A collection of essays from jurors on the 2017 Lions Entertainment award. Drawing on years of experience and expertise, working for brands such as Mini, Coca-Cola, Lego, Google, Skype and Intel and for media and advertising giants such as Bartle Bogle Hegarty and MediaCom, the contributors provide a fun and far-reaching study of the evolution of branding and the future of advertising.
Live television viewing is decreasing as audiences choose to stream television shows and films via catch-up, YouTube, Netflix, iTunes and other digital platforms. With that shift, intrusive commercial advertising breaks are quickly losing their power as the leading way in which brands communicate with viewers.
For the past five years the Cannes Lions international Festival of Creativity has been grappling with how the entertainment and marketing worlds can collaborate in fresh and innovative ways, rather than unsophisticated product placement. In 2017 twenty specialist jurors considered a wide range of ideas submitted in the relatively uncharted category of branded entertainment, regarded by many as the future of advertising. For days they deliberated on what made an entry more or less successful. This book conveys their comprehensively debated conclusions in a series of stimulating essays authored by each juror.
Contributors to The Art of Branded Entertainment: Monica Chun, President of PMK.BNC; Jules Daly, president of RSA Films; Ricardo Dias, CMO of Anheuser-Busch InBev's Grupo Modelo in Mexico; Samantha Glynne, Global Vice President of Branded Entertainment at TV production giant FremantleMedia; Carol Goll, ICM Partners Global Head of Branded Entertainment; Gabor Harrach, the New York-based film and TV producer and former Head of Entertainment Content at Red Bull Media House; Marissa Nance, Managing Director for Multicultural Content Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at Media Superpower OMD; Toan Nguyen, partner at Jung von Matt/SPORTS; Luciana Olivares, CCO of Latina Media in Peru; Marcelo Páscoa, Head of Global Brand Marketing at Burger King; PJ Pereira, Founder and Creative Chairman of Pereira O'Dell; Misha Sher, Vice-President at MediaCom Worldwide; Pelle Sjoenell, Bartle Bogle Hegarty's Global Chief Creative Officer; Tomoya Suzuki, CEO of Stories International; Jason Xenopoulos, Chief Vision Officer and Chief Creative Officer of VML.
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About the Author
Jules Daly is President of RSA Films and producer/executive producer of numerous movies and TV series, including The Grey, Daybreak, The A-Team and Shanghai Noon.
Ricardo Dias is currently Vice-President Marketing for Middle Americas, at Anheuser-Busch InBev, having previously served as Global Vice-President, Consumer Connections, in New York. Ricardo has been named a "Media Maven" by Advertising Age, a "Branding Power Player" by Billboard and has been inducted into the AAF Hall of Achievement, the industry’s premier award for outstanding advertising leaders.
Samantha Glynne is Global Vice-President of Branded Entertainment at the TV production giant FremantleMedia. She is based in London but drives branded entertainment activities for FremantleMedia around the world, working with regional commercial and digital teams to deliver brand strategy. She also leads key relationships with brands and agencies to maximize advertiser engagement on TV and digital platforms. Prior to this role she was Managing Partner at Publicis Entertainment in London and Paris and worked as Head of Branded Content at All3Media.
Carol Goll is a partner and Head of Global Branded Entertainment at ICM Partners. Since joining ICM in 2008, Goll has built one of the most coveted brand and talent endorsement divisions in the entertainment industry, structuring lucrative deals and building brands for A-list talent in film, TV, sports and music. Known for her creative and entrepreneurial edge, Ms Goll also founded ICM Partners’ corporate-representation business, which provides strategic-entertainment-marketing counsel and development of cutting-edge campaigns for high-end luxury, automotive and fashion brands, leveraging all areas of the business to deliver the highest impact of success. Ms Goll has been recognized by Advertising Age, Billboard and Adweek as a top entertainment marketer for brands and by Variety as one of the top women in the industry making an impact. Prior to ICM she was an executive at Mercedes-Benz USA for close to fourteen years, leading the company into its first global forays outside of traditional automotive marketing/communications. She repositioned the brand as a competitor in the luxury goods and entertainment industries while delivering profitable return on investment. Ms Goll negotiated the brand’s top alliances, including the global initiative Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which Adweek deemed "a brand buzz surefire marketing decision." Ms Goll has a BA in Journalism and an MA in Marketing Communications from Michigan State University.
Gabor Harrach is a New York-based TV and digital media producer, documentary film-maker and former head of the Entertainment, Editorial and Culture Departments at Red Bull Media House. He currently consults with global brands in content marketing. Trained at the Yale School of Drama as a theatrical producer and at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York as a TV producer, Gabor’s path to content marketing went from the theatre through investigative television journalism and documentary film-making to overseeing the development and production of entire portfolios of brand-produced content.
Marissa Nance is a managing director at OMD. She has been with Omnicom for over two decades and with OMD since its inception. There she has honed her skill-set of developing, negotiating and executing entertainment-based media strategies across any medium. Her expertise includes original content development and production, storyline and product integrations, promotional extensions and custom 360 media platforms.
Toan Nguyen started as an intern at Jung von Matt and became the youngest strategy director in the company’s history. He is now named equity partner at Jung von Matt/SPORTS, Germany’s most awarded sports marketing agency. He advises national and international federations, football clubs, sports brands and blue-chip companies and a few top athletes. Toan manages several eSports teams, including the German Mousesports clan, and he is also the lead strategist for many eSports sponsorships such as Mercedes-Benz, Pringles and Vodafone.
Luciana Olivares is CCO of Latina Media, one of the most important TV networks in Peru, having previously led the marketing strategy for BBVA, one of the most respected and loved brands in Peru, achieving important business goals and winning many prestigious national and international awards. She achieved two Cannes Lions in 2015 with The Concert No One Was Waiting For in the Branded Content and PR categories, and another Cannes Lion in 2016 with The Mute Performance. She has written three best-selling marketing books and is one of the top one hundred executives in Peru.
Marcelo Pascoa is the Global Head of Brand Marketing for Burger King. He started his career as a copywriter, working for agencies such as Grey and DDB. For five years he worked as a creative director at New Content, where he led the creation and production of branded content projects for Unilever Brazil. In 2014 he moved to the client side as the Creative Excellence Director for Coca-Cola Brazil. He later moved to Atlanta, Georgia, USA, to become Coca-Cola’s Global Creative Director. Both as a creative and as a client, his work has always focused on bringing advertising and entertainment together, in projects that have been recognized by several international awards, such as Cannes Lions, the Clios and the Effie Awards.
PJ Pereira is co-founder and Creative Chairman of Pereira O’Dell, where he has worked with brands such as MINI, Coca-Cola, LEGO, Google, Skype and Intel among others. In 2017 he had the honour to serve as the president of the jury of the Branded Entertainment Jury at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, thirteen years after chairing the Cyber Lions jury, when, according to the festival, he was the youngest president in the history of Cannes Lions.
Misha Sher is Vice-President, Sport and Entertainment, at Mediacom, one of the world’s largest media agency networks and part of WPP Group. An industry veteran with over fifteen years’ experience, Misha has advised and worked alongside some of the most admired global brands, events, properties and talent in creating innovative partnerships that truly harness the power of sport and entertainment. Misha has been on juries for numerous national and international award shows, and his opinions have featured in some of the leading global publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, CNN, CMO, Adweek, Campaign and SportBusiness International.
Pelle Sjoenell is Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH). He founded BBH in Hollywood in 2010 to harness the creative power at the intersection of advertising, technology and entertainment. He also co-founded the Creative Studio, a joint venture merging the marketing insights of BBH with Scooter Braun Projects, the architects of modern pop culture and influence.
Tomoya Suzuki is founder and CEO of STORIES®, a joint venture between Hakuhodo DY and SEGA. With offices in Tokyo and Los Angeles, it produces film and TV based on Japanese IP, commercials and branded entertainment. STORIES® represents more than forty creators from Hollywood and Japan with backgrounds in filmed entertainment and expertise in branded content. It has produced over two hundred branded content and music videos, including J.W. Marriott’s Two Bellmen and Namie Amuro’s "Anything." Tomoya has created the Subaru branded entertainment campaign Your Story With, with sixty episodes of ninety-second story-based commercials and regular TV dramas based on the spot as well as a hit novel based on the commercials. He’s currently partnered with Marc Platt (La La Land) to develop and produce Shinobi and the producers of The Walking Dead on Altered Beast for film and TV adaptations by Hollywood. He is a graduate of the USC Peter Stark Producing Program. WelcometoSTORIES.com
Jason Xenopoulos is the Global Chief Vision Officer of VML and Chief Creative Officer of VML, EMEA. Jason has written and directed feature films, directed award-winning TV commercials and started and managed successful businesses—including VML South Africa. Under Jason’s leadership, VML South Africa won a host of international awards and was named Entertainment Agency of the Year in the Cannes Lions Global Creativity Report 2017.
Read an Excerpt
DIGITALLY BORN KILLERS (OR WHAT BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT CAN DO FOR BRANDS)
Ricardo Dias, Anheuser-Busch InBev
Gabor Harrach, Consultant, formerly of Red Bull Media House
Call us brand detectives. As we began writing this chapter, something happened in the world (or in the skies above us) that might change the impact of branded entertainment for ever: Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida; its payload Musk's personal red Roadster, an electric sports car built by his other brand, Tesla. Its humble mission, to orbit the sun (and Mars) for hundreds of millions of years. Strapped inside the Roadster is the so-called Starman, a mannequin in a branded SpaceX spacesuit.
It happened live on YouTube and everywhere else. It was a breathtaking demonstration of technological and marketing power. It was also beautiful (you know it, because you saw it). David Bowie's Life on Mars? played from the space car radio while our blue planet rotated slowly in the background. And it seemed that this song was written for exactly that magical moment. Days later we and countless others still watched the Starman live on YouTube. The images seemed to pick up where Red Bull's space jump left off in 2012. Was this a marketing film that would last millions of years? Was this a test flight or a real space mission? Or was it just a power demonstration by Elon Musk, because he could? It's probably all of the above. And it taught us a forceful lesson: not only is the threshold for marketing stunts now higher than ever (literally) but also the boundary between branded entertainment and the reality of a brand seems to have shifted to an extent that marketing itself becomes the brand. Only a day after the successful space car launch Tesla reported 'its biggest [quarterly] loss ever'. However, Tesla's stock price continues to soar like Elon Musk's rockets. And only a few weeks later the energy-drink maker Red Bull announced a mission to the moon for 2019, featuring Audi lunar quattro rovers. The moon mission will be aired live across multiple devices and in various forms. Not even the sky seems to be the limit any more.
In this chapter we will look at the role branded entertainment plays as part of an increasingly complex and shifting marketing mix. We investigate a mysterious void that turns customers away from traditional advertising and commercials, and we try to identify the culprit behind the void.
Who or what kills advertising as we know it? Please buckle up. It's quite a ride.
Our detective story starts in Cannes. For most of the year, it is a sleepy resort town on the French Riviera with sandy beaches and palatial hotels, but once a year it becomes ground zero for all things (and everyone) advertising – our crime scene.
'We decided we are not here to teach the world, to teach you guys, what we think branded entertainment was,' said jury president PJ Pereira at the 2017 Lions Entertainment award ceremony in Cannes while more than two thousand delegates anxiously focused on him. 'We didn't pick work that matched what we had been pitching to our clients and that we were trying to get sold during the last few years. We were here with a very humble attitude to learn on behalf of all of you and to try to understand not what branded entertainment is but what it is becoming.'
The two authors of this chapter were part of this journey, learning and investigating to get a grasp on the elusive yet fashionable but still evolving term 'branded entertainment'. Along with PJ and our co-jurors, we spent the better part of a week in a dark, windowless jury room deep in the bowels of the massive concrete structure known as the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes – in the middle of June on the French Riviera! The jury rooms are notorious for their freezing air conditioning and even colder food. (Sorry, Cannes Lions, but both rumours are actually true.) At the very least it kept our heads cool and our minds sharp during the sometimes heated debates. When we left the jury room we had found a few hints and clues to the big question. But to fully understand what branded entertainment is becoming we had first to explain its need and answer two fundamental questions:
1. Why do people from all over the world and almost all demographics increasingly ignore content that is being forced upon them (be it by publishers, advertisers or traditional television)?
2. What does branded entertainment ultimately achieve for brands? (Having worked for content-loving brands like Anheuser-Busch and Red Bull, we might have some answers but even more surprises for you.)
At the end of this chapter we offer a few ideas on how to create great branded entertainment. For an in-depth blueprint, please look forward to Part 2 of this book, 'The Art of Branded Entertainment'. Or, to put it in the language of our detective story, it's all about the motive, the means and the opportunity.
Let's start by looking at why so many of us have a motive to avoid advertising.
The way we consume content is closely linked to our lifestyles. We live in an on-demand economy (or shared society). We move around town on demand (Uber, Lyft, Zipcar). We date (Tinder, Bumble, Raya) and listen to music on demand (Spotify, Apple Music). We have the house cleaned on demand (Handy, Hux, Whizz). We eat on demand (Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Caviar). We watch content on demand (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video). There's a convenient app for almost everything. We rate services and value experiences and have less time for anything unwanted, random or coincidental. We're accustomed to paying for exactly what we want and when we want it and increasingly refuse to pay for anything (including TV channels) we don't need. We increasingly cut the cord from cable TV companies and use ad blockers, creating a void and leaving traditional advertising platforms behind. PJ is not the only industry professional who felt the seismic shake-up close to home, as he has described in the foreword to this book. Ricardo, one of the authors of this chapter, also experienced how the distaste for commercials has already engulfed his own family members, especially the younger ones, the ones who are 'digital natives' or, in an even stronger and more fashionable term, 'digitally born'.
What happened to my cartoon?
A few years ago Ricardo and his family went to his home country of Brazil for end-of-year festivities. They chose Trancoso as their destination, a beautiful yet remote beach in the northern part of the country, very close to where the Portuguese first settled a little over 500 years ago. Even though the hippie-turned-chic beach had progressed dramatically over the last two decades, their rental property did not have an internet connection, so his four-year-old's content craving had to be met in the good old local TV broadcast – a first for her.
On their first night, while Ricardo and his wife were having dinner with their friends, their daughter was enjoying her coconut ice cream and watching a Brazilian cartoon on TV in the family room next door. All of a sudden she shouted, 'Daddy!' He immediately ran over, thinking something must have happened, to find her looking at him, pointing at the TV in disgust. She then asked him, 'What happened to my cartoon?' He looked over to the TV and back at her and reluctantly broke the news: 'This is a commercial, sweetie.'
Notable dictionaries describe a void as 'an emptiness caused by the loss of something'.
Let's translate this into marketing lingo. The void is 'the absence of an audience caused by the loss of interest of consumers in advertising'. This results in the audience leaving traditional distribution platforms such as cable TV, a process described as 'cord-cutting'. Others, like Ricardo's daughter, are too young and too 'digitally born' even to remember linear television. They are 'cord nevers'.
Both having worked for major brands in the past ten years, we had no choice other than to develop strategies on how to engage the developing void crisis.
Engaging the void
When thinking of brand communication, marketers have to keep in mind what their consumers – loyal and potential – want from them. It is now clear that people no longer want to be interrupted. They don't want to have products pushed at them while their time is being taken away. However, one thing has not changed over time: they do like being entertained.
Our logical conclusion: branded entertainment needs to fill the void. As with so many other recipes for success, this sounds much easier to do than actually getting it done.
With an abundance of entertainment options nowadays, consumers are still on the hunt for a product that resolves a specific need. Because people still like to hear from brands, there is opportunity in making their time valuable. However, consumer habits are changing faster than ever, leading to elusive audiences.
Let's try to paint a more detailed picture of this mysterious void. Since almost all marketers are now storytellers, we keep approaching it like a detective story. Changing lifestyles have created a motive for the void. But it is technology that provides the means and opportunity for the consumer to kill traditional advertising by avoidance.
Avoidance by technology
An entry from our detective's notebook: easy-to-obtain technology has enabled media avoidance owing to many factors, and some of the following are culprits:
Shift to mobile across global markets
Ad-free media platforms (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Spotify)
The DVR (digital video recorder) effect
The void in numbers
We didn't come to Cannes to judge creative work by the numbers. We watched the work as it is and then put its impact in context.
You didn't buy this book to get filibustered by statistics. You're looking for insights and clarity.
But this is a detective story. And we need to put two and two together. So let us measure how technology helped the consumer avoid advertising and extend the void.
The consumer-research platform eMarketer surveyed the growth of the void and cord-cutting. In 2017, before the year was even over, 22.2 million adults in the USA had already cut the cord on cable, satellite or telco TV services (that's up a frightening 33% from 16.7 million in 2016): 94% of consumers skip TV ads completely, and 236 million desktop browsers and 380 million mobile browsers were using ad-blocking software by the end of 2016 (up 38% from a year prior).
If this testimony wasn't alarming enough for advertisers and publishers, let us take a look at the collateral damage that media fragmentation is bringing about to the traditional advertising model. Currently, there is an abundance of choices in entertainment and media, with weekly emergences of new distributors and content creators.
There used to be half-a-dozen major studios competing in Hollywood. Now several dozen streaming services and production entities have disrupted and fragmented the film business. The same fragmentation happened in the TV and music industry. Where a handful of serious competitors once dominated the market, a multitude of new competitors are now fighting over audience and revenue.
We wonder, is the newly emerged, easy-to-obtain technology the elusive, digitally born killer of the old advertising model, or does it merely play the part of an enabler for the real killer?
Throughout the industry there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of content consumed as well as produced, with non-ad-supported platforms increasingly winning over more viewers. Reportedly, the video-streaming service Netflix will invest $8 billion in creating original content in 2018 and add to the total of more than 500 scripted shows already developed and produced in 2017.
Of the many millions who are watching the content (and this development) there is one group with a particularly keen interest in the fragmentation: the brands.
Brands don't want to fall victim to the overstimulated communities and have their messages lost in the void – too much is at stake.
Many brands believe that to remain relevant the move from an interruptive advertiser to one that attracts an audience is inevitable. There are quite a few examples of brands that became successful entertainers. The list starts to shine a light on what branded entertainment can do for brands.
Over the past twenty years LEGO has transformed itself from a traditional toymaker into a media powerhouse. Its beloved toy characters rival Disney's on the small, large and digital screens.
At the beginning of the century the German car-maker BMW stunned the advertising world with a series of action-packed short films by notable directors such as Guy Ritchie, Tony Scott, John Frankenheimer, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai and Neill Blomkamp, which put high-performing BMW automobiles at the centre of the action. Fifteen years later the film series made a comeback starring Clive Owen.
Marriott International produces content for next-gen travellers, most of which is produced in-house. Not only do they produce social media content for about nineteen global hotel brands and a personalized online travel magazine (Marriott Traveler) but they also make TV shows (The Navigator Live), short movies (Two Bellmen, French Kiss), web series on YouTube and Instagram and a virtual reality (VR) experience in partnership with Facebook's Oculus Rift. One of Marriott's movies apparently resulted in $500,000 in hotel bookings in the first sixty days alone, the Marriott Traveler drove 7,200 room bookings in ninety days and the brand's interactive website is leveraging a built-in audience of 40 million visitors monthly.
Red Bull is not only known for its state-of-the-art movies, documentaries and digital content (the brand's YouTube channel currently has almost 7 million subscribers, more than 7,000 videos and more than 2 billion views), the energy-drink maker's media arm is also a successful publisher (The Red Bulletin) and has built its own digital content platform (Red Bull TV).
Digitally born (ad) killers
The further we investigate, the more likely it becomes that young digital natives' viewing habits and disruptive commercials aren't the only culprits to be blamed for the void and demise of traditional broadcast and cable TV. In the spirit of our detective story, let us look for other suspects.
The search starts with Gabor's first career in broadcast TV. Having worked as a television producer for more than ten years, he barely watches TV any more, with the exception of live sports. But it's not the commercials that annoy him – they can actually be quite fun. And as a Gen Xer, he's not digitally born – although, as kids, he and his friends had to create their own computer games because none was available or affordable. The main reason traditional TV has become disruptive and looks and sounds so dated to him is the fact that almost the entire content of today's TV is formatted so that it fits exactly into the spaces between commercial breaks – be it TV dramas, comedies, entertainment and reality shows, even made-for-television documentaries and news magazine shows. Everything is packaged like a kids' meal in a fast-food restaurant. Every act structure is basically the same and revolves around standardized commercial breaks. And if this isn't enough, there are endless recaps about what happened last time (or just before the commercial break) as well as countless, obnoxiously repetitive teasers to promote what else we must watch on this TV network. As a final assault, this already indigestible mix is frequently interrupted by local news breaks and severe weather warnings. It's the combination of these that is disruptive and makes the so-called linear TV experience more and more unbearable, especially in comparison to the smooth delivery of on-demand streaming platforms.
Nobody wants to be a suspect. Many stakeholders in the TV and production community, including some of Gabor's former colleagues and friends in broadcasting, may now cry out loudly in protest. They may point out their creative achievements in contemporary format development and successes in modernizing the TV experience for the twenty-first century. But the audience increasingly doesn't think so. And digital natives are disconnecting from linear TV altogether.
In our notebook the evidence and numbers keep adding up. Between 2012 and 2017 TV viewing by Americans aged between eighteen and twenty-four dropped by almost ten hours a week, or by roughly one hour and twenty-five minutes per day. Instead, during the first quarter of 2017 the same demographic spent an average of 2,226 minutes consuming online videos via PC and 414 minutes watching mobile videos per month.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Art of Branded Entertainment"
Copyright © 2018 Monica Chun, Jules Daly, Ricardo Dias, Samantha Glynne, Carol Goll, Gabor Harrach, Marissa Nance, Toan Nguyen, Luciana Olivares, Marcelo Pascoa, PJ Pereira, Misha Sher, Pelle Sjoenell, Tomoya Suzuki, Jason Xenopoulos.
Excerpted by permission of Peter Owen Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword PJ Pereira,
PART 1: THE NEED,
Digitally Born Killers (or What Branded Entertainment Can Do for Brands) Ricardo Dias and Gabor Harrach,
The Battle of Time and the Fallacy of the Short Attention Span Marcelo Pascoa,
The News It Creates Monica Chun,
PART 2: THE ART OF BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT,
From Product Placement to Idea Placement Pelle Sjoenell and Jason Xenopoulos,
Back to Basics: Principles of Storytelling Applied to Branded Entertainment Tomoya Suzuki,
Amping the Tension Pelle Sjoenell,
Everyone Wants a Documentary (or Don't Be Afraid to Live Your Truth) Gabor Harrach,
Feeding Our Anger Luciana Olivares,
PART 3: OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD,
Where's the Excellence in Sports? Misha Sher,
The Future of Entertainment: Hollywood, Sports and Gaming, Gaming, Gaming! Toan Nguyen,
Art, Meet Science Marissa Nance,
PART 4: THE BUSINESS,
The Hollywood Way Jules Daly,
What's in It for the Stars? Carol Goll,
Ideas That Scale: How to Create a Global TV Format Samantha Glynne,
Advertising Ninjutsu and the Secret Art of Operating in the Shadows Jason Xenopoulos,
Think Like a Marketer, Behave Like an Entertainer, Move Like a Tech Start-up: A Behind-the-Scenes Look,
at Three Cannes Grands Prix PJ Pereira,
About the Authors,
Index of Works Cited,