Coming from a PR background, I thought I knew what branded content was. But then I was introduced to OgilvyEntertainment. My first thought: “I love entertainment!” My second thought: “Um, what exactly do they do?”
As a member of Ogilvy’s Associates Program, I am awarded the privilege of rotating through four different areas of the agency during my first year here. After just scratching the surface on information about OgilvyEntertainment, I knew I had to satisfy my craving to work with OE while developing an understanding of what this group really does. A sought-after spot among Associates, I was lucky to be placed in the team for my first rotation. After about a month of being a member of the hard-working, hard-playing OE group, here are some insights I’ve gained about branded entertainment.
Something old, something new… Branded entertainment is not a new phenomenon. It has been displayed in different forms of advertising. However, traditional advertisements often lack the innovation, expression and the actual entertainment element to be classified as such. While strategic brand inserts into larger entertainment channels have been around for decades, branded entertainment is revolutionizing advertising as we know it…which leads me to my next insight.
It’s MUCH more than product placement. We’ve all seen that box of cereal held at just the right angle or positioned perfectly on the counter in our favorite TV shows, effectively showcasing the brand’s pristine logo. Is that part of branded entertainment? Yes, a small part, but branded entertainment includes so much more. It is content that is interesting, captivating and draws people in to engage with the brand message, rather than bombarding them with sales pitches, while creating positive imprints with the brand involved. (Doesn’t sound like your typical ad, right?) Hence, the name “branded entertainment.” Or, to make a long story short, product placement entails putting brands into already existing content, while branded entertainment is often original content, focusing on the brand’s key ideals.
Storytelling is key. Every brainstorm I’ve participated in, every deck, pitch, and presentation I’ve been a part of, every project I’ve worked on during my time at OgilvyEntertainment has had one fundamental common purpose: to discover and tell a story. This does not mean compiling a chronological series of events beginning with “once upon a time.” Rather, branded entertainment seeks to create content that will entertain people while highlighting a brand’s values through strategic storytelling.
Creativity pervades. One thing is ever-presently clear working in this group: creative ideas are the launching pad for all projects! This helps keep branded entertainment fresh and innovative – far from the traditional, formulaic ads of yesterday. It’s the reason for the evolution of branded entertainment and the solution for annoying, repetitive, interruptive ads.
The avenues are many. What OgilvyEntertainment is doing for its clients involves a myriad of elements ranging from brand storytelling to special event sequences, yet always showcasing an unexpected and unrecognized side of the brand. Branded content has taken shape as documentaries, short films, web series, and even music videos. Want an example? Check out one of the short documentaries that OgilvyEntertainment has created for DuPont. It can be found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VyxctmL9RI). (See more here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKSptTPRZQg)
Essentially, branded content should focus on the message and its significance to the consumer. Storytelling is the future; branded entertainment is the vehicle.