conversation starter

Content Savvy: How GE is Leading the Journey to Brand Journalism

Posted by Paola Norambuena on December 3, 2014 11:50 AM

In a Wall Street Journal article this week, GE’s Gary Sheffer, Vice President Communications & Public Affairs, is quoted—in what will likely become a standard marketing quip—as saying, “We’re practicing what we believe to be journalism on a daily basis.”

In doing so, Sheffer highlighted one of the key challenges brands face today—it’s not just about making products, services or technologies we consume; it’s being the publishers, storytellers and journalists of our time. And there’s a great deal of wisdom in these words, because it’s this fundamental shift in role that helps brands like GE stay ahead.

As brands have understood the importance of content marketing or branded content, some have, more importantly, understood some of the defining characteristics of great journalism: find a unique angle, editing is everything—and stay true to your mission.Continue reading...

future of advertising

Beautiful Balance: At Cannes, Data and Emotion Unite to Tell Strong Stories

Posted by Rami Levi on June 26, 2014 02:18 PM

The power of storytelling; the importance of emotion; the necessity of capturing a human essence. These were the main themes repeated and stressed over the course of this past week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

It doesn’t take much analysis to figure that these themes were likely emphasized in reaction to an increasingly digital landscape where phrases like "Big Data" are dominating the industry. Indeed, the Palais de Festival quickly became a platform for creatives to remind the world—and each other—that, despite the ubiquity of data and technology, great work is still defined by its ability to tell strong, deeply human stories—even in the most data-driven work.

In one popular seminar, “Nice is the New Black”, BBDO creative leaders David Lubars and Josy Paul spoke to the importance of creating work that cuts through cynicism and captures feel-good stories. After showing consecutive ads that tugged at the heart, the panelists invited the audience to hug the person on their left. Let's just say that things got emotional.Continue reading...

creative snack

YouTube Streams Cannes Lions For You: First Up, @SirPatStew and @JoelL

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 12, 2014 11:02 AM

Is a glass of rosé on La Croissette not in your immediate future? You can still virtually participate in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity via daily free streamed sessions on the Cannes Lions TV web channel.

The first streaming session, on Sunday, is a must for anyone who cares about branding and storytelling. It will feature Twitter's global VP of brand strategy, Joel Lunenfeld, in conversation with the twitterary Sir Patrick Stewart on how real-time storytelling is changing the definition of who and what is creative. Updated: watch below—Continue reading...

campaigns

Vodafone Has the Last Word in 'First' Campaign to Save Ancient Language

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 20, 2014 07:10 PM

Telecom companies survive when people talk to one another. Vodafone went the extra mile in its effort to encourage communication in one particular part of the world: a village in Mexico where the last two speakers of a dying language, Ayapaneco, live.

The problem, as the UK's Campaign Live reports, was that the last two speakers, both men in their 70s, hadn't spoken to each other in years due to a rift about the language itself. Their silence and fallout would mean the end of Ayapaneco and another piece of Mexican history lost; but Vodafone wouldn't let that happen. 

The brand and local villagers teamed up to build a school in town and dispatched Stanford University linguistic anthropologist Professor James A. Fox to speak with the men and fill them in on their cultural responsibility to pass on the language. The entire effort was documented in a short film as part of the Vodafone Firsts campaign across 10 markets.Continue reading...

multicultural marketing

MillerCoors: Brewing Authenticity and Respect for Latino Consumers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 6, 2014 06:23 PM

May the Fourth be with Cinco de Mayo. Yes, there's a lot of real-time marketing going on this month, from brands tapping into Star Wars fever to U.S. marketers getting their arriba!-time marketing on for Cinco de Mayo—not Mexico's Independence Day, as Digiday rightly points out.

Multicultural marketing is always to be approached sensitively, as MSNBC found out this week, to its chagrin. Sadly, Cinco de Mayo has become an excuse for every frat-boy gringo to pull on a sombrero and holler random Spanish exclamations after downing their tequila. Like the shot girls, this version of the holiday is a fiction, a bastardization of the holiday that was originally created to honor underdog Mexican fighters who defeated French soldiers who had more bodies, better equipment, and finer training way back in 1862. 

Those fighters, now mythologized and celebrated, have become symbols for oppressed Latino workers in America. Now the holiday that celebrates them has become oppressive as young drinkers enter the bars of America and play out every Latino stereotype imaginable. Fortunately, smart brands are looking beyond the stereotypes—including Coors Light, in its first-ever line extension.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

The Re-Hire: BMW Brings Back Trailblazing Series of Web Films

Posted by Dale Buss on February 14, 2014 07:17 PM

Reports are that BMW is going to revive in some form its initiative of more than a decade ago that helped create—and, in the eyes of many critics, still reigns over—what has become an explosion in branded video content.

Trudy Hardy, BMW's CMO in the US, has indicated that the brand will be bringing back BMW Films, which comes as great news to auto buffs and film buffs alike.

The Hire, the automaker's award-winning series of eight online films, were directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Clive Owen, were produced for the web from 2001-2002. Arguably, every significant piece of high-quality, branded video content produced since then—right up through Jaguar's Desire project last year—owes something to BMW's groundbreaking branded entertainment series.

The Hire cost BMW $25 million to produce and featured a cast of celebrity directors, such as Ang Lee, as well as stars including Madonna and Don Cheadle, who interacted with Owen's James Bond-like character as the driver whose adventures always took place in a BMW model.Continue reading...

what girls want

Disney Powers Up Princess Franchise, Promotes Infinity Game Launch Globally

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 18, 2013 11:21 AM

The world of the Disney Princess—which faces competition from moms and fairies even as it continues being a cash cow for Disney by captivating many girls until the age of three or so—is aiming a bit older with its "I Am a Princess" manifesto.

The video is the latest in a campaign that debuted in the third quarter of 2012, touting the values that the Disney Princess embodies. (B will this new breed of empowered, self-award Disney Princess grow up to be hipster Disney Princesses?)

Check out Disney's earlier "I Am a Princess" videos below, along with another new campaign: an international push for the upcoming Disney Infinity console, starting with this UK commercial:Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Ron Howard Aims to Direct More Brands' Storytelling Efforts

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 8, 2013 03:19 PM

Ron Howard has wanted to be in the marketing business for decades now, but his wife told him that if he had time to take away from his work as a famous director, producer, and actor, he better fork it over to his wife and kids.

Well, the kids are all grown up now and Howard must have gotten buy-in from his wife because the partnership of Howard and producer Brian Glazer – the duo behind such classic films and TV series as Splash, Apollo 13, 8 Mile, A Beautiful Mind, Friday Night Lights, 24, and Arrested Development – are bringing their storytelling savvy to the marketing world, according to Fortune.

The appeal of working with brands, Howard told Fortune, is that marketers are “wide open” about their how they deliver content, using "long form, short form, live events.” They're also eager for better quality storytelling, and eager to bring Hollywood-honed creativity to their brands. Down the road, Howard says, "We could bring in an Academy Award-winning screenwriter to work on a brand."Continue reading...

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