Category Archives: Uncategorized

Addressing the “Church-State Wall” in Branded Entertainment

As President of a branded entertainment agency, Scott Donaton wrote an article on AdAge where he addressed whether or not branded entertainment has a place in the magazine world.  Based on his discussion, we summarized some points we find very interesting and added a few thoughts.


1. What’s the Church-State Wall?

A wall that “editors” (using print terms to project the editorial integrity of the article) use to protect their editorial integrity. Often times this wall prevents room for innovation and creativity in the branded entertainment arena. While brands are paying dollars to leverage editorial resources, they are also tightly restricted in pushing the envelope and making a great branded entertainment platform reach its maximum potential. 

2. Why do consumers fear branded entertainment?

With branded entertainment, there’s a fear that brands are trying to deceive the “reader.” Some people feel brands use original content to trick consumers. No doubt, the fact that brands can overreach and trespass the boundaries of what’s selling vs. what’s authentic to the “reader,” is a key concern for editors. (Again, using print terms, though we think Scotts reference applies to any media with editorial resources)

3. Making Branded Entertainment Worthy via Cultural Currency

Branded entertainment simply cannot be viewed as original content to trick viewers. There’s an inherent value that a brand can create via original content to engage consumers. It’s well beyond an interruptive 30 second spot. At OE, we tend to use the term cultural currency, a value that original content can create for the brand that hits home with consumers. People are genuinely interested in the messages that integrate into their interests and lifestyles. To Scott’s point, whether it’s branded or unbranded, shouldn’t we be talking about a fair value exchange?


Dexter ads from last year re-imagined magazine covers. (Source Adage)


Please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic…



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TWEED Flashback


This week we unveil the Christmas cheers from Gap that will likely be driving you batty by December 25th and what companies are vying for your Thanksgiving attention.

Something to Rah-Rah-Rah about for Christmas, New York Times, 11.11.09
Brands and Media Look to Grow Audience with Holiday Turkey Talk, AdAge 11.09.09


Great minds think alike, right? TWEED Flashback is helping minds connect by scouring the web once-a-week for any and all relevant entertainment, branded content and industry stories. Get a heads up and stay in the know with TWEED Flashback.


Flip’s Quest in First Major Ad Push Become a Lifestyle Brand, AdAge, 11.09.09
Flip has signed on the likes of Usher, Stevie Wonder, Samuel Jackson, and Tony Hawk in a giant advertising push.

Health Site Sharecare Recruits Dove, Dr. Oz for 2010 Launch, AdAge, 11.10.09
Oprah’s Dr. Oz has signed on to promote Sharecare,

Something to Rah-Rah-Rah about for Christmas, New York Times, 11.11.09
Gap and others are promoting their Christmas lines through musical numbers and accompanying websites, like

Wendy’s Hunts for Bacon Lovers in Social Media, Brandweek, 11.12.09
Wendy’s is promoting its new Applewood Smoke Bacon sandwich through a huge social media campaign centered on Twitter contests based on users performing different tasks, like updating about bacon or knowing how many bacon slices the new sandwich has.

Value of Branded Content Can Be Measured,
MarketingWeek, 11.11.09
The Branded Content Marketing Association has secured support to develop its service to measure the effectiveness of all forms of branded content.

Online Ads are Booming, if They’re Attached to a Video, New York Times, 11.10.09
Many major news sites- including and are adding more video to their sites in order to keep pace with the demands of advertisers.

With $100M Saturation Campaign, Droid Will Be Impossible to Avoid,
AdAge, 11.09.09
The Droid campaign- Verizon’s biggest ever- will be everywhere.

Brands and Media Look to Grow Audience with Holiday Turkey Talk
, AdAge 11.09.09
Food Network, Epicurious, and Butterball go head to head to own Thanksgiving.

Lou Dobbs Leaving CNN, TVNEWSER, 11.11.09
Lou Dobbs surprised many by announcing that he is walking away from CNN.

CNN Cuts Back on a Web Video Project,
New York Times, 11.12.09
CNN has laid off the 4 anchors who served its live video network available only online, putting the kibosh on one of the Internet’s biggest news experiments.

The Who to Perform at SuperBowl,
Reuters, 11.13.09
The Who will perform in the Superbowl’s half-time show.

Lopez Tonight- TV Review, Hollywood Reporter, 11.10.09
TBS premiered its very own late night talk show starring George Lopez.


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Sesame Street: Teaches us more than 1,2,3,4

You may have noticed Google’s ongoing tribute to Sesame Street this week – featuring iconic characters such as Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster and Elmo. Yesterday’s homepage showcased The Count, which really got me thinking about the number of ways that Sesame Street has influenced our lives over the years.



In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell analyzes the ‘Stickiness Factor’ of Sesame Street, explaining how the makers of the show use robust research to tailor programs that are able to hold the short attention span of their target audience. By employing repetitive messaging, writers are able to actually have the kids walk away remembering something. But I think Sesame Street’s significance goes beyond letters and numbers and segment recall.


Its content and characters have often served as a supplement to pop culture and a political meter of the times. Remember when Mr. Hooper died of AIDS, and the scandal behind Bert & Ernie living together? Or when stars like Michael Jordan, Gloria Estefan or even Chris Brown were featured? You know you’ve made it in Hollywood if you end up sitting on the stoop on Sesame Street, chatting it up with Big Bird and Elmo.

One of my most recent favorites was when Feist appeared to perform a re-make of her song “1,2,3,4”—revised to count to the number four with Monsters and Penguins on the show. The producers of Sesame Street understand that kids these days absorb far more media than children thirty (or even ten) years ago. To acknowledge this new attentiveness to media, they are integrating elements of pop culture and technology back into their show to keep viewers engaged.

Just take a look at the show’s website: They understand that kids are online early, and have developed a host of interactive games for children (along with tools for parents). Elmo’s Keyboard-O-Rama keeps children engaged by reacting to the letter or number they press on their computer keyboards. There is even a customizable section for you and your child.



From the beginning, Sesame Street has excelled at creating characters that people develop lasting connections with. I still feel connected to the characters on the show, and still wonder if anyone will ever believe Big Bird that Snaffalupagus exists. But it’s the show’s winning mix of endearing characters and cultural relevancy that makes it uniquely successful.

Whether Sesame Street employs pop culture (as with Feist’s “1,2,3,4”) or pop culture employs Sesame Street (as with this interesting post outlining five blogging techniques that one can learn from the show, there’s no doubt that the show continues to stay current.

From marketing proof for Gladwell’s "Stickiness Factor" to CopyBlogger’s social media lessons, Sesame Street’s reach continues to defy the rules of children’s programming (whilst still creating genuine, lifelong connections).

Happy 40th Anniversary Sesame Street!


Check out Big Bird’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live: 



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Vampires Sell Cars

With the premiere of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” right around the corner, Volvo has created a website,, where consumers can enter to win tickets to the premiere of the movie, meet the cast, and receive their very own Volvo XC60, the exact car that vampire Edward Cullen drives in the movie.          



The new Volvo is featured throughout The Twilight Saga.  It is apart of Edward’s character.  The movie portrays him as an affluent teenager who drives the nicest car in the school parking lot.   He rides in style, and he also happens to ride in a car that can go faster than any other on the road.  Edward Cullen makes the Volvo XC60 look like a million bucks, similar to the effect that James Bond had on the Aston Martin.  It is pretty much a guarantee that every teenage girl who sees the movie will be begging her parents for the same car that dreamy Edward drives.



Not only has Volvo found an actor that is handsome and well-liked to represent their product, but the company has also done a great job of incorporating different social media tools to promote the contest and the car.  To win the XC60, fans have to answer a series of questions, all of which have clues on sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.  Participants are also encouraged to chat with others on these social media sites and exchange hints in order to solve the puzzle.  From, viewers are merely a click away from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, YouTube and many more.


News will spread fast.  Typically, a contest surrounding a male heartthrob would be most appealing to teenage girls, but with the vast array of social media tools used by Volvo, this contest is sure to be reached by consumers of all ages and gender.  With the help of a sexy vampire, the Volvo XC60 is soon to become the new “it” car.




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TWEED Flashback

This week we unveil that Mickey Mouse is about to become one nasty rodent and that China is about to see a whole lot more of him.

Highlights from this week’s edition:
After Mickey’s Makeover, Less Mr. Nice Guy, New York Times, 11.04.09
China Approves Disney Shanghai Park, Hollywood Reporter, 11.03.09

Great minds think alike, right? TWEED Flashback is helping minds connect by scouring the web once-a-week for any and all relevant entertainment, branded content and industry stories. Get a heads up and stay in the know with TWEED Flashback.


Online Videos Sexiest Category: Staid Old Package Goods Players, AdAge, 11.02.09
According to eMarketer, online video advertising grew by 41% in 2009, in no small part because the consumer-package-goods category doubled down on the medium.

IAC’s CollegeHumor May Go to Ben Silverman’s New Venture, AdAge, 11.04.09
Ben Silverman’s new branded-entertainment company Electus may get money- as well as CollegeHumor- from IAC.

ABC’s Online Episode Commentary Draws Advertisers, MediaDailyNews, 11.05.09
ABC will be adding director’s commentary and other extra features to its online episode player starting Saturday. ABC is offering advertisers the chance to add their own commentaries on the shows.

Flying Without Fear, CMD Global, 11.05.09
Virgin Atlantic has created an iPhone app to soothe customers with a fear of flying. The app begins with an intro from Richard Branson and offers 10 minutes of relaxation exercises, a Q & A with Virgin’s General Manager of Flight operations, and an explanation video dealing with topics like turbulence.

YouTube Expects Boom in Branded Entertainment, NewTeeVee, 11.01.09
YouTube’s director of strategic partnerships says that the website will have a lot of branded projects “in the coming quarters and months.”

After Mickey’s Makeover, Less Mr. Nice Guy, New York Times, 11.04.09
Concerned that Mickey has become nothing more than a corporate symbol, the Walt Disney Company is injecting the world’s most famous rodent with a bit of ‘tude.

For a Men’s Body Lotion, a Rugged Messenger, New York Times, 11.03.09
Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan stars in Unilever’s new spot for Vaseline Men body and face lotion.

New Pepsi “Dewocracy” Push Threatens to Crowd Out Shops, AdAge, 11.02.09
In a wisdom-of-the-crowds move, Pepsi Co. is allowing consumers to choose who should win its $100 million business for 3 new Mtn Dew line extensions.

Kodak and YouTube Want Families to Share Their True Colors
, Reuters, 11.02.09
Kodak is asking families to send in their best family portraits in a new YouTube contest called “True Colors: Video Portrait Challenge.”

ESPN Develops Toshiba’s New Campaign, AdAge, 11.02.09
ESPN worked with Toshiba to create advertising that illustrated specifically how ESPN fans could use its products.

National Newspapers’ New Focus: Local Markets,
AdAge, 11.04.09
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post are among those national news outlets increasingly focusing on local news and local advertisers.

Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin to host Oscars, Hollywood Reporter, 11.03.09
The duo will host this March’s 82nd Oscar awards.

Time Inc. Offers Buyouts Ahead of Hundreds of Layoffs, AdAge, 11.04.09
Time Inc. is expected to trim even more staff positions.

Will Ferrell Jumps to YouTube for ‘No Financial Gain’, AdAge, 11.05.09
Funnyordie- founded 3 years ago by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay- has launched a YouTube station.

Scripps Buys Major Stake in Travel Channel,
New York Times, 11.05.09
In a nearly billion-dollar deal, Scripps bought a majority stake in the Travel Channel this week.

China Approves Disney Shanghai Park, Hollywood Reporter, 11.03.09
After years of waiting, the Walt Disney Corporation finally got permission from the Chinese government to build a new theme park in Shanghai.   

Question for Oprah: Broadcast or Cable?
, New York Times, 11.06.09
Oprah is facing a big decision: should she continue with her daily talk show on broadcast television or move it to her forthcoming cable channel OWN?





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