It was a refreshing change for me at the just concluded Spikes Asia. I usually judge in the digital category but this time it was the newly introduced category of branded content and entertainment. Being that India is a country that practically runs on branded content (but is really not aware of the same), I was glad the opportunity came my way to witness the best work from Asia.
As expected the Australians dominated the category (with their wit), followed by the Japanese (with their technology). After seeing the entries, I could not help but conclude that some of the work that had happened in the Indian subcontinent could stand a very good chance. The Dewarists was one piece of work that comes to mind. Why that was not entered is beyond me; I truly believe if it had been entered, it would have stood a very good chance to bag a Silver (if not a Gold). However, this does not mean the entries that were entered were pushovers. I just think that India is a country that has some quality branded content.
Getting back to the entries. We had an amazing variety of entries, from the witty to the emotional, from the simple stuff to the ones backed with complex technology, and from the ones that were pretty disruptive to the ones that were pretty disturbing.
Now judging entertainment, one can get carried away by the nature of the content, so we had to have the parameters set in place - what does this do for the brand, does this content appeal to its target audience, is the material inspiring or original, did this content have a meaningful outcome, and lastly, did it entertain.
Technology is a parameter that has now become an integral part of branded content as it enables content to become user inspired or generated and the avenues of distribution increase exponentially hence making the brand’s ROI a really good one.
So here are the ones that impressed the jury at the Spikes Asia 2012. ‘The Kiwi Skeptics’ won the Grand Prix. Pedigree’s ‘Donation Glasses’ took Gold with its impressive combination of technology and storytelling. ‘The Great Crusade’ from Qantas took home a Silver and demonstrated a good example of effective disruptive marketing. Though ‘M.J. Bale - Grazed on Greatness’ did only make it to the shortlist, I thought it was a great example of a fairly small brand in the space taking on the BIG boys.
Lastly, I thought of mentioning a few pointers if you wish to engage in a good content strategy. Firstly, and most importantly, content is your asset ... you need to be treating it like one. Never underestimate the content creation effort (I believe most of us tend to do that in India). Understand your content’s environment and adapt to the same. Your content needs to be monitored constantly and be prepared for change if it does not work. And last but not least - ask why and start small.
Carlton D’Silva is the chief creative director at Hungama Digital Media and has spent over 15 years in the digital space. He takes insult when you call the digital medium new media…15 years should be old enough!
Find him on twitter@TheWordOfGawd