Brand Entertainment Feed

I Had Cartier Advertising for Breakfast

Cartier S.A.Image via Wikipedia

This morning in between my orange juice and Kashi I was stopped mid-chew by a new long form TV commercial from Cartier. To understand the impact this had, you have to understand my purposely dull and monetenous morning routine. On most mornings the TV would actually have to explode for me to glance from the endless crime stories in the newspaper to the endless stories on the Today Show. If anything, the mornings are by design meant to unfold according to schedule, with the bits and pieces from my "friends" Matt, Ann, Al and Natalie providing soothing and familiar background noise as they struggle to make the latest update on LIndsay Lohan look like news.  This is then followed by an endless stream of advertising that is filled with important updates such as the day for the latest Macy's super de duper sale, or the slightly more interesting new campaign from JCPenney (everyday low prices, but really low prices on every other Friday, or something like that).  All this while thinking about the day, checking email and gulping down my breakfast in under 15 minutes so that I can catch the morning train with about 5 seconds to spare.

But not this morning.  No this morning, out of no where, came a tiger racing through a dreamscape.  Not one of those dreams that last :15 seconds or :30 seconds, but one that took over the entire advertising block.  An eternity by today's standards.  It was filled with images and music that were telling a story and taking you to a place that was beyond the ordinary.  To call it an advertisement is to diminish my appreciation for the craft that went into its' production.  To say it was a movie would not fully capture how impactful it was and how far it stood apart from anything I've seen before.... on morning television, let alone on television at all.

The "film" was released to celebrate the 165th anniversary of Cartier.  It is a fitting tribute to the brand.  The "film" was bold and original, making the programming that preceded it appear trivial, compared to the majesty of what just happended.  Congratulations to Cartier and the marketers behind the brand on your 165th.  The "film" is a fitting tribute and fresh start for a great brand.  

Enhanced by Zemanta

Citizen Soldier - Brilliant Advertising from the National Guard

The Citizen Soldier campaign from the National Guard could be one of the best if not the best advertising campaigns of the 2007.  It is a great example of entertainment and brand content coming together to capture and frame a set of meaning for a brand.

The campaign drives awareness through the use of movie theater advertising where a video featuring music and lyrics from 3 Doors Down captures the personal meaning of joining the National Guard.  Visuals tie the decision to join the Guard to the revolutionary routes of the United States.

"Standing on Guard for the Ones That We Shelter, Because we will always be there.  When there are people crying in the streets.  When they are starving to eat.  Right underneath my wings, you can rest your head...because we will always be there."

Powerful emotions matched to an equally important decision to join the Guard. 

At the end of the music video you are invited to download the song at the National Guard   site.  To lift response a card is distributed to all movie ticket purchasers that can be redeemed as well.  To redeem your "prize" you need to provide information that can then be used by the Guard as a follow-up vehicle where you can earn "Hooah" points.  Points are earned by responding to quizzes that are sent to participants via email.  They can be redeemed for National Guard merchandise.  Great method to keep mildly interested individuals engaged.

The decision to join the National Guard is personal and complex.  Advertising limited to :30 seconds in length couldn't possibly begin to deal with the complexity.  A feature length music video that is well targeted does a good job of at least getting the Guard into the career consideration set for individuals between the ages of 17 and .24, the primary target (you are included in the target up to age 42).

Once the Guard is at least on the target's radar other types of marketing can shift the individual toward to the decision to join.  While it is easy to criticize the campaign for not dealing with the "300 pound guerrilla in the room" , the possibility of personal harm, unclear commitment terms and deployment to Iraq, these issues are best left to  other forms of persuasion and information.

The National Guard's primary competition is other branches of the military.  The campaign does a good job of creating an understanding of why the Guard is distinct and important from other services such as the Army.

Congratulations to the National Guard advertising team and their agency LM&O advertising  for creating an outstanding example of contemporary branding.

What's On The Budweiser Channel Tonight?

It used to be that every brand wanted to turn themselves into Starbucks.  Literally.  Just look at the ING cafe in Manhattan.  Now that the cafe craze is over it's on to the next trend, sponsoring content that has some remote affiliation with the brand.  Recent entries include Budweiser’s and a televising on demand type offering called General Electric Imagination Theater.

Richard Siklos writes about the phenomena in the April 15th New York Times.  His story, "A Soft Sell With Cold Hard Cash in Mind" describes how recent efforts have resulted in decent programming that has a vague connection back to the sponsoring brand.   To quote Richard, “Hey, some of isn’t half bad" and  “can material spawned in such a way be anywhere near as effective as traditional advertising, or as good as conventional programming born by creative inspiration rather than to help sell something.”  The question is can brand content or entertainment that has no association with the brand other than sponsorship generate some kind of purchase or action.

I've spent significant amounts of time exploring the development of content that has a brand purpose.  For the USArmy I went so far as to develop an entire TV channel as a way of  influencing a hard to reach 16 - 24 year old target that wouldn't think to give the Army the time of day.  I've built the  business case and worked with a team that created multiple programming concepts.  There is no question that the economics of television channel development and the possible affect it can have on brand purchase behavior make it a worthwhile pursuit for any advertiser that spends $100 million a year or more (a cable or Internet channel costs approximately $60,000,000 to operate all in assuming you have 6+ hours of compelling content a day).

I've found that branded entertainment can be effective if it gets someone that wouldn't even look at a brand to start paying attention. In the case of the Army, content that has target relevance and is on a path that would lead to consideration of the Army is worth creating as part of a measurable conversion process.  It works in the same way public relations focuses on a topic of interest and then positions the brand as a source for individuals that share the same interest.

Content that has no clear link to a brand such as Microsoft's sponsorship of the Stu Osborne show, available exclusively to TIVO owners, is so allusive that I'm not sure what it does for Microsoft.  The program mimics a fake talk show and is fun to watch.  I'm not sure this makes Microsoft fun by association. 


I was never that good at the obtuse.  I think a brand should be purposeful in what it pays to communicate and the content it creates.  Now when is the next installment of Microsoft's Stu Osborne going to be on.