Best in Branded Content to be Rewarded at the Webbies

By Melinda Wearne, The Content Agency

Melinda Wearne - The Content AgencyLast month MIPTV hosted a banded Entertainment Summit for the second time. Doug Scott, President of OgilvyEntertainment, kicked off with a state of the industry, calling 2012 the tipping point for branded content as brands are looking for new ways to engage consumers and the entertainment market projected to be worth $1.8 trillion by 2015. Branded content is not new, but it’s increasingly gaining momentum and turning into big business with substantial results.

The world’s best in web-based branded content is being honoured at the 16th annual Webby Awards. The winners have been announced and will be fêted at a star-studded ceremony at The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on Monday, May 21.

The 16th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from over 60 countries worldwide and has four main categories: Websites, interactive advertising & media, online film & video, and mobile & apps. The fact that Online Film & Video is one of the four key pillars of the awards recognises the increasing importance of video content as an integral part of any digital marketing strategy.

Over 20 categories are listed within online film and video and all nominees have premiered their work online.  For the sake of brevity we’ll look at only at branded entertainment. The nominees are…

1. Catvertising

Catvertising is a humorous video made to promote advertising agency John St. located in Toronto. It is a spoof that claims in order to stay on top of the ever-changing advertising landscape John St. has opened the world’s first “cat-video division”. According to their entry information, the video generated 1million views within 12 days, was no.3 on YouTube’s top10, no.1 on the mashable global ads chart and received an offer from NBC to be turned into a reality show. There’s no statistics on how many new clients walked in the door, but a quick look at their YouTube channel suggests the parody had more mileage than just the initial promotion. Cat video commercials exist for three of their clients: WWF, Tetley tea bags and Mitsubishi.

2. Day One Documentaries

With 2/3rds of Americans feeling they’re not financially prepared for retirement, Prudential financial services commissioned a large campaign through Droga5. The result was “Day One”. In 2011 the campaign asked hundreds of people across the US to photograph their first day of retirement. Droga5 then made several short films about people’s retirement on Day One. The videos were placed on a purpose build site for Prudential that also provided resources to help people plan for their own retirement.

3.  K-Swiss, MFCEO Kenny Powers

An installment in a series created by agency 72andSunny that shows Kenny Powers (fictional main character from HBO series Eastbound & Down) completing a hostile takeover of K-Swiss shoes.  K-Swiss are taking a gamble with this campaign that is built around the character of Kenny Powers who is an offensive egomaniac, but the humour is generating massive views on sites such as funny or die where the video has 700,000 views. It’s generated over 3million on YouTube and according to “Whoever decided to make Kenny Powers the spokesman for K-Swiss doesn’t just deserve a raise. They deserve a medal”.

4. Smartwater – Jennifer Aniston ‘Sex Tape’

Jennifer Aniston tries her hand at making viral video in this new clip for Smartwater. Parodying and implementing a range viral memes: puppies, dancing babies and a double rainbow. Created by Zambezi advertising in LA, the SmartWater YouTube channel has generated over 10million views. It’s no doubt an expensive campaign, but one that seems to be paying off.

5. The Most Amazing Beat box Video Ever

Trace Urban TV, an international urban music channel needed to launch its French version. In January of 2011, DDB Paris came up with the modestly titled “the most amazing beatbox video ever!” which showcases French beat box phenomenon EKLIPS performing a four-minute history of hip-hop in one single take. After being posted on just a couple of Facebook pages, with no media investment, the YouTube became exponentially popular. It was shared, liked, tweeted and reached 2 million views in less than two weeks. According to Mashable in April 2012 it was one of the 20 most shared ads and currently has over 16 million views on YouTube.

And the winners:

  • The Most Amazing Beat box Video Ever DDB Paris
  • People’s Voice Winner K-Swiss, MFCEO Kenny Powers

It’s interesting to note how many of the nominees are comedies. Catvertising, Kswiss and Smart Water all use humour, in fact catvertising and Smart Water both mock and exploit funny video memes generating massive online views. Viral videos often go for humour aiming for as wide an audience as possible. However if brands are targeting specific demographics they don’t necessarily need to be funny to engage their primary audience.

“Day one” is a series of beautiful and informative profiles aimed at people seriously contemplating their financial future; they have chosen wisely not to use unnecessary gags. The winning video “beat box” is a clever concept that successfully targeted their audience in a way that appeals directly to their interests.

You can watch the winner be rewarded as the event is streamed live now in HD at or visit the iTunes store and download the Webby Awards app to watch the Red Carpet and Webby Awards Show from your iPhone.

This blog was written by Melinda Wearne from The Content Agency. This will be the first in a monthly blog from Melinda that explores the best in online branded entertainment from around the world.


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