We’ve all got our talents, and there are those that are more useful than others. Some can sing. Some can toss together an outstanding Greek salad. Some are able to throw a dart consistently from range onto a target the size of a fingernail.
Historically all that darts players (dartists? I’m not from that world) got for that little talent was a shouted beer and a pat on the arse. Now they’re multi-millionaires who seem to spend the entirety of their earnings on a never-ending bad haircut competition. This is the world we live in.
Back to the point. People have talents.
Creativity and off-beat thinking is a talent, and it has forever been a valued one. From Galileo Galilei schooling 16th century Europe on the deal with the sun, to Elon Musk tearing transport and power industries from the teat of fossil fuels, thinking outside the box is how we progress as a society.
The field of branded content is ready to explode, if you can say that it hasn’t already. Some of the most creative minds in the world are getting involved, and are putting their cog-turning noggins together to come up with the most unique and effective campaigns they can.
The greater the resources of a company, the greater their ability to attract quality marketing personnel (or pay marketing houses who do). Here are a few of the titans of the branded content world, and how they approach content strategy:
Anyone who owns a Facebook account has seen the name. Anyone who knows the name and sees a ’33 unbelievable…’ style article is prone to roll their eyes, then swiftly click on that freakin’ link.
The brilliance of Buzzfeed is that they are entirely self-aware. They know that many people find some of their articles a little naff. And behind what can be seen as their required, bread-and-butter content – the listicles, the viral video deconstructions – is one of the cleverest marketing strategies in existence.
Branded content production that includes games like Snacky Mouse Rumble (for cat treats maker Temptations) and concepts as simple as using vintage beauty products for a week, Buzzfeed is the leader in creating branded content that doesn’t look branded.
Red Bull’s mission statement mentions that it aims to knock off Coke as the world’s largest soft drink manufacturer. Having been created in only 1987, they noted the unsuccessful attempts of Pepsi to tackle Coca-Cola’s stranglehold on the market. They decided to go about it in a very different way.
Red Bull create. They created the energy drink. They created a market for it. Then they created advertising to make it desirable. They even created freaking sports to flog their wares. Whipping up an air racing or cliff diving league probably aren’t the first things that most companies will come up with in a marketing meeting. Most companies aren’t Red Bull.
The content that comes from these sorts of events is almost limitless. Red Bull have essentially come up with a way to create news, and often are the only ones with journalists on the ground.
A marketing agency that has turned viral content into a science, Thinkmodo’s work will be familiar to many an internet user.
Notoriety came from their 2013 “prankvertisement“ (that is now OFFICIALLY A WORD. AND YOU CAN DEAL WITH IT) for the horror movie ‘Carrie’, in which a coffee shop server gets telekinetically lifted up a wall by an agro patron.
Ever since, Thinkmodo have been the go-to guys for priceless hidden-cam ads that stir with the general public, from a super strong meter maid to people flying over New York City. If you’re walking down the street and something happens that’s not quite right, it was probably the Thinkmodo guys.
Go to Denny’s blog. Have a look around.
Now, can you honestly tell me, hand on heart, that you could really tell the difference between it and the tumblr account of a 16-year-old boy who’s a little bit burger obsessed? And therein lies its brilliance.
Denny’s are on it when it comes to internet fads. Their meme game is second to none, using mostly user generated content to keep their brand in front of the eyes of one of their biggest demographics – young people who like trawling the internet. To those outside the intended sphere, it’s nonsensical. To those within it, it’s inspired.
The great thing about the way online branded content works is that those with the greatest resources often aren’t necessarily those with the greatest content. A creative spark can come from anywhere, and being open to ideas and willing to give it a go are far more important keys to success than deep pockets ever will be.
Unless you’re good at throwing darts. Then the keys to success are giving up the marketing game and getting an outdated haircut.