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The World Of Branded Entertainment: Q&A With Ogilvy's Abby Marks

Abby Marks, director of strategy and operations for Ogilvy Entertainment, entered the creative world of advertising via management consulting. In my interview with her, Abby talks about the process of creating branded entertainment and compares branded and native formats. She also offers great insight into Ogilvy’s recent BEAM whitepaper on branded entertainment. 

The videos of the interview can be viewed at www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com

CW: How has branded content changed in the four years that you have been at Ogilvy?

AM:  It’s an amazing time for branded entertainment and branded content. We are really seeing the shift in consumer appetites for content and the willingness to go over the top and pay for that content. So for brands, the ecosystem is past the tipping point.

The past year and a half has seen a huge swell of brands that really understand that opportunity. When I started at Ogilvy Entertainment in 2010, it was still a time of convincing brands that they needed programs collaborating with media partners, creating their own series, hosting them online and promoting them as if they were a TV or film property. Today we are seeing that shift.

Consumers too are getting much smarter. They are not put off by brands that create compelling content if it is insight-driven and if it feels relevant to where a brand should be, playing like Dove’s “True Beauty” sketches or Lacta’s “Love in the End” film. Consumers are open and receptive if it is great content and it is compelling to them. They don’t mind that it is from a brand.

CW: What length of programming works best for branded content?

AM: We tend to think of mobile as short form, but to be honest, if you are going to engage in mobile, there is more and more research coming out that says that people are looking for more longer form in mobile.

Viewers are looking for a sustained experience -- maybe they are waiting for a bus, they are meeting some friends -- they want to find that one place and really dive deep into that content. It is all about story. If the story can be told in 30 seconds, that is great. If the story needs 10, 20, 30 minutes, the consumer is ready for that kind of story as well.

CW: Tell me about BEAM.

AM: We have been in the branded entertainment sector for about 10 years, which is a pretty long time considering the more recent focus toward branded content. We’ve had a strategic relationship with MIPTV, which is an annual international content festival and marketplace in Europe. We thought that it would be a great platform to launch a whitepaper around strategic use and measurement of branded entertainment, how it should be used, how it can be used and how it should be measured.

So we wrote a whitepaper, “Making Magic, Using Logic: the Ogilvy Branded Entertainment Assessment Model.” It is meant to help align ideas heading into a project, what it should achieve, where it should be distributed and how it should be measured so that it is not an afterthought and it really helps to prove out the success of these programs.

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