Last night, I hosted/moderated/produced a panel on branded entertainment, ‘Gaming the System: Branded Entertainment for Producers,’ at The New School that was super-hot, for two reasons. First, the session occurred during Advertising Week New York, and included a veritable all-star roster of panelists, including Ian Schafer, founder/CEO of agency Deep Focus, and founder of its recently-formed branded content studio, DFx; Will Misselbrook, head of branded entertainment Condé Nast Entertainment; Colas Overkott, CEO of multi-screen content and ad firm Sync; Luis de la Parra, senior vice president, partner solutions, Univision; Andy Oakes, managing director of the UK’s leading marketing publication, The Drum, and Warren Weideman, CEO, First Look Productions LLC.
Ian Schafer; Will Misselbrook; Andy Oakes; Colas Overkott; Warren Weideman, and Luis de la Parra.
Second, the event’s content and discussions got so hot that the NY Fire Department was called in. Yes, just as the panel discussion started, a fire alarm sounded, followed by a slightly panicked intercom message from “The Fire Captain,” beckoning us all to the street. So, an impromptu networking session, amongst 96 passionate industry professionals, convened on West 13th Street. Only in New York. Some might just call for a short networking break; they call in the fire engines with my events. That’s how we roll.
NY Fire Department fire engine and firefighters arrive at the scene, 55 West 13th Street (note: a server in a 4th-floor rack overheated, and set off a temperature alarm. Yep – we were jes too darn hot…)
Ian Schafer showed a Ruffles case study on brand engagement, and discussed his views on the shortage of good content, saying that distribution has exploded, with new platforms every week, but great content has become more of a premium. Ian founded DFx to “take back” the production control of branded entertainment.
Ian Schafer, founder/CEO of Deep Focus and DFx, discusses the new branded entertainment production paradigm
Luis de la Parra showed how T-Mobile and Univision have partnered on a Youth Awards program with a Miami event that now includes multiple platforms, and creates strong brand extensions.
Luis de la Parra presents the Univision-T-Mobile branded entertainment case study
Colas Overkott showed Sync’s revolutionary Sync2Ad product, which has enabled – for the first time – synched TV-mobile ad units for brands including Samsung, Dunlop, and Air France, among others.
Colas Overkott demonstrates Sync’s Sync2Ad product
Warren Weideman discussed the “Top 10 Things Not to Do in Branded Entertainment,” and gave great historic examples of brand integration into films. His new show on CBS, ‘The Inspectors,’ produced with Litton Entertainment, looks at postal inspectors, and includes U.S. Postal Service participation.
Warren Weideman discusses the “Top 10 Things Not to Do in Branded Entertainment”
Will Misselbrook discussed his work with luxury brand Coach, and how he essentially led branded entertainment for a company that had not developed a solid branded entertainment play. Andy Oakes discussed the differences between U.S. and UK audiences and regulators with branded entertainment, noting that the tradition of non-commercial television had limited the scope of branded entertainment, but cited the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) as one of the groups leading the growth of branded entertainment in the UK.
Will Misselbrook, head of branded entertainment for Condé Nast Entertainment, with Andy Oakes, managing director, The Drum
The value of branded entertainment with jaded audiences, including millennials less susceptible to traditional advertising, led to discussion of storytelling for brands. The discussion, in a room full of producers, led to numerous conversations about platform-specific stories, whether on Snapchat or YouTube, that have now created a hunger for content that is instantly shareable.
The evening was significant for myself and for the guild. It was almost 10 years to the day that the PGA-New School relationship was formalized (for the record, we did an event on podcasting that featured the likes of Robert Spier, from NPR and Peter Rojas). Sponsored by the Media Studies program at The New School, our PGA New Media Council East salon series has included a number of venues (including The Core Club; the 57th Street Screening Room), but our relationship with The New School is special. And enduring.
Paul Hardart, Director of the Media Management Program at The New School, welcomes the audience.
Colas Overkott; Chris Pfaff; Luis de la Parra; Warren Weideman; Andy Oakes, and Ian Schafer after the PGA New Media Council East panel on branded entertainment, at The New School, 09.30.15