The new Branded Entertainment category in Cannes explained by one of the jurors

Michael-Hilliard.jpgCannes Lions has extended the branded entertainment deadline by one week. Other categories have been given two weeks.
 
Michael Hilliard (left) from Sydney-based production company Finch, who will judge Branded Entertainment as the representative from the APAC region, weighs in on a few questions about making the best of your remaining submission time.

What is the extension going to do for Agencies?
I'm sure editors around the region will be thrilled to know they have an extra week of revisions to their case studies. But seriously, I hope it also means a few people from the region who hadn't considered entering will take the time to do it. I saw some great branded work at AdFest this year. Having lived and worked in that market for several years, it was great to be up there and re-connect with people. I'm not sure how much of that work gets entered into Cannes normally, but I would love to see it recognized this June.
How important is the case study?
Awards have been won on them, so everybody puts in a lot of effort. Of course we're also watching the actual content, which for me is critical. If you're judging other world-class awards like the Emmys or the AFI's, you are expected to watch all of the content, in many cases 40-50 hour long (or feature length) projects, and you have an Ernst &Young auditor who makes you warrant that you have watched it all. The great thing about what Cannes has done this year by giving branded it's own category is to give this work the time it needs to be judged fairly.  It's a challenge to put it up against a 15 or 30 second commercial and judge the strength of the idea. With the segmentation of a new category the projects should get the time they deserve on a more level playing field.
 
What kind of work are you expecting to see this year?
There is a misconception that the US is pioneering all the branded entertainment work and that they're going to win because they have the budgets to support it. I think that's false. In this region branded entertainment is already up and running. Almost all of the campaigns we're bidding now have some kind of 'campaign plus' element - whether that is something for the web, a live experience or something else that gives the whole project more reach.
 
What kinds of branded entertainment are working in the region?
There is plenty of big money product placement happening, but there is also really good entertainment built on brand strategy - and for me that's the stuff that really gets interesting.  Work like Mr. Pizza from Korea is great comedy entertainment for a brand and the TMB Panyee FC short is a fun positioning for a bank trying to make the difference. But it's not just smaller projects for the web: recent regional work for Air NZ, Qantas, Toyota, The Australian Air Force, Kia and others have all proved that entertainment on brand, delivered through traditional TV, print and OOH can be extended by creating content that solves a marketing strategy.
 
What would you like to see more of?
Agencies and Producers need to think about the TV landscape like the programmers do.  Every market is a little different, but with cable and free to air TV really opening up to this kind of work, it's important to get the right fit if you are aiming for a broadcast option. In Sydney we have 19 free to air television stations that can pull big eyeballs for an audience - some are a lot more targeted than others. With 7mate focused on younger males, GEM targeting women and GO winning as a TV station for young, fun people - the opportunity to create sponsored entertainment for a specific audience that is supported by traditional TV on the main channel is huge.
 
Throughout the region I would like to see more creative media spends that allow brands to get their return on investment through paid channels, but let consumers who want to spend more time with content have a more in-depth experience on-line or on a TV channel that is right for the brand. It will really drive the effectiveness of good creative.
 
Branded entries close April 13 with all other categories (except Creative Effectiveness) closing April 20.  Terry Savage, Chairman of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity says, "Branded entertainment adds a whole new chapter to the development of Cannes Lions - importantly it shows that Cannes continues to evolve and reflect the real world of the industry we work in."

7 Comments

ROBOCOP said:

Yay for Michael!

All Scammed Out said:

Just give the Grand Prix to Kenny Powers K-Swiss and let's move on. Nothing else to be seen here.

sucker for strategy said:

pull your head out of the sand

kenny is funny but not an idea, just an endorsement. and I'm pretty sure they're still a niche brand no-one wears anyway. why not give it to Apple or BMW for Ghost Protocol at that point.

More interesting:

Project X

kony2012

and just think, nobody on youku saw either of these, just imagine what the rest of the world was buying.

windsor said:

share the vision - korea - 2011

Suck on this strategy said:

As Kenny P would say, Im fuckin in you're fuckin out.

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