The best of branded entertainment


By Luke Davidson
Branded entertainment has been getting more and more attention lately as brands begin to discover the many possibilities it offers. When it’s done right the results are something worth celebrating. With that in mind, I thought I’d pay tribute to some of my favourite pieces of branded entertainment.

Best Movie: The Lego Movie
It’s hard to go past The Lego Movie. The challenges of making a movie about plastic blocks a success would seem high on the surface. Not only did this clever and witty movie win over audiences around the world, it also won over cynical film critics (averaging an amazing 96% favourable film reviews). What could be better than a 100-minute commercial that people happily pay to watch! It’s currently made over $400 million at the box office, so naturally there’s a sequel on the way.

Special mention: Lacta – Love in the end
Lacta, the leading chocolate in Greece, has a brand positioning based around the sweetness of love. In an involved strategy the brand asked consumers to tell them their unfilled love stories. Three of these stories than formed the basis for the finished script. Cleverly they then used their brand campaign to promote the film (and vice versa). The film went on to have the most successful opening of any Greek film in five years (and its theme song also reached number two in the charts).

Best Song: Feel Inside (and stuff like that) – Red Nose Day
Possibly a controversial choice but I think everything about this is brilliant – from the amusing clips with the kids, the hilarious song that results and the fact that all the money raised went to charity. It’s easy to see why this song entered the New Zealand charts at number one on release.

Best Web Series: BMW’s The Hire
This series earn bonus points for also being one of the first branded web series way back in 2001. It’s a testament to its quality that I still consider it the best. The films were so popular that BMW ended up releasing a compilation DVD that was quickly snapped up by fans and became highly sought after. The series was viewed over 100 million times in four years. BMW enjoyed a double-digit increase in sales after its release.

Best Stunt: Red Bull Stratos
Felix Baumgartner didn’t just smash the sound barrier when he performed his jump, he also smashed YouTube records, with his dive recording the most livestream viewers ever (at its peak there were over 8 million concurrent viewers on Red Bull’s YouTube channel – more than 10 times the previous YouTube record).

Best Experiential: Coke Small World Machines
I can be cynical at times, but somehow this Coke experiential managed to get past my defences. I know it’s not popular with many people in the industry for various reasons, but I’m a fan. Simple insight/human truth meets cutting-edge technology.

Worst Product Placement: Cheerios
All the examples above make branded entertainment seem effortless, which is far from the truth. To see how things can go wrong, here’s a product placement effort form Cheerios during the soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives’. It’s so bad you almost begin to wonder if it’s a parody.

And it gets worse…

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