AD:PEDIGREEK9FM Pet food brand PEDIGREE’s mission has always been to look after dogs’ wellbeing – not only via the food bowl, but also emotionally by providing wide-ranging dog care information and supporting initiatives such as a dog adoption drive. PEDIGREE New Zealand challenged agency partner Colenso BBDO to create deeper engagement with the brand and come up with new opportunities to get PEDIGREE products into the hands of dog owners. 6 COLENSO
  7. 7. D&AD:PEDIGREEK9FM Colenso BBDO’s strategy was to engage with dog lovers by engaging with their dogs. Research had shown that dogs get stressed when left alone at home. Although many owners leave the radio on to keep their dogs company, it’s radio aimed at humans. The solution was to create a radio station specifically crafted for dogs: K9FM. The research also revealed details about canine personalities and behaviour, including the facts that classical music calms dogs down, a relaxed human voice eases their separation anxiety, and ambient sounds keep them interested. Armed with this insight, Colenso BBDO partnered with Clemenger BBDO, Australia, New Zealand Radio Broadcasting School, music and sound studio Franklin Road, canine behaviour consultant Jess Allsop and a group of actors. The team created hours of original content designed to have a positive effect on dogs’ wellbeing and keep them entertained.  Top dog-themed shows included: Talkies, discussing important topics like “Where is the ball, really?”; Fetch in the Park – a live outside broadcast from a dog park; Meditation and Relaxation with Vet Joanna; Cuts of Meat, Types of Ball, Stupid Cats and much more. The campaign ran for 12 weeks from May 2014, broadcasting a mix of music and speech 24 hours a day on 87.7 K9FM, with content rotated and refreshed to ensure no two days’ output sounded the same. The station launch was supported by a promotional and PR campaign. Multiple activations at targeted locations designed to connect with dog owners included a branded van distributing promotional materials and broadcasting live from local parks. As word spread, the story was covered by national media, thereby increasing the station’s potential audience. An important piece of insight from the research was that the sound dogs love to listen to most is their owner’s voice. So owners were given the ability to interact directly with their homebound hounds by calling the station live on air to leave personalised ‘shout outs’.  This introduced fresh content and was a key engagement feature, helping the campaign to fulfil its objectives. 7
  8. 8. Earned media reach 10x+ higher than target 1000+ calls from dog owners leaving messages for their dogs PEDIGREE NZ sales hit three-year high within two months of K9FM launch # D&AD:PEDIGREEK9FM 8 "I am in no doubt that it was the depth of content as well as its sheer scale that made this work. Typically, once a campaign has run we’re asking: “What next?” But the brand content we made for K9FM was such fun to make with so clear and real a purpose, the focus now is on how to push it out further.” Levi Slavin, former Creative Director, Colenso BBDO, (now Creative Director, BBDO, New York)
  9. 9. D&AD:PEDIGREEK9FM # Outcome 9 “It has been an amazing year for PEDIGREE. The secret behind all the creative recognition we’ve had is the trust that exists between the Colenso BBDO team and the local Mars team. They are the real heroes behind all our record D&AD and Cannes wins this year. With trust, fear goes away, possibilities emerge and ideas are freely shared.” Leonid Sudakov, Chief Marketing Officer, Global Petcare, Mars The K9FM branded content campaign attracted significant earned media interest, social comment and online content sharing during its three-month broadcast. The idea of engaging with dogs first and foremost unlocked a deeper emotional connection with dog owners. The campaign won a multitude of marketing industry awards, including three Silver and two Bronze Lions, a Gold and Grand Prix Spike, a Gold Pencil at The One Show, a Gold and Grand Prix Axis Award, a Mashie – and two Yellow Pencils and the prestigious Black Pencil at the D&AD Awards 2015. Perhaps the ultimate success indicator is that PEDIGREE’s parent company Mars is now considering how best to roll out the idea in other markets. More details about this campaign and its innovative use of radio are provided in partnership with Radiocentre on the D&AD website.
  10. 10. GUINNESS Sapeurs D&ADCaseStudy
  11. 11. Challenge D&AD:GUINNESSSapeurs In recent years, the drinks industry has seen a rapid rise in the popularity of independent beers produced in microbreweries in small quantities and sold to a new generation of drinkers who like a story behind the drink in their hand. This craft beer category is estimated to be growing at around 79% a year.* Legendary international beer brand GUINNESS, positioned as a more sophisticated alternative to lager, wanted to address this explosion in attention- grabbing, progressive beers. GUINNESS challenged its agency partner AMV BBDO to develop the existing ‘Made of More’ communications platform and provide the brand with conversational currency i.e. give people something interesting to talk about over their GUINNESS. But what? 11 * Source: GCA Strategies
  12. 12. D&AD:GUINNESSSapeurs AMV BBDO took a step back and asked: “If the objective here is to make the brand more interesting by providing stories that will be enjoyed and shared, shouldn’t we simply ask ourselves, what makes an interesting story?” There followed a phase of desk research identifying a long list of elements that make a good story. These were whittled down and refined to produce five criteria that GUINNESS stories needed to fulfil: 1. Truth – real stories have greater substance and integrity 2. Lesson – something important you feel you discover from the story 3. Conflict – a struggle or challenge that has to be overcome successfully 4. Characters – people others can relate to and empathise with, particularly protagonists 5. Setting – it needs to be memorable The stories also had to strengthen the perception of GUINNESS whose brand values are substance, character and integrity. The reasoning was that, if GUINNESS consistently celebrates these values in others, people would associate the same values with GUINNESS. The GUINNESS communications platform ‘Made of More’ had launched in 2013 with two films, ‘Clock’ and ‘Cloud’ – fictional stories of inanimate objects doing extraordinary things. Now the platform definition needed to evolve to reflect how GUINNESS wanted to tell real, human stories that reflect the values of the brand. With that in mind, ‘Made of More’ was redefined as a platform that celebrates people with the confidence to carve their own path. A beer with more, celebrating people with more. Halfway through 2013, the search began for the first true story of substance, character and integrity, designed to provide conversational currency to a new generation of drinkers. This search led the campaign team to Central Africa and a group of characters called the Sapeurs. Sapeurs are members of La Sape (Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes), a social movement centred in Brazzaville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With origins dating back to a defiance of French colonisation, the Sapeurs are blue-collar workers who, in colourful contrast to their surroundings, transform themselves into debonair gentlemen, dancing and strutting in celebration of style and elegance. The extraordinary Sapeurs embody the values of substance, character and integrity shared by GUINNESS. They overcome a struggle, namely their environment. They hold a life lesson, namely not allowing your circumstances to define who you are. And they are people from an interesting place who are easy to empathise with. They were chosen as the subject of the first new GUINNESS ‘Made of More’ campaign launched in 2014.12
  13. 13. 3.6 million online ad views 1.7 million documentary views on YouTube; estimated media value £510,000 (Source: Carat) (Source: Freud PR) (Source: Data2Decisions) £4 million in earned media Entire campaign sales ROI £3.63 per £1 spend D&AD:GUINNESSSapeurs People feel they have greater conversational currency when they have additional information about a subject. This principle was applied to the Sapeurs branded content campaign. The standard 90-second and 30-second TV ads were made and aired, however these only provided a snippet of the Sapeurs’ story. The full story – ‘The Men Inside the Suits’ – was presented in a five-minute documentary on YouTube. The online versions of the ad included links to the documentary, effectively making the ad a trailer to the full story. People who watched the ad and clicked through to the documentary actively sought more and were rewarded with more – in terms of both the extra information itself that they could propagate socially and a deeper connection with the Sapeurs content (and, by extension, the GUINNESS brand). 13
  14. 14. D&AD:GUINNESSSapeurs # # Outcome 14 “We are proud to celebrate the Sapeurs who, through their attitude and style, demonstrate that no matter the circumstance, you can always choose who you are. The longer form content allowed us to fully tell the story of this truly unique and inspiring group of people.” Nick Britton, Marketing Manager, GUINNESS, Western Europe The GUINNESS Sapeurs branded content campaign proved that, while brands need to tell stories, those stories don’t need to be about the brand in order for them to enhance brand performance. Rather, they need to adhere to a set of ‘good story’ criteria, reflect the values of the brand in order to pay into brand equity, and be presented in ways that maximise their conversational currency. In addition to the results overleaf, there was significant evidence of people talking about the Sapeurs campaign. For example, the Google search term ‘Sapeurs’ spiked hugely at the time, a number of groups parodied the campaign, and the GUINNESS sales team were inundated with calls from pub landlords requesting permission to hold their own Sapeurs’ nights in pubs. Among other awards since its launch, the campaign won a Wood Pencil in the Branded Content & Entertainment category at the D&AD Awards 2015. “The Sapeurs have such an incredible story that we felt that it needed to be told in a longer content format and in their own words.” Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley, Sapeurs campaign creative team, AMV BBDO
  15. 15. Honda The Other Side D&ADCaseStudy
  16. 16. Challenge D&AD:HondaTheOtherSide Across Europe, Honda Civic car sales were in decline. The model’s target audience of fathers saw Honda as reliable but boring, the safe option chosen for rational reasons. What they really wanted was a cool, sporty car. Honda’s agency partner, Wieden+Kennedy, was given the mission to drive reappraisal of the Honda Civic for the launch of the Type-R in 2015. 16
  17. 17. D&AD:HondaTheOtherSide Wieden+Kennedy consulted all the information they had about the Honda brand, the Civic model, and how and why fathers buy cars. They knew from Google research that 93% of people research cars online and 61% watch online films before purchase. They knew that, to drive re-appraisal, they would need to bring out 'the other side' of the Honda Civic – the racing-inspired Civic Type-R. And they wanted people to experience this feeling with some kind of online ‘test drive’. This insight helped Wieden+ Kennedy hit upon the core idea of an interactive, double-sided story in which a father leads a double life. By day, he's a Civic-driving, doting dad. By night, he's a Civic Type-R-driving, undercover cop. The agency created an interactive online film called 'The Other Side'. It starts by showing a man calmly picking up his kids from school in a Honda Civic. But whenever you press ‘R’ on your computer keyboard, it switches to show the crazier, more impulsive side of the man’s life, driving the Honda Civic Type-R in an undercover police sting operation. The two interlinked stories run in perfect parallel, seamlessly transitioning between the underlying films at the viewer’s will. To implement this entertaining web experience, a smooth and accurately synchronised playback with latency-free switching between the two films was required. Dedicated desktop, mobile and tablet versions were optimised to make this possible, working with interactive production partner Stinkdigital. 17
  18. 18. 90,000+ social network shares 90% of traffic driven organically Honda Civic website traffic doubled via post-experience clickthroughs 5000+ leads requesting more information about the Type-R Multiple awards including Graphite Pencil at D&AD Pencil Awards 2015 5 million visits to the campaign website D&AD:HondaTheOtherSide The Other Side branded content campaign was simultaneously launched in 22 regions across Europe, integrated directly in each market's own Honda YouTube channel, yet accessible to all through a single global campaign web address. Following The Other Side experience, viewers were encouraged to share the link on social networks before learning more about the Civic range on Honda's product websites. 18
  19. 19. D&AD:HondaTheOtherSide # # Outcome 19 “This campaign marks a very significant time for our brand. The Civic Type-R is one of six new car launches for Honda in 2015 and provides a powerful halo effect for the marque. Just as our products are renowned for being innovative, our communications style will amplify this. By way of example, we are not aware of anyone else creating interactive user content in the same dramatic way, which should give it a very strong appeal.” Jemma Jones, Department Manager - European Marketing Communications, Honda Motor Europe Ltd The Other Side intrigued participants with its parallel stories and satisfied them with the technique involved in telling the tales. The interactive content that literally put the viewer in the driving seat, very simply and effectively made them feel the two sides of the car. The campaign fulfilled its mission to drive reappraisal of the Honda Civic. Consideration doubled when people pressed ‘R’ and experienced the other side. The average dwell time of 2 minutes 52 seconds was the entire length of the experience. In advertising evaluation research, the film scored 58% for captivation versus the car ad norm of 34%. And brand desire increased by 3% post-campaign. “The beauty of this idea is in the simplicity of the interaction. The simple act of pressing ‘R’ empowers the viewer to drive the film, toggling between the two stories. It’s very satisfying and addictive jumping from the Civic day world to the high-octane night world of the Type-R. It’s like going into race mode and putting your foot down. You get a sense of power and excitement. Through this we hope people will feel Honda’s other side as well as see it.” Scott Dungate, Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy, London
  20. 20. Always #LikeAGirl D&ADCaseStudy
  21. 21. Challenge D&AD:Always#LikeAGirl Procter & Gamble’s Always is the world’s leading feminine care brand. Its commitment to empowering girls through puberty education dates back decades. Yet in 2013, the brand realised that its purpose wasn’t apparent to the latest generation of consumers. Always’ brand communications had remained focused on product performance, while its main competitors had moved on. Always needed a new way to appeal to millennial girls in the face of growing competition from rivals gaining traction via social media. Always briefed its agency partners – Leo Burnett Chicago, London, Toronto, and Holler – to create a new campaign that: 1. leveraged Always’ legacy of supporting girls as they go through puberty; 2. reinforced why Always is relevant to girls; and 3. showed that Always understands the social issues girls today face at puberty. 21
  22. 22. D&AD:Always#LikeAGirl Research conducted for the campaign revealed that more than 50 percent of women claimed they experienced a decline in confidence at puberty. The opportunity was clear to the creative team: there was a powerful, relevant and purposeful role for the campaign to empower girls during this time of their lives when their confidence is low. The team explored different factors that influence girls during the vulnerable time of puberty. During this process, someone taped a piece of paper that read ‘like a girl’ to the board. The explanation behind the idea was that ‘like a girl’ has been around forever and is used in derogatory ways – let’s change the meaning of it. The team was instantly drawn to this concept. The campaign that ensued was built around a social experiment to show the impact that the phrase ‘like a girl’ had on society, especially on girls pre- and post-puberty. The campaign would also aim to redefine confidence in a way that was more relevant to girls today and turn a phrase that had become an insult into an empowering message. The content at the heart of the campaign was a video that captured how people of all ages interpret the phrase ‘like a girl’. This was seen as the best way to spark a conversation by encouraging debate. Directed by documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, the footage revealed that, between puberty and adulthood, many women internalise the phrase ‘like a girl’ to mean weakness and vanity. The experiment also showed how a little encouragement can go a long way to change perceptions of what ‘like a girl’ means. Once the film was shot, the details of how best to spread the message and empower women were finalised. The hashtag #LikeAGirl was introduced as an essential social media element to unite people around the world, enabling them to discuss the need for change and to show others how ‘like a girl’ can mean amazing things. 22
  23. 23. 4th most viewed ad on YouTube in 2014 290 million+ social impressions Strong double-digit increase in brand equity % during campaign Won eight D&AD Pencils, including a Black Pencil in 2015 in the Creativity for Good category 85 million+ global views on YouTube from 150+ countries D&AD:Always#LikeAGirl The #LikeAGirl video was launched on 26 June 2014 at a PR event and on YouTube simultaneously. PR then played a big part in amplifying its effect, getting the video out to the media and influencers. The #LikeAGirl hashtag captured the essence of the idea and encouraged people to take part in changing the meaning of the phrase, which had a big impact on distribution and engagement. Unsolicited influencers joined the conversation and more than 20 female organisations spread the word. 23
  24. 24. D&AD:Always#LikeAGirl # # Outcome 24 “I was really proud to be part of this Always social experiment. The most moving part of the experiment for all of us watching and engaging with the participants was how many women [showed us negative connotations of what ‘like a girl’ meant to them] then went ‘Wait a minute, why did I just do that?’ I think confidence means being able to find your own power that gives you some stability and allows you to follow your own path in a way where you can express yourself.” Lauren Greenfield, filmmaker, director of #LikeAGirl film Always #LikeAGirl generated considerable awareness around the world and changed the way people think about the phrase ‘like a girl’. Prior to watching the film, just 19% of 16- to 24-year- olds had a positive association toward the phrase ‘like a girl’. After watching, 76% said they no longer saw the phrase negatively. In addition, two out of three men who watched it said they’d now think twice before using ‘like a girl’ as an insult. Since the #LikeAGirl launch, other videos have been made to expand and develop the campaign. They include a 60-second spot during the 2015 Super Bowl and, to mark International Women’s Day, the follow-up video ‘Unstoppable’ showing how the meaning of the phrase ‘like a girl’ is already changing. The initial social experiment has snowballed into an Always-backed global movement that includes confidence summits and education partnerships to help empower girls. “#LikeAGirl is proof of the power of creativity. People connect with and buy from brands that share similar points of view or values they have. These brands have big ambitions and they make an emotional connection with their consumers. That’s why purpose-driven brands are succeeding.” Judy John, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett Canada
  25. 25. D&AD:Brandedcontenthascomeofage Branded content has come of age # By Kai-Lu Hsiung, Managing Director, RSA/Black Dog Films; Jury Foreman of the inaugural D&AD Awards Branded Film Content & Entertainment category. It’s got to be good. The object for branded content is to go viral, to draw people to the brand naturally. New media has abolished barriers to content, and people have adjusted to engage with media and advertising on their own terms. So content really needs to stand out if it’s going to get any attention. The ultimate aim is to encourage engagement and sharing by producing quality content for your audience. Take Wes Anderson’s Prada short ‘Castello Cavalcanti’, a film rightly lauded within the director’s catalogue for its unique style, but also a great commercial project. 
  26. 26. D&AD:Brandedcontenthascomeofage Popularity is far more likely to be achieved with creative excellence. We’ve seen this with ‘The Epic Split’ for Volvo Trucks, which collected a rarely bestowed Black Pencil in last year’s D&AD Online Branded Films Category, and also with Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’. (Read more about The Epic Split and Real Beauty Sketches in case studies from BOBCM’s 2014 global book.) Both brands greatly benefitted from the hype. Volvo Trucks’ subscriber base tripled, and Dove found that Real Beauty Sketches was shown in more than 110 countries, garnering over 114 million views. Branded content has, for a while, pushed boundaries in creative advertising. In 2010, the Philips ‘Parallel Lines’ campaign drew acclaim, both critically and commercially, for the scope and quality of the project – 45 treatments, five short films. It was branded content that opened the door to art-led commerce.  To illustrate how far the medium has progressed, ‘Room 8’, from a similar multi-film project by Gravity Road for Bombay Sapphire, was awarded a BAFTA in the British Short Film category in 2014. And if we put shorts aside, 2014's The LEGO Movie was arguably one of the most prolific pieces of branded content to date. The BAFTA recognition and The LEGO Movie alone show that branded content is becoming recognised as the pinnacle of combining creativity and commerce, so I’m really pleased to see it celebrated at this year's D&AD awards. It’s an exciting time for all the creative industries. Brands can now be behind something truly original and inspirational, going far beyond marketing a product. This is surely one of the underlying key arguments that D&AD is founded on, the synergy of great design and therefore successful commerce. The TV ads are rightly still there, but filmmakers now have an additional opportunity to create short, tailor-made films and really flex their creative muscles. There are no boundaries any more. 26
  27. 27. D&AD:2015Jurorinsights D&AD 2015 Juror insights D&AD’s 2015 Branded Film Content & Entertainment category Jurors provide pointers about what they look for in branded content, how they decide what’s good enough to be a D&AD Pencil winner, the challenges they face and what they’d like to see in future work.
  28. 28. D&AD:2015Jurorinsights # Jurorinsight How would you define branded content? Stories commissioned by brands.  What were you looking for from D&AD Pencil-winning branded content? Storytelling of a high enough quality to compete with everything else out there competing for audiences’ attention.  What are the challenges in judging branded content? Separating commercials from stories.  What makes something stand out from the crowd? Authenticity of voice, quality of narrative and strength of direction. What pointers or advice would you give to people creating branded content? Start with the story. It’s everything. Concept, aesthetic and craft will engage audiences up to a point. Get them feeling something, changing their mind about something, inspiring them – only a story can do that.  What was missing from the entries in 2015? Original voices. There were a disproportionate number of factual entries, which, on one hand, was great because we had real choice and the best rose to the top. The down side though is that those stories tell themselves to a degree – in as much as you’re documenting real people’s points of view and opinions then shaping them into a narrative. John Grierson, the man who coined the term ‘documentary’, called it “a creative treatment of actuality”. In the early years of documentary making, the editor had equal billing with the director in recognition of their contribution in shaping the story. It would be great to see more auteur-led pieces. The Miu Miu ‘Women’s Tales’ films were really original and a standout for that reason. More of that please.    28 Al MacCuish, Co-Founder & CCO, Sunshine
  29. 29. D&AD:2015Jurorinsights # Jurorinsight How would you define branded content? The category we were judging was branded content and entertainment. I think branded content needs to have a purpose, or perhaps rather a viewer benefit beyond a straightforward advertising message. That's what differentiates it from traditional advertising films. For it to be good creative and effective work, it needs to have an authentic and transparent role for a brand.  What were you looking for from Pencil-winning branded content? Originality of ideas and execution, as well as a relentless pursuit of excellence in craft. I think a good measure is, would I watch or share this regardless of the brand? What are the challenges in judging branded content? The challenge in judging the work is that great content isn't all the same – it can be different mediums and different methods. So each work needs to be judged on its own merits first and foremost.  What makes something stand out from the crowd? Taking creative risks.  What pointers or advice would you give to people creating branded content? Focus and respect your audience. And I don't mean ask them what they want or like through research; I mean surprise them with original ideas and reward them.  What was missing from the entries in 2015? I think that some of the best branded content and entertainment exists beyond traditional networks, agencies and production companies. I'm not sure how to encourage more non- traditional content creators to enter.  29 Matt Noonan, Executive Producer & Managing Director, Curious Film
  30. 30. D&AD:2015Jurorinsights # Jurorinsight How would you define branded content? Branded content is anything made by a brand that entertains, inspires or informs. It’s the bits and bytes a brand publishes for any screen or stage – from feature-length theatrical movies to 140-character social media posts. Branded content is the stories and experiences developed and produced by brands, to make an emotional connection with a consumer, transforming them into a follower or fan. What were you looking for from Pencil-winning branded content? We used the word ‘iconic’ to set the bar. To be the best, it had to be iconic and that meant being work we’d be discussing in 10 years time, or content people outside the industry would know and love. Think BMW Films, Red Bull ‘Stratos’, or The LEGO Movie. It had to be content that could cross over to mainstream audiences, as real content not case studies. The content also had to have great craftsmanship. For me, story and character is most important. I’ll forgive lesser production values or limited distribution, since they are often dictated by budgets which not every project has. But to create a memorable character within a story we want to share is the reason we should all aspire to make branded content. What are the challenges in judging branded content? What’s great about award show juries is the varied backgrounds of the jurors, while all having a unique expertise to share within the room. But that is also the challenge with judging branded content and entertainment. Everyone has a different point of view and agenda as to what they are looking for. Is it about the brand idea? The brand’s impact on pop culture? An innovative business model? Or work that is on par with Hollywood producers? Of course, it needs to work for a brand objective. Another challenge is work being evaluated as case studies and not the content seen by actual viewers. Sometimes it feels like a case study film festival. What makes something stand out from the crowd? The standout work is no different than anything else that stands out in pop culture – it creates an emotional connection that makes the viewer 30 Mike Wiese, Head of Content & Entertainment, JWT
  31. 31. D&AD:2015Jurorinsights want to share it. We share what we love - it could be a film, or a song, or even a great meal. Great content, regardless if selling soap or cola, will transform the viewer or end-user into a fan and provide a valuable experience we need to tell people about. No different than Disney or any other movie studio selling us a Friday night at the movie theatre. What pointers or advice would you give to people creating branded content? It all starts with making something people want to spend time with, and making it as entertaining or useful as possible. I’d focus less on the campaign brief and develop a content brief. Think less like a marketer and more like a studio, network, or promoter. How and why will people watch? Also, too many brands avoid real tension in their storytelling. Find something that will make the client a little uncomfortable. That is likely what will make the content great, and something the audience wants to see. What was missing from the entries in 2015? Advertising is a business of trends, and that can manifest into clichés with content. We saw too many copies of social experiments, like Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ or Always ‘Like A Girl’, to the point it could be its own category. Too many so-called documentaries that are really manifesto films with a voiceover. I’d like to see more scripted series, and more use of multi-platform storytelling, using platforms like Snapchat and Instagram video with traditional channels. The more narrative structure, less brand exposition the better. 31
  32. 32. D&AD:Inspiredbyfilm:award-winningcreativity Inspired by film: award-winning creativity # By Luc Benyon, Creative and Content Manager, D&AD Branded content comes in multiple forms. While traditional PR seeks to raise awareness of a brand by creating an interesting story that media report on, branded content aims to cut out that element of chance and reach the consumer directly. Some of the most successful examples of branded content are created in film format.  At the D&AD Awards 2015, we interviewed top creatives Ted Royer, Chief Creative Officer at Droga5, Baptiste Clinet, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather France, and Rogier Schalken, Head of MediaMonks Films (and D&AD Branded Film Juror). We wove their advice on using film in advertising and marketing into this short clip that includes excerpts of their chosen examples of the most creative use of moving image.
  33. 33. D&AD:Brandedcontenthascomeofage One example cited by our experts is Assassin’s Creed Unity. Released in 2014, it played brilliantly into the hands of dedicated fans who love to share. The concept enabled players to create their own avatars of the lead character of the popular game series, which were then incorporated into a high-octane trailer. Across two months, over two million fans visited the Unity website and created over 200,000 custom assassins, picking from over five million possible options. The 1,430 most popular avatars were animated one by one and integrated into the trailer. An interactive version of the trailer enabled online users to halt the action and find their avatar in the thick of it. A few lucky fans even got to see their avatars posted in the streets of their cities and on limited edition box art. As Rogier Schalken, Head of MediaMonks Films and D&AD Juror, said: “[Interactive film] projects always jump out because of the interesting storytelling narrative. The reason I love Assassin's Creed so much was because it incorporated the user, so that the user had to first make their own avatar, and then it’s incorporated into this big CGI film; and then later on they could actually check in the film where their avatar was placed.” It was a leap forward for user-generated content, which had suffered a dip in popularity in recent years. By carefully controlling the variables in the character creation, the campaign managed to ensure that quality wasn’t lost, while individuals retained a sense of ownership. The result: a campaign released on multiple media that brought the super fans into the centre of the action. Another project cited by our branded film experts is The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made. Air New Zealand and filmmaker Curious took the opportunity to turn the one piece of content that all airlines are obliged to create – the safety announcement – into content that not only the captive audience on board but also people all over the world wanted to watch.  The carefully crafted pre-flight safety video combines a brilliant idea with a natural partnership for the brand and pulls it off it with style in all departments. It harnesses the popularity of the Hobbit franchise and its stars, bringing what could be a very boring story to life. That's why, a year after release, it has amassed more than 15 million YouTube views 33
  34. 34. D&AD:Inspiredbyfilm:award-winningcreativity and picked up a D&AD Wood Pencil along the way. You can see how it was made here. One final interesting example of branded content creativity inspired by film is ‘The LEGO Movie’ ad break.  LEGO is essentially a toy company – it traditionally makes money through selling small plastic bricks. Over the past few years, the company has embraced branded entertainment as a way of creating new products and tapping into trends. So we've seen LEGO Star Wars computer games, The Simpsons LEGO toys and now The LEGO Movie. This content-led approach has been so successful that the company is making a huge profit from its brand tie-ins, challenging the primacy of toys as its main revenue generator. To promote the 2014 film, LEGO decided to make traditional ads more entertaining. So it recreated a series of other companies’ commercials using LEGO, then it took over an entire three-and-a-half-minute ad break during a flagship ITV show. This was brilliant for a number of reasons:  1. It demonstrated the versatility of the core product. You could literally see what you could create with plastic bricks. 2. It created a huge PR buzz. Taking over an entire ad break was great, but doing it in LEGO meant the story was sure to get picked up by lots of news sources. Add into that a partnership with relentlessly commercial broadcaster ITV and you know you’re onto a winner. 3. It was brilliant to watch. It hit the branded content jackpot by being genuinely entertaining, funny and well crafted. The objective of the ad break takeover was, of course, to sell tickets to the film, as well as shift more LEGO bricks. By creating a never-before- seen stunt that was highly shareable, LEGO became the talk of the Internet. Did it work? Over six million people saw the ad break, with YouGov describing it as the best they've ever measured. And of course it won a D&AD Wood Pencil. As for the movie, it was the highest-grossing film of 2014 at the UK box office and three sequels are currently being planned. 34
  35. 35. D&AD:Paneldiscussion:isbrandedcontentinspiringfilm? Panel discussion: is branded content inspiring film? # By Tom Linay, Head of Film, Digital Cinema Media (DCM) Consumers are faced with a barrage of communication every day. ‘Media meshing' – the use of two or more media at the same time – continues to grow, with 87% of all adults now multimedia tasking each week – a five percentage point rise in reach since 2013, with a corresponding 8% increase in hours spent doing this. At the same time, content is being created at an unprecedented rate. Consequently, trends are emerging that will help get brands noticed, one of which is a rush towards branded content. At Advertising Week Europe 2015, DCM, in association with D&AD, hosted a branded content workshop with panellists Adrian Pettett, Steve Jamison and Luke Taylor. Our wide-ranging discussion covered definitions, production, distribution and partnerships. 
  36. 36. D&AD:Paneldiscussion:isbrandedcontentinspiringfilm? We all agreed that brands looking to move into the content space need to have an idea that’s pure and original, while also understanding exactly who will watch the content, like it and share it. A key part of the session looked at opportunities available for brands to foster connections with film, such as live streaming into cinemas from big events to create more immersive experiences. Pettett noted that there was a clear opportunity to show branded content in the cinema, aligning it with film releases – there are 600+ films released across the UK alone every year. While content will always be king, brands need to start being braver, bolder and more disruptive with their approach. The key however is to keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate and don’t overplay it. The one trend that will never change is that the customer should always come first. 36
  37. 37. D&AD:Paneldiscussion:isbrandedcontentinspiringfilm? “We consider branded entertainment to be anything that lives outside the 30- or 60- second spot, and the various platforms where that could live. Often we consider branded entertainment – when there is a TV spot – to have a number of different layers around it.  “Squarespace with Jeff Bridges’ ‘Listening Tapes’ was an excellent example of how this works across all the layers. You had the Super Bowl ad, then Jeff Bridges creating his own Squarespace website using their platform, and taking it to ecommerce as well.  “We also had an experience where films themselves are becoming the brand, and we’re creating content outside of the film alone to generate interest and engagement. We did a project called ‘The Gun’, which was created to bridge the 10-year story gap between the two ‘Planet of the Apes’ films. It targeted a very niche audience and generated a lot more interest in the films. It’s now become a property in its own right that could potentially become its own feature film. That’s an interesting way in which film has embraced the notion of branded entertainment.” 37 Luke Taylor, Head of Branded Entertainment & Channels, Pulse Films
  38. 38. D&AD:Paneldiscussion:isbrandedcontentinspiringfilm? “For us, branded content is when an original idea is funded by a brand first and foremost. That could be a piece of film, an event, a story, a piece of art. “When I talk to my clients about branded entertainment, they’re talking about creating a narrative or a dialogue with their customers, in whatever the most appropriate channel might be. For me, it’s about a brand genuinely creating something that is interesting, useful, or entertains.  “The key to success in this space is understanding who might watch it, share it and engage with it. And why. “The best examples are the ones that work on more than one platform. A brilliant example is BBC’s ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’, a brilliant idea, which was a ‘live’ documentary about these animals as if they were still alive today. Then they created a live experience and tour it around.  “It’s a big investment, but it lives beyond the medium where it was originally produced. For brands that’s incredibly powerful; you can get into multiple touchpoints and start developing a relationship with something beyond just watching it once.” 38 Adrian Pettett, CEO, Cake Group and Havas Sports & Entertainment
  39. 39. D&AD:Paneldiscussion:isbrandedcontentinspiringfilm? “We’re saturated now – we can have whatever content, wherever, however. It’s easier to create, it’s easier to consume. For us, as filmmakers, it’s about how you break through that noise. It’s exactly the same on the feature film side as on the branded content side.  “For about five years, we produced branded content for Nike and adidas. Then we made a documentary feature film called ‘Next Goal Wins’. Having a great relationship with those brands, we were considering taking it to them. But it would have poisoned the authenticity of what that film was if it had a brand associated with it. “We essentially paid for it ourselves, because of the support our branded content area provides. We have resources and infrastructure in place. In that sense, indirectly, branded content is inspiring feature films – because it enabled us to do that.” Steve Jamison, Co-Founder & Director-Producer, Archer’s Mark 39
  40. 40. D&AD:Whatmakesgreatbrandedentertainmentcontent? What makes great branded entertainment content? # By Kerstin Emhoff, Co-Founder & President, Executive Producer, PRETTYBIRD; Jury Foreman of the 2016 D&AD Awards Branded Film Content & Entertainment category It’s hard to comment on the state of branded content and entertainment as it’s evolving so quickly that the state is more fluid than solid. As a category, branded content and entertainment is a relatively new one – there’s no long history of awarded work to use as a benchmark. The positive side of this is that we’re able to continually push the definition of the category into new areas, while the negative is that there isn’t a lot of outstanding work to look to for precedents of greatness. When you look across the award show landscape, you may have noticed that very few top awards have been given out in these categories. Rather, the judges have decided not to honour anything. So, as an industry, that’s the challenge we have to rise to – we have to produce inspired work that creates our collective history of branded entertainment worthy of winning any award, especially one shaped like a pencil. 
  41. 41. D&AD:Whatmakesgreatbrandedentertainmentcontent? What is and what isn’t branded entertainment content? First and foremost it must be entertaining. Not just ‘haha’ funny entertaining, but something you would actually choose to watch – and then watch again. EXIT-Deutschland created a campaign called ‘Nazis Against Nazis – Germany’s Most Involuntary Charity Walk’. On paper, I think it would be hard to understand the power of this as entertainment. But it is smart, powerful and very engaging – a perfect embodiment of the definition. Second, it must be aligned to the brand’s marketing message. If I produce a heartwarming video of my dogs’ morning stretch routine and Gucci puts their logo at the end, that’s brand-sponsored content. It will be entertaining (I promise), but have nothing to do with Gucci’s marketing message. I’ve seen several well-produced short film campaigns that didn’t win awards because the brand’s connection wasn’t felt in the film. Ogilvy Germany created one of the most brilliant campaigns I’ve seen to date: Rabbit Race for Media Markt. It’s an extraordinary example of weaving the brand through the entire experience and doing every extension of it very well. This campaign sets the bar higher in my opinion. In terms of what makes branded entertainment content great, I think we’re falling into some traps in this space where the number of online hits is seen by some as the deciding metric. Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ video has over 85 million hits on YouTube – does that make the song or the video great? No and no.  Really great work can (and should) be shared and can also have huge success. The LEGO Movie is a perfect example. But don’t think that just because a project hasn’t grossed almost US$500 million, it can’t be great. It can. 41
  42. 42. D&AD:Whatmakesgreatbrandedentertainmentcontent? Entertainment is subjective, as we know. Virtual Reality porn might be really entertaining to some, while others would disagree. Speaking of which, a great example of outstanding branded content is Testicular Cancer Awareness sticking a prostate cancer PSA in the middle of a ‘Game of Thrones’ pornady called 'Game of Balls'. There were quite a few men who were not only surprised, but also pleasantly entertained by this quick demo on how to check yourself. The most exciting thing to me in this category is that we’re seeing work come from all over the place. Agencies, brands, filmmakers, technologists are finding each other in both traditional and non-traditional ways. I believe that this openness to creative partnerships will be the strongest force in the evolution of this category and lead to the best work. Hey Gucci, don’t you think you need to make some dog beds and blankets!?! 42
  43. 43. AboutBOBCM2015 About BOBCM curates, co-creates, speaks about and publishes the latest thinking and outstanding content from brands, practitioners and academics around the world who use, create, distribute, or measure branded content. You can access other titles in this international BOBCM series through our website Join the international BOBCM LinkedIn Group Copyright 2015 BOBCM All rights reserved. All trademarks and registered trademarks acknowledged. Individual images and data are the property of their respective copyright owners. The publishers are not responsible for the content of third-party websites': Front cover image from Mars PEDIGREE K9FM campaign. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Please contact in the first instance to request such permission.
  44. 44. AboutBOBCM2015 This book was produced by BOBCM in a joint venture with D&AD. Since 1962, D&AD has been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating and stimulating the finest in design and advertising. A D&AD Award is recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, entered and attended by the best from around the world. But it's much more than just awards. Members join a vibrant global community, whilst creatives and clients are inspired by a world-class training programme. As a non- profit, all of D&AD’s surpluses go straight into programmes, such as New Blood, that inspire the next generation of creative talent and stimulate the creative industry to work towards a fairer, more sustainable future.   Contact:, Email Justin Kirby is an Internet veteran who has been writing about the impact of interactive technologies on business and marketing since starting digital marketing consultancy DMC in the early 1990s. He chairs and speaks at conferences around the globe. Justin conceived the BOBCM venture and curates all its content, with responsibility for strategic planning, publishing and promotion across all BOBCM properties. Managing editor Greta MacFarlane has been writing books since the age of five. Formerly a copywriter and creative services director at tech-specialist marcoms agency Banner, she is responsible for the planning, production management and editing of the chronicles of BOBCM. Former AKQA founder and creative head Mark Welland has over 20 years of interactive design experience, including the creation of ebooks, apps and web apps for local and global brands and e-learning organisations. Mark is responsible for creative development, design and production at BOBCM. Contact:, Email 44