Stirrings of a Branded Doc Backlash – and the Need for Transparency & Best Practices


Late last year – just a few weeks ago – I predicted that we’d see a branded content backlash in 2020. I assumed this would be caused by a Jenner/Pepsi type moment, but we may be seeing the beginnings of this backlash in a new piece from 100Reporters, detailing many recent transparency and ethical lapses in branded content. Most of the criticisms are well-founded, but they also point to some steps the industry can take in 2020 to mitigate the consequences of any backlash – namely, by developing best practices for branded content, starting with transparency when it comes to brand funding and goals.

The article, Documentaries as Advertising - Corporate Interests Turn to Indie Docs for Influence; Audiences in the Dark by Tim Schwab, argues that too many corporate-funded documentaries hide