Companies now have a greater responsibility towards their audiences. In order to reach their desired customers, businesses must create content that not only informs the viewer about the product but also entertains and inspires them enough to voluntarily seek the content. Companies need to produce immersive experiences that generate curiosity and create followers so that the content becomes a part of the conversation in both the virtual and actual worlds. In other words, businesses need to blur the lines between advertisement, entertainment, and editorial content in order to create an experience that serves both as an advert and a piece of content media that people would willingly arrive to. This new style of publicity is referred to as “Branded Content.”
There are some amazing examples of Branded Content that have propelled businesses and captivated audiences. Chipotle, a company known for its lack of television advertisement, aired a four-episode web series on Hulu called “Farmed and Dangerous.” What makes “Farmed and Dangerous” great as a piece of Branded Content isn’t only the fact that it is entertaining, but also the fact that the entertainment is directly related to the product Chipotle is selling. The web series explores the dangers of unnatural farm practices and the company offers a natural food product. At about a million-dollar budget, the series required relatively little money compared to a TV campaign, but it called for a great amount of creativity, ingenuity, and professional know-how.
In the late 90s, Kahlua, a Mexican coffee-flavored liquor, took part in arguably one of the most effective pieces of Branded Content with the movie “The Big Lebowski” in which Jeff Bridges’ character, the Dude, ambles through the film sipping on the product. More than just product placement, the film and the Dude embodied the relaxed, eccentric, yet cool essence of the liquor. Banking on that success, Kahlua and Bridges have recently partnered again to make an awesome short noir film, “The White Russian.” This 4-minute experience is valuable to a viewer because it is interesting, engaging, and frankly, really cool; and it’s valuable to the company because it expresses the ideas that they want to convey. That is the ultimate goal of any company creating Branded Content.
The challenge that companies face is creating content that feels like a genuine satisfying experience and not a gimmick. To achieve this, a real expertise in storytelling, writing, filmmaking, and marketing is required. Working with the right production company that specializes in this revolutionary form of advertisement is essential. Branded Content is not only the way of the future, but also a fundamental tool for right now.
At Award Winning Reels, we are filmmakers committed to telling stories that are engaging, stimulating, and thought provoking, and now we are excited to launch our department of Branded Content where we will work with companies to create content that speaks to the essence of their brand and the themes and values that it stands for.
The White Russian - A Kahlúa Production
Chipotle - Farmed and Dangerous Official Trailer:
Nicolas Pinzon is a filmmaker and storyteller currently enrolled in UCLA’s Professional Screenwriting Program. He has a B.A in Arts and Humanities with a concentration in both Music, and Gender and Sexuality.