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The golden age of advertising is over. Consumers, especially Millennials, are immune to traditional marketing methods – they don’t want to be sold to, short attention spans and want to be entertained. To cut through the noise and reach audiences, some companies have turned to branded content.

What is branded content?

Branded content is entertaining, fun and engaging marketing video created for and targeted at a specific audience (usually Millennials). It is not obtrusive and doesn’t directly sell a product or service, but it doesn’t hide a fact that it was created for a specific brand.

Companies use branded content to increase brand awareness, positioning and communicate brand personality.

So who’s doing it right in the branded content world?

Here’s our top 4 brands for some inspiration.

Dove – Real Beauty

Dove are known for selling soap. Yet soap doesn’t come into the equation in this video. Rather it focuses on a story that is relatable and relevant for the target audience.

Branded content tells a story and connects with audiences on an emotional level.

Storytelling is the way forward for marketing and nothing can tell a story quite like video.

Volvo – The Epic Split

This branded content was created to highlight Volvo’s new dynamic steering model, but it’s main aim was to entertain. And entertain it did – over 83 million times, since it was posted in November 2013. It also resulted in 126 million Euros worth of earned media. A pretty decent ROI if you ask me.

American Greetings – Toughest Job in the World

American Greetings went on to win the North American Grand Effie and a Silver Lion in Film at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for this video. With over 25 million views on YouTube, the powerful video pays homage to mothers all over the world, and in the lead up to Mother’s Day, encouraged all viewers to buy mums greeting cards to say thank you.

Squatty Potty – Unicorn

This video is probably not the best example of pure branded content – it’s entertainment value is high, so we just had to include it here. It tells a story and delivers a soft sell of a product that would be quite difficult to sell normally.

This single piece of content generated 66 million views in 6 months and increased online sales by 600%.

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