BEO: What do you think about the future of Branded Entertainment and the market potential?
Doug Scott: I believe the future holds tremendous growth opportunity for Branded Entertainment. In 2012 compared to previous years, we have seen an increase in our own clients who are interested in branded content. Concurrently, key industry festivals such Cannes Lions, the Cristal Festival, and even the upcoming Clio Awards in North America are establishing dedicated branded content categories, serving as further evidence of its growth in the marketplace. You know, I think that the definition of Branded Entertainment needs to continue to be refined. Certain types of content ideas or platforms are being submitted to award competitions that are prompting judges to question what is truly representative of branded content. As the market evolves and more celebrated work emerges from industry festivals, I believe a shared understanding of what truly defines Branded Entertainment will emerge.
BEO: In Germany we often talk about Product Placement as being the same as Branded Entertainment. For example, we handed in the Pandora Placement in a German Model Coaching Show on VOX. Do you think that brands should produce their own content or do you think that they should use existing platforms instead?
Doug Scott: Well, our approach to Branded Content at OgilvyEntertainment is very much bespoke. For every brand, we believe that there is an original piece of content…an original story to be told. It starts with a brief and a true understanding of that brief, including who we are trying to reach and what we are trying to say. It is also important to consider the best distribution channels to reach the desired audience - all of these elements get factored into the creative development of an idea for a brand.
With that said, there are brands who borrow equity from other entertainment properties. While I personally don’t believe that straight product placement is the best approach to Branded Entertainment, I think there are brands borrowing equity successfully by placing their products into James Bond or other large franchises. When brands actually negotiate the rights to realize a character within their property in original short form content (rather than just inserting it into the broadcast series or feature film), they have the ability to extend the usage further with something original originating from the brand and more closely aligning the brand with the property.
BEO: What do you think about the topic that brands should own media? For example, Coca Cola does have millions of Facebook users. When would it be suitable for a brand or do you think it is suitable for every brand?
Doug Scott: In my opinion, every brand is really evaluating what we call “owned media”. So what does the brand own? It could be its website, its Facebook community, its packaging or any sort of a retail platform, etc. These are all channels where brands can better communicate their content message. Do I think that brands should establish channels such as Bud TV, as Budweiser has attempted to do on TV, or like Red Bull is doing right now with Red Bull Media House? I think that certain brands can establish themselves in an owned media space and truly define a lifestyle around their brand. I also think it makes a lot of sense for other brands to be creators of content and distributors of content, and I don’t necessarily believe that every brand is going to be the distributor of its media.
BEO: So both sides are possible! You are on several jury panels for Branded Entertainment. Are there any trends in Branded Entertainment that you would consider to be a “real new thing”?
Doug Scott: In terms of trends, I’ve noticed that people are really using this time to experiment in Branded Entertainment. I have seen a little bit more animation and little bit less user-generated content this year than in prior years. I also think that people are moving slightly more towards scripted entertainment, probably scripted in the comedic rather than dramatic manner. It is tough for certain brands to adopt drama just based on what it is that audiences are looking for. We are also starting to see more true 360-degree programs, incorporating PR, promotions or events, and extending into retail. So branded content is starting to blend into other marketing practices, and I think that marketers are realizing that the value of content allows their brand to have social or cultural context. Then, what they need to do with their context is to provide the consumer with other relevant touch points and ways to engage with their brand. The content is opening the conversation.
BEO: Do you have any new and exciting projects planned at Ogilvy that you can talk about?
Doug Scott: We have our third season of our DuPont Horizons Program on BBC World News, which is a truly exciting project for us. And we are working on a TV series in partnership with our agency in Dubai around sustainability, sustainable business practices and sustainable living, which we are also very excited about.
BEO: One question also directed to the German market…We always find ourselves in the situation where we’ve got specialized agencies, media agencies, and broadcasters. There are many people and agencies involved in one project that it can often become challenging to deliver a clear message. How do you solve this problem for your brands and clients?
Doug Scott: We have the same situation in the United States. We have creative agencies doing content, media agencies doing content, talent agencies doing content, PR firms doing content, TV branded entertainment agencies, broadcasters, production companies…the list goes on. There is really a fair argument that each of these organizations has a role within the overarching concept, if you will, of the Branded Entertainment platform. It’s very difficult for a PR firm to lead brand sponsorship, it is very difficult for a creative agency to lead film production, and it is very difficult for a production company to drive PR message. The key for any brand is to bring all of these individuals to the table to work collaboratively.
BEO: So you think if the media agency has the idea then you can call all the other partners in, if necessary?
Doug Scott: If the media agency has the idea, then they are bringing in the other partners; and, if the creative agency has the idea, then they are actually calling in the others. The idea can come from anywhere. It is important to know the boundaries of each of these agencies and ensure that they will lean on the other professionals that the brand has surrounding it. The minute that they fail to do so, they really put the program at risk of not realizing its full potential because they put the wrong team on the floor.
BEO: Thank you for the interview and thank you for continuously enhancing Branded Entertainment.
Das Interview wurde geführt von Sandra Freisinger-Heinl.