Sunday, February 22, 2009

8 big brand entertainment initiatives in 2009. And it's only February.

Despite the doom and gloom, it’s going to be a defining year for brand entertainment.

Here’s a quick look at some of the initiatives that have already emerged in 2009.

1.The Tmobile Dance
In January, over 350 dancers converged on Liverpool Street station to performed an inspiring routine for surprised morning commuters. The 3 minute
piece from their Life's for Sharing campaign, was filmed using hidden cameras so as to capture spontaneous reaction of commuters.

Not only did the ad go to air on TV within 48 hours of filming, it went around the globe. Commentators were divided on whether flashmobbing still has legs,
but did the ad seemed to strike a chord with punters? The video has attracted 4.6million+ Youtube views and stirred up

lots of chat and PR. On February 7 police had to close the station when flashmob of 13,000 turned up to recreate the Dance after responding to a T-mobile callout via Facebook. As to sales or any other measures, looking forward to hearing more.

2.Rexona's Greatest Athlete

Greatest Athlete pits eight of Australia’s highest profile athletes against each other in a “gruelling test of their physical prowess and mental toughness.” The platform revolves around an eight part television series on Network Nine, that leverages both Rexona’s performance credentials and its sporting ambassadors.

Some brands have previously made the mistake of throwing everything into production at the expense of a broader content marketing effort. There is a kind of 'holy grail' attributed to the creation of a television show. In this case, Rexona have focused on building an entertainment platform, which evolves across a number of channels. It's a lot more than a TV show. You can watch all the episodes here online.

3.Cadbury Eyebrows
The latest effort from
A Glass and a Half Productions has received largely positive reviews from some unlikely sources and more than 4 million views. Cadbury Eyebrows starts with two ten year olds waiting to be shot for the family portrait. When backs are turned, the children cut a range of eyebrow dance moves to the sound of 'Don't Stop the Rock' by electro-funk superstar, Freestyle. On the back of its success, Orange and Cadbury have teamed up to launch the ringtone (downloaded 125,000 times in the first 11 days).

Is it an ad? Is it brand entertainment? I reckon it's both, but most importantly, it’s about the surprise and childlike joy that defines the Cadbury chocolate experience.

4.Gatorade and the Quest for G
This one is a little more puzzling – it’s the latest TBWA campaign for Gatorade and it can only be described as 'a take off of a take off'. Its starting point is
Monty Python and the Holy Grail and it’s layered with references designed to appeal to the die hard fan. Produced to coincide with the NBA All Stars Game, it launched with short spot during the Superbowl - the full series can be viewed Youtube. When you work this one out, can you let me know?

5. Nintendo and the Wiinoma

In January, Nintendo announced the launch of Wiinoma, a dedicated Japanese broadcast TV channel. An internet connection is all Japanese Wii owners need to access original Nintendo produced content - from cartoons to cookery (hmmm not sure about that last one). There are plans for world expansion, potentially opening up 18+ million living rooms around the world. While Nintendo says the channel will "see it make the critical shift towards content-based revenues", it's really based on a traditional advertising model (Dentsu will produce the programs and sell the ads). Still, it's an exciting development - a heady mix of old and new that should make TV networks sit up.

6. King Gee Jack of all Trades
I wrote about Jack of all Trades in January this year, when the third series debuted on Network Nine with over 1 million viewers (thanks to its scheduling in the cricket). It's an entertainment platform model (similar to Rexona's Greatest Athlete) that aims to uncover Australia's greatest tradie. The fact it's in its third series is testament to its appeal to brands and audiences. Not bad.

7. Audi's Truth in 24
In March, ESPN will air a documentary called Truth in 24. The
production follows an Audi team's pursuit of victory at the infamous Le Mans race. The brand reportedly took a hands off approach to it's involvement in the film and there was no guarantee Audi would come out triumphant (still with 8 victories in 9 years, it probably had a pretty good chance).

Marketing Managers take note:

“There was an element of uncertainty with this film from the outset,” said Scott Keogh, Audi of America’s chief marketing officer. “But we wanted to honestly depict the drama, the triumphs and the setbacks of Le Mans racing and spirit of motorsports that is woven into Audi’s DNA. To accomplish that it was essential to let the outstanding storytellers at NFL Films do their jobs without interference and with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access before, during and after the races they filmed.” (Yep, especially of that last sentence)

8. Cheetos and Boing Boing
This is a good example of why a) partnerships make sense and b) it doesn't have to be complicated. Boing Boing have a big audience. And they have lots of sway due to their ridiculous level of credibility. Cheetos pays Boing Boing to create a video series they know will appeal to their hard-to-please-marketing-savvy-fickle-as-all-hell audience. And they take over advertising for the month. Boing Boing make some cool Cheetos content, tell people about it (and that Cheetos slipped them some cash) and Boing Boing, or should I say ker-ching ker-ching.

Got a campaign you think is worthy of inclusion? Let me know


Ross said...

Thanks for the Rexona inclusion. I worked on the digital strategy for the campaign. Credit to the brand managers, series producers and ATL team for recognizing the online opportunity and getting us a seat at the table early on.

Integration within such a huge team , each with their own goals and agenda wasn't easy however well worth the multitude of hours that went into the vision and scope phase. Transparency and communication really being the name of the day.

Video digital distribution was at the heart of the strategy, coupled with harnessing the passionate debate and lastly engagement of armchair athletes were the 3 key objectives.

The digital video view stats are extremely impressive (just checking if I can share, as there is a PR going out shortly.

Likewise the debate around the show has proven to be extremely passionate whether on the official site forums, external fan forums, facebook, video Comments etc...

With great content at the core, the seeding strategy has been less about seeding with the goal to attract and more about distribution. Getting the content to the demo via site, social networks, mobile... and letting them make their own minds up.

A great project to work on providing some great learnings (that we can hopefully share).


Kate Richardson said...

Hi Ross,
Glad to hear it was such a satisfying experience. It's obviously a project you're passionate about. Keep us abreast of the results


jemster said...

Hi Kate, interesting you call the T-mobile and Cadbury experiences 'brand entertainment'.

I happen to think you're spot on.

However I'd be interested to know whether that's what the client thought he was buying.

Particularly like the Rexona idea because the fit with the brand is so good, better I'd say than the fit for Eyebrows or Dance.

Does chocolate really = joy?

For the record Galaxy for whom "Chocolate = comfort" are stuffing CDM at the tills... or at least did last year, despite not getting the applause of the Creative community. Food for thought?

Like the blog. As I said on Adams blog I think the community in Aus is way ahead.

Kate Richardson said...

Thanks Jemster.

I think the fact Cadbury have bought into a Glass and a Half Full productions means they've bought into entertainment.

T mobile's dance might be called experiential, stunt, digital content etc etc so yep good question, it may not have been pitched as brand entertainment

jemster said...

I'd be very surprised if that's what Cadbury think they bought.

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