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BCMA: With Branded Content There is Room to 'Play'

December 1, 2017

Why do you love Branded content?

As far as advertising mediums go…it’s the one that kicks ASS!

Branded content allows you to create a better storyline, a richer experience, and as a result – play. This is where things get really interesting.

Think about the original BMW Films series. Then think about a regular car commercial. Which one has YOU more excited?

What do you love of about Branded content?

What I love is the fuller collaboration between creatives and production. In advertising, much of the time, the client wants shot by shot execution. And nothing more.

With branded content, there is room to play, to create something memorable, interesting, dynamic -- that’s where the magic lies!

But we’re not yet maximizing this medium. Branded content is still in its infancy. The models for production are old and cumbersome. We live in a disruptive world, and the production model has yet to be. (I talk more about it here: https://www.adforum.com/interviews/lawrence-ribeiro-international-man-of-action)

Most importantly, filmmakers and advertising creatives have to work together. Otherwise the best concepts will fall short.

What piece of advice?

TAKE RISK! Real creative risk.

Agencies and production companies have all the tools to make something extraordinary. But that doesn’t stop people from complaining about not having the budget to create something amazing.

The practice of staying in fancy hotels, taking clients to high-end dinners, and getting WAY more shots and takes than are needed is, simply, redundancy. It doesn’t make sense on a filmmaking or cost level. Then they try to save on the budget by knocking a few hours off the Key Grip. Bad idea.

Here’s something to think about. Compose more interesting, more dynamic shots. In car commercials, the idea of circling “one” car with the camera mounted on an Ultimate / Russian arm is boring! How many times have we seen that? There are so many more exciting and less expensive options.

My secondary advice is to creatives. Become a lifelong learner on Filmmaking. There are Masterclasses out there, how to videos and behind-the-scenes on YouTube, or even classic texts like the 5 Cs of Cinematography. There’s no need to plan a dozen plus shots when it can be had in three, for example. You learn the language of filmmaking, which enables a deeper creative collaboration and ultimately a better product. You also learn to trust the cinematographer, the production designer. That one factor opens up a world of possibilities. The priority should be on the final product – and that’s your ultimate job security!

And why not keep the production AND creative teams small. That provides speed and gives clarity. Too many cooks in the kitchen will weaken the project and the vision will be lost.

Here’s an idea. Why not spend a weekend or two on a production of a micro-budget indie film?  That’ll really get the creative juices going! This is where many of cinematic greats started.

Best example of Branded content?

I’m always talking about the original BMW Films series. If you haven’t seen them, they are a MUST WATCH. Here’s another piece that stood out for me:

I recently revisited the Breakthrough spot from 2002, when Cadillac rebranded their cars for a younger generation – perhaps the early 40s set. I’m not sure if it’s the “BEST” branded content, but it’s still in my mind after all these years. It still has the punch!

If you were a Led Zeppelin fan as a teenager in the late 1970s, when they were considered Rock Gods, then the timing of this spot, for its intended demographic, was pretty much perfect! The target audience would be well on the career path, with some money to spend. Their kids would be preteen or teens, who’d want to rock n roll! I doubt this piece was driven by algorithms or analytics. The piece has soul.

The spot is also a brilliant play on how train travel changed our understanding of time and perception of images. Train travel is the original cinema -- moving pictures! Incorporating a train as time travel, transporting the viewer into the future, from the past, all set to a legendary rock n roll song, was electrifying! It’s clever. It doesn’t talk down to the audience. It just takes you along for the ride!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpD7f8gWgDg

Some years ago, I met up with marketing guys from a high-end British car. Both guys had their hands in their pockets, playing with change, not looking me in the eyes -- they had “all the answers.” Finally, I asked “Name 5 car commercials that you thought were cool?” They both looked at each other, a little stumped. I said, “Ok, 1 example.” Still no answer. Then I said, “Name me 5 car chases.” Without a beat, they named 5. I told them three of those car chases were cheaper than some of BMW Films spots. Why is it they couldn’t recall ANY cool car commercials? They just don’t have the same impact. Story is only part of it. Some products need to have the “sauce” factor. So let’s get away from analytics-driven commercials. It’s soulless! 0s and 1s don’t make a better product. They can target the “right” people. But one is not the other.

Why do you love Branded content?

As far as advertising mediums go…it’s the one that kicks ASS!

Branded content allows you to create a better storyline, a richer experience, and as a result – play. This is where things get really interesting.

Think about the original BMW Films series. Then think about a regular car commercial. Which one has YOU more excited?

What do you love of about Branded content?

What I love is the fuller collaboration between creatives and production. In advertising, much of the time, the client wants shot by shot execution. And nothing more.

With branded content, there is room to play, to create something memorable, interesting, dynamic -- that’s where the magic lies!

But we’re not yet maximizing this medium. Branded content is still in its infancy. The models for production are old and cumbersome. We live in a disruptive world, and the production model has yet to be. (I talk more about it here: https://www.adforum.com/interviews/lawrence-ribeiro-international-man-of-action)

Most importantly, filmmakers and advertising creatives have to work together. Otherwise the best concepts will fall short.

What piece of advice?

TAKE RISK! Real creative risk.

Agencies and production companies have all the tools to make something extraordinary. But that doesn’t stop people from complaining about not having the budget to create something amazing.

The practice of staying in fancy hotels, taking clients to high-end dinners, and getting WAY more shots and takes than are needed is, simply, redundancy. It doesn’t make sense on a filmmaking or cost level. Then they try to save on the budget by knocking a few hours off the Key Grip. Bad idea.

Here’s something to think about. Compose more interesting, more dynamic shots. In car commercials, the idea of circling “one” car with the camera mounted on an Ultimate / Russian arm is boring! How many times have we seen that? There are so many more exciting and less expensive options.

My secondary advice is to creatives. Become a lifelong learner on Filmmaking. There are Masterclasses out there, how to videos and behind-the-scenes on YouTube, or even classic texts like the 5 Cs of Cinematography. There’s no need to plan a dozen plus shots when it can be had in three, for example. You learn the language of filmmaking, which enables a deeper creative collaboration and ultimately a better product. You also learn to trust the cinematographer, the production designer. That one factor opens up a world of possibilities. The priority should be on the final product – and that’s your ultimate job security!

And why not keep the production AND creative teams small. That provides speed and gives clarity. Too many cooks in the kitchen will weaken the project and the vision will be lost.

Here’s an idea. Why not spend a weekend or two on a production of a micro-budget indie film?  That’ll really get the creative juices going! This is where many of cinematic greats started.

Best example of Branded content?

I’m always talking about the original BMW Films series. If you haven’t seen them, they are a MUST WATCH. Here’s another piece that stood out for me:

I recently revisited the Breakthrough spot from 2002, when Cadillac rebranded their cars for a younger generation – perhaps the early 40s set. I’m not sure if it’s the “BEST” branded content, but it’s still in my mind after all these years. It still has the punch!

If you were a Led Zeppelin fan as a teenager in the late 1970s, when they were considered Rock Gods, then the timing of this spot, for its intended demographic, was pretty much perfect! The target audience would be well on the career path, with some money to spend. Their kids would be preteen or teens, who’d want to rock n roll! I doubt this piece was driven by algorithms or analytics. The piece has soul.

The spot is also a brilliant play on how train travel changed our understanding of time and perception of images. Train travel is the original cinema -- moving pictures! Incorporating a train as time travel, transporting the viewer into the future, from the past, all set to a legendary rock n roll song, was electrifying! It’s clever. It doesn’t talk down to the audience. It just takes you along for the ride!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpD7f8gWgDg

Some years ago, I met up with marketing guys from a high-end British car. Both guys had their hands in their pockets, playing with change, not looking me in the eyes -- they had “all the answers.” Finally, I asked “Name 5 car commercials that you thought were cool?” They both looked at each other, a little stumped. I said, “Ok, 1 example.” Still no answer. Then I said, “Name me 5 car chases.” Without a beat, they named 5. I told them three of those car chases were cheaper than some of BMW Films spots. Why is it they couldn’t recall ANY cool car commercials? They just don’t have the same impact. Story is only part of it. Some products need to have the “sauce” factor. So let’s get away from analytics-driven commercials. It’s soulless! 0s and 1s don’t make a better product. They can target the “right” people. But one is not the other.