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Branded Content Has Come of Age

Kai-Lu Hsiung is Managing Director of RSA / Black Dog Films. A former D&AD foreman for the Branded Film Content & Entertainment catagory, Kai-Lu talks how the formation of this new category indicates that branded content has come of age. Watch these five award winning branded content examples that illustrate this fact.

Branded Content Has Come of Age | D&AD

Looking for Branded Content Tips from one of the Masters? Read on...

It’s got to be good. The object for branded content is to go viral, to draw people to the brand naturally. New media has abolished barriers to content, and people have adjusted to engage with media and advertising on their own terms.

So content really needs to stand out if it’s going to get any attention.

The ultimate aim is to encourage engagement and sharing by producing quality content for your audience. Take Wes Anderson’s Prada short, a film rightly lauded within the director’s catalogue for its unique style, but also a great commercial project. 

PRADA presents "CASTELLO CAVALCANTI" by Wes Anderson

Popularity is far more likely to be achieved with creative excellence.

We’ve seen this with The Epic Split for Volvo, which collected a rarely bestowed Black Pencil in last year’s D&AD Online Branded Films Category, and also with Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches. 

Volvo's 'The Epic Split'Film

Both brands greatly benefitted from the hype. Volvo’s subscriber base tripled, and Dove found that Real Beauty Sketches was shown in more than 110 countries, garnering over 114 million views.

Dove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' Film

Branded Content has, for a while, pushed boundaries in creative advertising. In 2010 the Phillips Parallel Lines campaign drew acclaim, both critically and commercially, for the scope and quality of the project - 45 treatments, five short films. It was branded content that opened the door to art-led commerce. 

Phillips' 'Parallel Lines' Campaign Film

To illustrate how far the medium has progressed, in 2014 Room 8 from a similar multi-film project by Gravity Road for Bombay Sapphire, was awarded a BAFTA in the British Short Film category. And if we put shorts aside, 2014's Lego Movie was arguably one of the most prolific pieces of branded content to date.

'Room 8' by Bombay Sapphire

The BAFTA recognition and Lego movie alone show that branded content is becoming recognised as the pinnacle of combining creativity and commerce, so I’m really pleased to see it celebrated at this year's D&AD awards.

It’s an exciting time for all the creative industries. Brands can now be behind something truly original and inspirational, going far beyond marketing a product. This is surely one of the underlying key arguments that D&AD are founded on, the synergy of great design and therefore successful commerce?

The TV ads are rightly still there, but filmmakers now have an additional opportunity to create short tailor-made films and really flex their creative muscles. There are no boundaries anymore, and because of this I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

As well as Branded Film Content & Entertainment, the D&AD Professional Awards recognise world-class creativity in categories such as film craft, graphic design and identity. If you think you have a campaign worthy of a D&AD Pencil, you can enter into one of 27 different Professional Awards categories today.

If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Professional Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.

For more creative inspiration and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the world’s best design and advertising, join us at D&AD Festival.

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