Ogilvy Global Brand Management (GBM) recently sat down with Doug Scott to discuss OgilvyEntertainment’s work and the importance of brand storytelling. Read the interview below.
1. For those that aren’t familiar with OgilvyEntertainment, could you briefly explain a little about what this practice is all about, its mission and process?
I established OgilvyEntertainment—the branded content & entertainment division of Ogilvy & Mather—back in 2006. OgilvyEntertainment’s mission is to engage, inspire and educate consumers through world class branded entertainment. We build dynamic entertainment-led campaigns for brands with top-notch partners, shepherding big ideas from the first creative spark to full-fledged production, then activating across multiple channels including broadcast, events, and digital. We largely serve as a strategic and executional branded content partner for the global O&M network while engaging a diverse client roster that includes Philips, IBM, DuPont, Hellmann’s, and others.
Our process involves:
- Strategy: we identify the brand’s untold narrative rooted in cultural truth and then use it to create a bespoke entertainment strategy.
- Development: we develop a fully integrated branded content program and unite best-in-class partners.
- Production: we executive produce programs in collaboration with media, production and distribution partners, overseeing pre-production, production and post-production phases to deliver entertainment authentic to the brand.
- Distribution: we tailor the distribution strategy across paid, earned and owned channels to maximize reach and investment.
- Measurement: we activate our customizable tool, Ogilvy BEAM™, to effectively measure program success.
2. What is branded content and why is it important?
Branded content is a brand owned narrative that is unleashed across multiple touch points to yield collaborative equity.
At OgilvyEntertainment—and Ogilvy & Mather at large—we believe that brands can employ the magic of entertainment effectively and profitably by creating content authentic to brand ideals and rooted in the logic that drives the marketing mix. The truth is that interruptive marketing no longer works the way it once did. With the fragmentation of the media landscape and shifts in consumer behavior, branded entertainment cuts through the clutter and captures the attention of core audiences in a way that is inviting and immersive. Modern brands can realize both economic and social benefits by creating original content across owned media channels and leading to earned media.
While we’ve been producing successful branded entertainment programs for seven years, it is certainly an exciting time to be in the business as we guide more and more brands into the territory. The future of the industry is filled with tremendous promise as leading corporations continue to recognize the sustainable value of moving dollars from media buying to content.
3. Is branded entertainment measurable?
Yes. Since measurability is often a barrier for brands to enter the BE space, we created an assessment model that enables us to block and tackle brand ambitions and strategic marketing objectives. I invite you to read the accompanying white paper ‘The Ogilvy Branded Entertainment Assessment Model’ here.
4. What is your position on brand storytelling?
This year, I gave a presentation called “Forces of Change & The Importance of Narrative” that explores how disruptive innovation is driving new forms of content, creativity and engagement. While “storytelling” may be the latest trend, I argue that brand narratives have no limits in today’s transmedia world. The state of play has changed and the goal is to activate deep content experiences driven by the power of enduring narrative. The presentation, launched in October on SlideShare, can be found here.
5. Are there any key trends that you can share with us?
The notion of data as the new creative is critical. Given the explosion of data that is both produced and collected, the winners in this space must utilize meaningful consumer insights to shape relevant, engaging and shareable branded content. In my opinion, the most relevant touch point is mobile, which I consider the ‘first screen’ not the ‘second screen’ because it is deeply personal and always within reach.
As Miles Young touches on in “The Art of Arousal”, data driven content can trigger or arouse behavior and be delivered in cultural context – giving audiences what they want, when and where they want it. Volume (amount of data), velocity (speed of data) and variety (range of data) are all valuable data sets that brands must incorporate into their content creation and distribution approach.
Ultimately, it’s a continuum. Data should inform the creative process, yield culturally relevant content, be delivered to target consumers in context, lead to purchase, and fuel more data used to optimize programs. OgilvyEntertainment and the wider agency are uniquely poised to guide brands to take advantage of this opportunity.
6. Could you give us a few examples of successful collaborations between OgilvyEntertainment and brands?
We have worked with a long list of world-class brands including Hellmann’s and DuPont. Notable projects from the past year include:
An integrated program for Hellmann’s 100th birthday to bring the best ingredients, people and food together. The year-long celebration included an original series featuring Mario Batali, broadcast integration with The Chew, multiple in-store promotions with Wal-Mart, social media across Facebook, and a celebrity-studded birthday party (featured in Adweek here). The program increased Walmart sales by 13% to 16% and consumer engagement hit 590 million PR story impressions and 3 million social interactions.
A landmark collaboration between DuPont and Time Inc’s Fortune magazine for the 2013 Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, China. The program featured a series of custom authored white papers, short films, rich media advertorials, an augmented reality app, and thought leadership at the Forum itself, including DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman’s participation in three panels and election as the new chair of the U.S. China Business Council. This partnership helped communicate DuPont’s strategy in China and led to 900 media pick ups, $4.9 million in earned media following the Forum and nearly 12,000 new inbound business leads. Learn more at dupont.com/futurechina.
A broadcast-led platform for DuPont consisting of two recently launched television series (“The Quest for Zero” and “The Challenge for Zero”) with India’s largest media property, Times Television Network. The popular programs address the challenges that India faces and how science can achieve maximum progress with Shunya or “zero” negative impact.
7. You have described some highly creative yet extremely effective work, we have to ask, where do you get your inspiration and ideas?
I am always tracking the latest news in media, advertising and technology while keeping my finger on the pulse of cultural trends across music, fashion, luxury, travel, fine art, and more. I just soak it all up. Over the course of my 20 years in marketing, I have also established an incredible network of industry power players while continuing to cultivate creative relationships within Ogilvy and WPP. I believe that true collaboration is essential to concepting, crafting and delivering cutting edge programs.
8. What kind of opportunities exist within branded entertainment for brands? How can they leverage this better?
In today’s increasingly interconnected world, branded entertainment creates a deeper connection between consumers and clients – it delivers a compelling narrative at its core. It also empowers people to impart meaning and embrace brands in an authentic way with long tail value. Not only do brands need to evolve the ways in which they interact with their desired audiences, but they must also recognize the value of creating new revenue streams in the process—becoming media owners, producers and publishers.
There’s simply never been a better time to embrace true storytelling using transmedia tools. I invite anyone who is interested in exploring branded entertainment to contact me directly at Doug.Scott@Ogilvy.com. I look forward to opening the gates and welcoming newcomers into the branded entertainment realm.