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 invited.”

As marketers continue to shift budgets towards funding the production of content, their media and agency partners are scurrying to meet those needs. Seemingly, everyone wants in the brand-funded content pool:

Publishers/Media Companies – They are launching in-house studios to help their traditional advertisers create and distribute content, ie: Yahoo Storytellers, CNN Courageous, NY Times T-Brand Studio, Washington Post WP Brand Studio, AOL Partner Studio, Viacom Velocity, USA Today GET Creative, Meredith’s MXM, NBCU Content Studio and everyone else in the media world!

Advertising Agencies – The groups that have traditionally conceived and created content for their brand clients, but that content was advertising. Now, ad agencies need to add pure content creation (not advertising creative) to their repertoire. So, along come the storytelling/content agencies, ie: The Dentsu Aegis Network’s StoryLab, Starcom’s Liquid Thread, DigitasLBI, UM Studios and more.