Branded Content is becoming more and more common. What is it? Branded Content is something made by a content producer, like a podcast host or a youtube channel, and instead of just being sponsored by a company, the content is shaped around the advertiser’s branding or product.
Branded content is becoming more and more common because traditional advertising is becoming more and more difficult to do. Our society has become more and more immune to traditional ads. Ads in a newspaper or on radio are generally clearly marked and easy to ignore. Even banner ads and youtube pre roll can be ignored fairly easily or even blocked with some of the most common ad blocked software available online.
Branded content is great for two reasons.
1. It allows advertisers to get their message out in a way that fans of the content produced will consume. Branded content subtlety puts in product placement in a way that is almost an endorsement by these personalities. It directly targets the audience that a produce already has and is engaging with. This is a great value for a brand.
2. It pays content producers! As ad revenue continues to dwindle things like branded content will be one of the ways content producers can pay the bills. Normally I would put a rant in here about ad blockers but I will just leave it to this: It costs money to produce content. Using ad blockers is a way of stealing the content. Because this system is not working it forces content producers to create more content that is branded. An alternative to this are platforms like Patreon.
Branded content is bad for two reasons:
1. It is hard to do well. Working a brand into content without seeming forced or salesy is hard. It is best for brands to find content producers who align closely with your company to keep it from being forced.
2. It is a little sneaky. Sometimes branded content tries to fly in under the radar and this may seem dishonest to some consumers. This is especially ethically sketchy if it comes from a journalism organization. In the case of entertainment producers, I think this public sentiment will change as our society becomes more use to branded content and product placement.
That all being said, recently I saw one of the better examples of branded content in a spot by Dude Perfect. Bass Pro unleashed them on their new flagship store at the Memphis Pyramid. This was a good partnership for the brand and a good video by Dude Perfect, check it out: