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Advertisers! Stop Making Long, Boring Ads Called Branded Content

With DVRs, binge-watching, and other commercial-free viewing opportunities, consumers aren’t watching traditional ads like they used to. In response, many brands are starting new in-house agencies to produce fresh, innovative work in the form of branded content. But for all the supposed difference between branded content and traditional ads, most brands approach both in the exact same way. Too many brands see branded content as an excuse to make long, dull advertisements. Then, stuck as they are with a boring product, brands spend substantial amounts of money on a media buy to support these long ads. Success is measured by likes and shares. But that’s not real success; the likes have simply

DIY Data Dabblers be Damned: Programmatic & Brand Safety

Using data to determine audience is a no-brainer. But you’d better use a brain when implementing that data. Take programmatic for example. It’s not difficult to understand why programmatic ad buys are popular. In theory, it’s a dream come true. However, there are pitfalls to going all-in on a system that isn’t necessarily fully understood by those jumping to use it. Just look at what happened with last month’s brand safety crisis. The inclination of the industry is to lay blame at the feet of Google and YouTube, But consider this - shouldn’t the brands and agencies that rushed to use what turns out to be a leaky system be culpable also? In the race to compete for content creation and exposur

Q&A With Zefr’s Andrew Serby

Zefr, the video advertising and digital rights management platform, sets itself apart by taking a unique approach to data-driven audience selection. We chatted with Andrew Serby, Director of Marketing at Zefr, about “Mindset Marketing”, brand safety, and the importance of reaching the right audience at the right moment. -- At Zefr, you practice the art/science of Mindset Marketing. What is that? Basically, the concept of Mindset Marketing came from applying the relevance of search - being useful for consumers when they are actively seeking out information - to the power of video. Combining the two, and reaching consumers with video ads at the precise moment they're most interested in hearing

WARNING: Wide Leap Ahead!

A wide media leap lies immediately ahead. Marketers take heed! Seriously. The noise factor has turned up significantly during the first quarter of 2017, alerting the media and marketing world that the future is arriving fast and it’s real. It may be augmented and virtual, but it is real and it is nearly upon us. The evolution of media is marked by technological advancements, leaps if you will, that dramatically alter the way information and entertainment is delivered and consumed. These leaps vary in length of their stride. The wider the leap, the greater impact it has on business, society, culture, politics and government. These leaps are BIG deals and the one that lies ahead is HUGE, maybe

Learning to Embrace “The Whole Influencer”

Embracing influencers for what they are can be tricky. All at once they are the writers, directors, producers, editors, stars, publicists, and managers of their personal brand. They are the renaissance men and women of new media, and because of this, it can be difficult to determine how, as a traditional business, to engage with such an entity. For some time the model has been to lean toward treating influencers like talent. Although this is understandable (what other pre-existing model is there for working with an individual who appears on camera?), ultimately the nature of this model yields stale, false content. It also undervalues influencers’ abilities as storytellers. These do-it-yourse

Get Real: Achieving Authenticity in Branded Content

Buzz. It is the all-important pot of gold at the end of a content marketer’s rainbow. Brands want their content to achieve buzz-worthy status, but they ought to careful what they wish for. Generate the wrong kind of buzz, and rainbow-filled skies can turn to stormy showers in an instant. Take Pepsi’s social snafu from last week, for example. The now infamous Pepsi ad theoretically ticked all the buzz-worthy boxes for a piece of new media advertising (2-minute spot suited for sharing on social? Check. Mega-Influencer front-and-center? Check. Current/hip representation of target audience? Check.). However, the ad not only came under fire repeatedly for co-opting the serious act of protest to s

The Branded Content Pool Party is a Rager!

The lanes have come down. The high-dive is open. The water is alluring. Everyone wants in the pool! I was talking with a friend last week who had just come off a multi-day shoot for a brand-funded scripted show. “It’s like a pool party gone wild,” he told me. “There are no lanes, everyone thinks they can direct and the brand team is splashing water everywhere. I’m just glad it’s over.” “Pool parties are supposed to be fun,” I reminded him. “Not when everyone is misbehaving,” He bemoaned. “It makes it really difficult when there are no boundaries and no filters between the brand and the production. Agencies have a big role to play here and they are being silenced and sometimes not even invite

Who Says Your Brand Can’t Star in Branded Social Video?

We all know it’s difficult to reach consumers with traditional ads in this incredibly fragmented media landscape. Brands need to make deeper emotional connections to break through and engage with consumers where they live: online. Enter Branded Social Video. These pieces don’t make it their goal to interrupt what consumers are watching, nor is their goal to be all that consumers are watching for a duration. Instead, their goal is to get added to the YouTube play queue and watched between funny cat videos and the week’s greatest fails. Two of the biggest names in this game are Lyft and GoPro. Virality may be a dirty word in the world of brand marketers, but these brands have achieved that and