You’ve definitely heard of it because ‘branded content’ is one of the buzzwords that sends entrepreneurs, publishers, agencies, and brands into a frenzy. Everyone’s talking about it, and it seems as though there is no content marketing without it anymore. Evidently, you’d like to participate. But what is branded content to begin with, and how do you go about it? Let’s define it and take a look at some examples.
In case you are somewhat baffled by the question mark, you should know that branded content doesn’t have just one definition. In fact, ever since it appeared as a term and concept, around 2001, multiple definitions have been offered, making it slightly more difficult to understand.
Therefore, branded content is simply any type of content that one can associate with a brand. It is also any type of advertising that makes a customer think of that particular brand it is advertising. Another definition says that branded content should not be regarded as traditional advertising at all and that it crosses more into editorial content that has to do with a brand.
Confused? Don’t worry. Everybody is. The fantastically famous Cannes Lion Festival was only able to spout out a vague definition of branded content when they included it as a category in its ranks. Here it is.
‘The creation of, or natural integration into, original content by a brand.’
Let’s take a look at some examples for a better understanding of what is branded content.
Examples of Branded Content
1. The New York Times and Netflix
Although it might be incredible that a veritable institution such as the NY Times needs advertising, the rapid falling of the printed news was a huge blow to the giant. In turn, this led to them having to run sponsored articles so that they could boost their income. However, it can prove tricky to match your marketing message with the perfect informing and entertaining content that the NY Times has always shown its audience.
Enter the partnership with Netflix. This is an article called Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work. It was sponsored by Netflix, namely Orange Is the New Black.
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2. The Lego Movie
Yes, The Lego Movie is branded content. People are having a lot of fun watching it, but they are being marketed to while doing it. The movie grossed over $450 million at the box office, and its intention was to present the Lego toys to the new generation of kids who are only used to the digital age.
It didn’t even stop there. It had a part two, the Lego Batman Movie, and film reports say that we are also going to see the Lego Ninjago Movie. Did we mention more of their projects are going to hit the big screen in the following years? That’s how you do brand content. Evidently, more such examples in movies exist, the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft, Need for Speed, and Super Mario Bros., all of which are movies based on famous video games. 2019 will even bring us the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, Pokemon’s Detective Pikachu, and Minecraft.
All of this goes to show two things. We might not be able to put pen to paper and explain what is branded content, but we have an instinct for it. And when you strike gold, everything does seem like marketing heaven. The second thing is that branded content really has come of age, especially since it is now able to support full feature-length movies by itself.