Branded Content Examples

Updated Sept. 7, 2022

Branded content material as a paid promotion tactic holds energy and chance for content material entrepreneurs. It grabs client consideration and showcases the model’s worth with out showing overly pitchy or promotional.

Its non-salesy look mixed with the capability to ship deeply immersive tales, each entertaining and academic, branded content material could also be the very best automobile to bridge the hole between consciousness and ongoing affinity.

Branded content material additionally has given rise to a brand new enterprise mannequin that eases publishers’ reliance on income from conventional promoting with the addition of inner artistic businesses to execute these feature-rich, custom-made paid campaigns (extra on that time later).

In the identify of brand name love

To perceive what branded content material (also referred to as branded leisure) entails, let’s begin with a fundamental definition supplied by the web’s default dictionary, Wikipedia:

Branded content material is the observe of selling through the creation of content material that’s funded or outright produced by an advertiser… (it’s) designed to construct consciousness by associating (the model) with content material that shares its values.

As definitions go, it’s a great begin. Still, it doesn’t get to the center of what distinguishes branded content material from different paid promotion techniques like native promoting, influencer advertising, and sponsored social posts.

It additionally falls in need of clarifying the dear objective branded content material can serve for content material advertising or when it is smart to incorporate it in your content material advertising combine.

For solutions to these questions, take a look at some hallmarks of branded content material initiatives executed correctly. Branded content material:

  • Takes an immersive, sensory-driven method to storytelling. Branded content material usually makes use of wealthy multimedia codecs like audio and video and may embrace interactive options. These options can allow deeper topical conversations and extra emotionally resonant experiences than textual content or static photos alone.
  • Builds connections by mutual pursuits and shared values, not gross sales targets. These content material items usually set up thought management, elevate consciousness, and generate optimistic model perceptions. They usually tend to be considered as worthy of the viewers’s belief and a focus as in comparison with extra product- and pitch-driven codecs like digital adverts.
  • Contributes throughout the funnel. Branded content material campaigns broaden a marketer’s attain and seize new audiences’ curiosity. Yet, these tales are additionally well-suited for lower-funnel targets. In truth, 2021 analysis from Advertiser Perceptions finds 31% of manufacturers use the method to extend product consideration, and 29% use it to drive gross sales.
  • Enables on-the-go engagement. It’s straightforward for manufacturers to publish branded content material campaigns throughout a number of social networks, owned media properties, and different exterior web sites. Furthermore, these efforts are well-suited for cellular consumption as a result of they’re primarily audio and video-driven.
  • Is usually produced by a media partnership. Branded efforts are extremely custom-made. Both the model and the goal media platform collaborate on content material creation. Compared to native promoting’s paid placements, co-producing tales with publishing properties that share your values and pursuits makes it simpler on your model’s messages to achieve traction. It additionally offers either side a vested curiosity in guaranteeing the content material succeeds – a profit that won’t exist when working with paid influencers.

At their finest, branded content material campaigns create advertising experiences virtually indiscernible from the content material the viewers seeks from their favourite personalities and properties – together with movie studios, TV networks, and streaming media providers. Not solely does this make the content material expertise extra immersive and entertaining, however it may possibly contribute to lasting model worth.

Branded #content campaigns create marketing experiences almost indiscernible from the other content on the media’s site, says @joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For occasion, as CMI founder Joe Pulizzi identified years in the past, The Lego Movie entertained audiences and earned hundreds of thousands in income as a standard function movie. Still, it additionally carried out strongly as a advertising automobile by successful the hearts and minds of a brand new era of potential Lego shoppers.

Consider the latest #SmellWorthy branded content material marketing campaign. Created by a partnership between Old Spice and Marvel Studios, its behind-the-scenes story unfolds by a series of “outtake”-style clips shared on Twitter.

Each cheeky spot (together with the one under) options Luke Hemsworth who portrayed “Actor Thor” within the Marvel movie Thor: Love and Thunder. (His brother Chris Hemsworth is Thor within the Marvel films.) Thus, the humorous “next best thing” reference within the Old Spice tweet. As Luke as Actor Thor says, “Thor has his weapons. I have my Old Spice,”

That alone makes them entertaining promotions for the movie Thor: Love and Thunder. But by giving Old Spice a featured function within the motion, the content material extends Thor’s story past the Marvel Universe – and right into a real-world area the place “mere mortals” (i.e., shoppers) can relate.

Smell like a god. Or the following smartest thing, an actor enjoying a god. Smell like Actor Thor with Old Spice Dry Spray. #SmellWorthy @MarvelStudios#ThorLoveAndThunder Now Playing Only in Theaters.

— Old Spice (@OldSpice) July 14, 2022

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Content excellent in your model’s area

Of course, not all branded campaigns are created alike by way of their high quality, transparency, and skill to encourage shoppers to interact and work together. The further time and expense required can put these efforts out of attain for some entrepreneurs.

You don’t essentially want A-list expertise or Hulk-sized budgets. You do have to make considerate choices about what model story to inform, which media to companion with, and whether or not the potential advantages make it well worth the effort.

You don’t need A-list talent or a Hulk-sized budget for effective branded #content, says @joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These rigorously crafted campaigns exemplify easy methods to make this method repay. While they don’t all observe the official definition to the letter, every strikes a stability between highly effective media positioning and compellingly persuasive model content material.

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Birkenstock treads evenly right into a more healthy objective

Media manufacturers have invested closely in constructing their branded content material manufacturing capabilities. Some – like The New York Times, Disney, and The Atlantic – have launched inner content material studios. They allow branded content material manufacturing and publication underneath the high-quality requirements their audiences anticipate from these trusted media sources.

Birkenstock not too long ago partnered with The New York Times’s T Brand Studio for its first paid international advertising marketing campaign.

Ugly for a Reason is a three-part documentary on the historical past of the human foot and orthopedic science. The model consciousness initiative goals to clarify why the model’s footwear may not be the prettiest, however it might be the healthiest for each wearers and the atmosphere.

@BIRKENSTOCKUSA worked with @nytimes @TBrandStudio on a branded #content video series about the human foot and orthopedic science, says @joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The first two movies aired on Birkenstock’s website and The New York Times’s web site (with the third scheduled to launch in late September.) Accompanying content material consists of interactive graphics, scientific insights from the model’s subject material consultants, and private tales and testimonials from athletes, sustainability consultants, and others. In this picture from the marketing campaign, Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Thomas Südhof is pictured alongside his quote: “Breaking free from trends.”

According to Birkenstock, print and on-line takeovers additionally drew New York Times readers’ consideration to the movies. The informative, health-focused branded content material ought to assist Birkenstock attain its advertising aim – to achieve a stronger footing within the market by linking its merchandise to a stronger sense of objective.

Walmart and Yahoo add coronary heart to vacation procuring

To spur present gross sales over the 2021 vacation season, Walmart partnered with Yahoo with a branded marketing campaign that includes interactive shoppable storytelling.

Holiday With Heart targeted on turning informal browsers into consumers, offering them with present concepts, inspiration, and buy choices inside gaming and augmented reality-enhanced video experiences. In this visible instance, Walmart invitations customers to scan a QR code to entry the cellular Play for Joy sport. Players use an iconic claw-machine arcade sport to gather digital Walmart items.

Image courtesy of Yahoo (from their Content Marketing Awards entry supplies)

Additionally, Yahoo! distributed Walmart’s shoppable movies that includes way of life influencers throughout the Yahoo ecosystem, together with on Yahoo Life and In the Know by Yahoo.

Influencer Taryn Newton, as proven within the picture under, appeared within the Gifting To Win augmented-reality video collection that includes her vacation decor. The accompanying 3D interactive experience permits viewers to see how Taryn’s picks look of their dwelling areas.

Image courtesy of Yahoo (from their Content Marketing Awards entry supplies)

This challenge is a 2022 Content Marketing Award finalist within the Best B2C Branded Content class.

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Zelle and Vox Media clarify scammer psychology

Financial fraud and scams incessantly occur within the digital banking area. The schemes appear to get sneakier and extra subtle by the minute, placing added stress on monetary manufacturers to assist their prospects keep away from changing into victims.

To sort out that problem, peer-to-peer fee model Zelle invested in a partnership with Vox Media. Zelle used Vox’s Explainer Studio platform to provide The Science of Scams, a collection of entertaining long-form movies, fast-fact cutdown sequences, and extra associated content material.

Created from real-life eventualities, in-depth interviews, and insights from cybercrime consultants, the tales use a lighthearted, witty tone to assist shoppers acknowledge frequent scammer techniques and perceive the psychological causes scams are efficient.

Their urgency rip-off lesson, as illustrated under, makes use of verbiage reminiscent of “MUST ACT NOW” and  “We regret to inform you that your account has been compromised.” It speaks to using time sensitivity to stress viewers to resolve the “problem” earlier than they expertise adverse monetary penalties.

Image source

According to Zelle’s company, Pereira O’Dell, the paid media partnership allowed for distribution throughout social and digital environments within the Vox Media community. Additional content material codecs included an interactive hub page that includes podcasts, short-form movies, and quizzes.

The suave, impactful marketing campaign struck a chord with shoppers by hitting them the place it counts – their wallets. It additionally helped put Zelle on the finalists’ checklist for a 2022 Content Marketing Award within the Best B2C Branded Content class.

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HBO goes out of bounds to depart a everlasting native impression

Not all branded content material efforts should conform to the usual, paid digital media method. For instance, HBO Max spun elements of the method right into a hyper-local reside occasion to advertise its 2022 collection, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.

Winning Time explores the historical past of the Los Angeles Lakers throughout their rise to fame within the Eighties. It provides a fictionalized view of the private {and professional} lives of legendary crew members like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and coach Pat Riley.

An enduring a part of Los Angeles’ cultural identification, it makes excellent sense for HBO’s advertising crew to market it with a branded mark on town’s future.

The model upgraded an outdated group basketball court docket in Inglewood, which is in metro Los Angeles. The refurbished court docket, as proven within the illustration under, consists of an unique mural painted within the Lakers’ signature purple and yellow by California artist David Flores.

HBO scores by leaving a everlasting impression on Los Angeles.

Image source

The shiny, inviting area permits group members to collect and native youngsters to sharpen and showcase their basketball expertise. At an unveiling ceremony, HBO Max donated $10,000 to assist Inglewood College Preparatory School’s basketball program.

While the HBO Max spot didn’t contain a standard paid media placement, the model did have to safe approval from town of Los Angeles for the set up. According to Marketing Brew, HBO Max partnered with Project Blackboard – a nonprofit group dedicated to strengthening native communities by restoring basketball courts and putting in hanging visible artworks.

A brand-building pitch audiences can’t wait to catch

Are you experimenting with branded content material in 2022? These examples present how nice branded content material campaigns will help construct rapport with a brand new audience, broaden enterprise’ artistic horizons, or just entertain and interact the experience-loving lots.

I’d love to listen to how branded content material labored on your firm and about your plans for the tactic.


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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute