Advertising and entertainment are blurring

by the BCMA and Rupert Maconick

August 2017

The BCMA is in a privileged position to have access to the leading experts and pioneers of the branded content industry. This interview is a part of ‘For The Love of Branded Content’ series which brings together ‘thought-leaders’ from across the globe to share their ‘love’ and advice on what it takes to succeed in the ever-evolving world of branded content.

Rupert Maconick, Founder, Saville Productions, BCMA USA Advisory Board Member, thinks advertising and entertainment are blurring.

Learn more in his short interview below.

1. Why do you love branded content?

Content is an unfortunate word choice. It suggests some kind of unnamable filler, the empty calories of the advertising industry. In fact, the Urban Dictionary defines branded content as “long, boring advertisements on YouTube that no one in their right mind would ever watch.”

Worse than the word, though, is what it reveals about our expectations as advertisers. If we give something a boring name, chances are we are going to produce a boring product.

We as an industry need to raise our expectations. We need to think of what we make as entertainment, not content.

2. What do you love the most about branded content?

As audiences migrate to commercial-free streaming platforms, more and more brands are looking to engage consumers through entertaining original programming.

This is incredibly exciting. The line between advertising and entertainment is blurring, especially as brands realize that a great way to reach large audiences is to become part of the original film, TV and online programming that people want to watch.

3. One piece of advice you’d love to give someone undertaking branded content?

Above all, what we make must entertain. If it doesn’t, people will simply switch it off.

Recently, we collaborated with Pereira & O’Dell and NetScout to create a documentary film. NetScout is a business to business network solutions company and they wanted to start a global conversation about the internet and internet security.

With the wrong approach, this project could have been quite dull.

To reach and engage a broad audience, we needed to find a way to make the film entertaining. We needed a point of view that would bring the subject to life. We asked

Werner Herzog, a man so disinterested in technology he doesn’t even carry a cell phone, if he would be interested in directing.

Werner was immediately intrigued.

The finished film, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, takes viewers on an unforgettable journey from the birth of cyberspace to the internet’s current place in nearly every aspect of our lives. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was purchased by Magnolia Pictures for theatrical distribution. We attribute the film’s success to one obvious fact – it is wildly entertaining.

4. What is the best example of branded content you love?

Hollywood is responsible for today’s best adverts and promotional films, not advertisers. People are sometimes shocked by this idea, but it’s absolutely true. The Lego Movie is a cinematic advertisement for Legos. The upcoming film, Assassin’s Creed, is a $200M promotion for the popular video game series.

The best example of all is Marvel.

Every Marvel film is an exceptionally well-made blockbuster. The movies make money, but their ultimate purpose is to guide consumer interest toward a whole universe of products – toys, games, clothing, rides. George Lucas, creator of one of the most popular film franchises of all time, said it best: “All the money is in the action figures.”

These films are the apotheosis of “branded entertainment” and a great blueprint for us advertisers.