Branded content is a thing in advertising now. Saturday Night Live, it is reported, will replace 30% of its advertising next year with marketer-generated segments. Oy. Where this phenomenon goes off the rails is in production. Rather than use ad agencies, the sponsoring media companies are often creating the work. Vice Media and The New York Times, among many others, are using internal resources to make this so-called branded content.
I’m not in the advertising business anymore and so have no axe to grind, but this is a bad idea. An idea only two steps better than a marketers doing it themselves. It may be cheaper, it may feel more native, but in the end it’s poor brand craft.
With branded content, a marketer is way more likely to go off brand strategy. When the actual branded content piece is complete ask the branded content developer “How did this work support the brand strategy?” and listen for the answer. Homina homina homina.