Moving From Interruption To Involvement

The advertising model, as practiced for the last hundred years or so, has been one based on interruption. It's a consistent tactic across TV/video, radio, and even print. It continues because it works. And, in the digital video arena, pre-stream and mid-stream commercials will continue to exist for some time, because they work to help marketers achieve their goals.

However, marketers have also begun In a shift in tactics, applying their resources to create content to get their message across. A number of marketers are doing this now. Red Bull comes to mind as a great example as it syndicates its "extreme sport" athletes video endeavors across the Web.

To begin to develop a branded content strategy, I suggest the following process -- the "4 Es of content creation":

Engagement -- The content must first meet a consumer need or desire to get them interested in watching (research can help with understanding consumer content affinities for your audience). Then, and only then, the brand should be integrated in a compelling way that helps pay off the content promise while delivering on the brand promise.

Extension -- Scaling the content to get it in front of the right people. While having the content on the brand's Web site helps reach loyal users, to really make the content work, it needs to be syndicated broadly across the Web based on the audience's content affinities.

Execution -- Embed additional functionality to the video to build engagement with features like recipe prints for food marketers, or buy-it-now links for manufacturers or retailers. Then set up tools to measure the activation from those elements.

Efficiency -- Often the production and syndication costs can be significantly more efficient than a full-blown :30 commercial production. In some cases, a brand can even make a small cpm revenue share on that content.

The skill set of creating compelling branded content should be considered as an evolution both in how we look at advertising messages and how they are distributed versus a radical shift in strategy and capabilities. It will benefit all in the value chain: marketers, agencies, publishers -- and, most important, the consumer -- if we can work together to create branded content that is compelling for the consumer and delivers for the brand.

3 comments about "Moving From Interruption To Involvement".
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  1. Tyler Lecompte from, March 11, 2009 at 11:29 a.m.


    Excellent, Excellent, Excellent posting! I have been preaching this gospel myself for that last 18 months as I launched a new video marketing website myself. Our method is based around the involvement of the consumer in the marketing message through branded video content. Your 4E list is the basis of our overall method, and the reason why we believe that Online Video holds the most promising potential for digital advertising in the coming months and years. I can't wait to see pre-roll and mid-roll ads disappear once the videos themselves ARE the ads...but in a fun, informative, interesting way! Thanks again.

  2. Jeff Skaggs from CraveOnline, March 12, 2009 at 3:03 p.m.


    Great article - so many creators of "branded entertainment" forget that story-telling is still key to keeping the audience engaged and interested. You make a great point about the emergence of a hybrid agency/content creator relationship that will need to develop to a more mature stage before this really catches on as a effective strategy.

    I will save the part where I use the comment section to promote my own company.



  3. Pinaki Saha from Me!Box Media Inc., March 18, 2009 at 11:56 a.m.

    The biggest problem with brand videos with a complete message in the content itself is the searchability/discoverability. TV is a standard, focused, time-bounded platform with the full viewership coming onboard over a measurable time and metric. That's why ads and brand messages have worked so well on TV. For online video, the diverse nature of consumption, platform, and sheer volume of content in multitude of categories, makes the brand presence literally undiscoverable.

    People are all now gaga about viral video marketing. But the figure of 800,000 views does what? It's still the same spray and pray methodology that they are using in TV broadcasting! Hence the media creator needs to be more proactive and create content that has discoverability by the links it gets connected to associative content across the online media value chain in his/her segment. That's when long tail will emerge as a significant reference point.

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