‘Everything is Awesome’ was the theme song for the hugely successful film ‘The LEGO Movie‘. It’s truly amazing that a family-owned Danish toy company founded in 1932 funded one of the most successful movies of all time. The financial data for this incredible example of branded content are nothing short of ‘awesome’.
To date, the movie has grossed around US$500 million, with another US$112 million in DVD sales. Add to this the increased sales of LEGO sets and the increase in visitors to LEGOLAND attractions, and we have a remarkable content-led success story.
We realise that not all brands have the budgets to replicate what LEGO did, but we do believe that this was a seminal moment in putting branded content firmly on the marketing agenda. It demonstrated how an advertiser should approach the complex world of branded content – it was seen as an investment and not just a cost.
As a result of this many industry experts now see LEGO as the new benchmark, as Red Bull has been in the past.
It’s also an example that now sets the standard by which other brands are being judged. Much has already been written about the film, but we have also seen other innovative ways they have used branded content, with ‘The LEGO Movie ad break’ being another great example which was recently discussed in the D&AD section of the 2015 Global Edition of BOBCM (Best of Branded Content Marketing).
Not surprisingly, 2015 was a year of huge debate and discussion about the future direction of branded content. Moving into 2016, the general feeling is that branded content will be at the heart of every marketing campaign in the future, the only variable being the timeframe of when this will happen – having said that, the adoption curve will vary by country and region.
What will remain constant for brands is that their potential customers (the audience) will become more and more time poor and increase the demand for instant gratification (real time). This will be driven by new technology, more capacity, social currency and the desire for more ‘stuff’.
Brands have known for a while now that they can no longer interrupt, but must reward the audience with a ‘gift’ that will enable brands to engage with them. The gift is content and it will continue to grow in importance as the market matures and develops.
One thing that will become more and more important – and it was ever thus – will be creativity. Increasingly, the added value of great creativity to break through the clutter to get noticed, to reward people, to engage people, to amuse people and to bring people a more personal engagement with brands will become more important.
Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, highlighted this in a recent article. This is a timely reminder that the creative agency business model must evolve and focus on the creative product.
We’re also seeing a new trend developing with brands launching their own channels on YouTube, or integrating their brands or products into existing channels – recent examples include McDonald’s ‘Channel Us’, Aldi (UK) supermarket, and Pizza Hut’s integration into the Legends of Gaming channel in the USA.
It’s an awesome time to be involved in the business of branded content.Future of Content
Join us at our Future of Content Marketing Summit 2016 and hear more from Andrew as he chairs this year’s conference.