Superpanel: Turning Brands into Content Studios – MIPTV 2017

Bonjour good afternoon and a very warm welcome to what has optical e been built as a super panel this is it on how some of the world's leading brands create their own content to engage and delight consumers my name's Adrian barrack I'm global brand director of campaign this is a hell of a challenge as Adam Harter was just explaining for those of you that were in the previous session because everyone from teenage bloggers to global media networks and social media beer myths masquerading as technology platforms everyone is creating content it's an almighty battle for attention in many ways though brands have very little choice because advertising is in such trouble Apple is rolling out ad blockers for 800 million users the popularity of the skip ad function on YouTube is growing and a study recently found that 89% of the ads in the UK eighty-nine percent which of them on which 18 point million pounds was spent weren't noticed at all meanwhile alternatives are gaining traction channels like YouTube read the ad free paid for services expanding around the world product placement is growing at 13 percent in the US alone in 2015 but there is another option and that is to engage consumers by entertaining them who knew some would argue that the 2014 lego movie was the best ad ever made and it grossed four hundred and sixty eight million dollars in ticket sales alone I'm delighted to say that joining me today are three leaders in the field who put entertaining content at the heart of their marketing strategy first to my left we have Lou our better who is GM of PepsiCo's new creators league studio which is a global creative hub for all branded content from films to music social content and VR Lou's breakthrough content includes the hugely successful halftime Super Bowl show the groundbreaking PepsiCo integrating with Fox's hit Empire which you've just heard about if you listen to Adam harder the video hit uncle drew and digital series starring Kyrie Irving and Jeff Jeff Gordon this creative work has been recognized through numerous awards that pan Lyon the Clio's and the Addie's and of course now PepsiCo has been named MIPTV 2017 brand of the year and we've got Valera second Cova who is a project manager at wargaming and award-winning online gaming developer and publisher Valera has more than nine years experience in the game development industry and has risen through the ranks from Content Manager to senior business analyst she currently leaves a number of projects connecting with users and promoting the values of the business on some of wargaming's biggest franchises such as World of Tanks and world of warships the current focus includes using documentaries to inspire young people about military technology and world history and as with leuh and finally on my far left is David Beebe a producer and former VP of global creative and content marketing at Merritt international David is an acclaimed global creative and content marketing leader who's won two Emmys for his work and was named branded content master by adweek merit he headed the branded content agency Marriott content studio and M live which is responsible for real-time marketing David's work at Marriott was recognized by winning the 2015 MIT TV Award for brand of the year – got to MIT TV brand of the Year winners on the panel with us this afternoon so that's our that's our panel and moving on to questions really about how how our brands actually approach the the creation of content I guess the first thing I want to ask and and it's hopefully without mentioning the C word is how your branded content fits into your overall marketing strategy and just starting with you Lou obviously we've heard a lot about Pepsi this morning those that stayed with us how does it all hang together in terms of the overall marketing of Pepsi at our company we the brand teams always love to push the envelope and love to get into whatever is new they want to be the first so we've actually had some brand teams come come to us and say alright I want three feature-length films right out of the gate I don't even want to do any TV anymore and you have to kind of pump the brakes and get them to understand that you know you can't turn it all the way up to eleven there's still some basic blocking and tackling so it is part of the mix right but we're realizing that the right type of content you often can create lots of content for social and even television yes so we actually kind of go upstream quite a bit into their strategy and a story that they want to tell yeah it's a little different that some of our brands are very used to you know what is the summer season story that I want to tell for effective entertainment for this type of content they really need a larger story yeah once we we help them identify that then you can start to really understand where a long-form I fit we're social plays role if television is needed where it plays a role so it's really kind of helping them craft a larger story together I've got it let's know I mean it sounds complex but you know the way used to describe it sounds very very clear Venera I just did for the benefit of those that paps don't know wargaming how important to war game is the pro that process of educating potential users of all ages about military is in history how does that get them hooked on the on the games yes we just our the convention is supposedly for education because when you start the game it's very easy to start the but hard to master our games not about Alfred Wars or something that is it exist in real life our games about the military vehicles so to succeed is a game you need to understand how to fight what set it to take how the Emer wars how the main caliber fries and so on so we show is in our documentaries compare is the real history how it was done you can make a some burrows for you don't use these knowledge is in the game and the history lover are more succeed in our game what you don't got it okay now to turn to you David I'm just talking about your your work at Mariette I mean I think you said an interview a while ago on contently that Merritt is a media company now I mean what how'd it happen what do you mean by that and how does that mean that the how does that how does it work for the branded content to fit within the overall marketing strategy well I think Marriott and their portfolio of 30 brands within it's it's a very experienced a brand right that people really have a personal connection with because they're staying with us would make a joke before that we have a very intimate relationship with our customers because they do sleep with us yeah but it's the the goes back to sort of the why of the content studio and why we've launched it three years ago yeah it was really the understanding of how technology has changed the way that brands and consumers interact with each other yeah and we and I believe that Marriott and really a lot of brands have that opportunity to create goods and that's entertaining that's informing that solving problems ultimately in our space we want to go and travel yeah right so all of our content should do those things but it should really ultimately inspire someone to travel yeah if they're in our ecosystem say oh by the way we also sell hotel rooms don't you want to stay with us yes so it's it's flipping that on its head where it's very either we must provide value to them first yes right and I think as all the brands that are jumping into content are starting to realize that you can do that it's really about stop interrupting what consumers are interested in and become what they're interested in and entertainment and contents a great way to do that and then ultimately build loyalty as well that's an interesting point I wanted to pick up on that because I guess one of the big challenges as a brand is establishing trust and authenticity how do you go about doing that given the you know there are a lot of cynical people out there everything i yeah but you're a brand you know you you're just pushing a message this is glorified advertising how do you how do you get across the idea of actually we're for real we are here to entertain you and what we're doing is authentic we talked about that quite a bit we're blessed in the PepsiCo portfolio with a lot of brands who do have equity in certain spaces yeah or Gatorade brand they have spent you know their lives building equity and sports nutrition yeah and if you start there already consumers kind of are willing to listen to what you have to say yeah stick to those stories so that you know we just did a series of documentaries from what we called win from within productions which was about stories about people you know reaching inside of themselves to succeed yes very compelling stories and the brand had every right to talk about it yeah there was that trust there when some brands come to us and they want to go into a space that you know what they have to earn first you can't just kind of just do it out of the gate yeah you know you have to you have to counsel them on how you might want to grow that trust with consumers but it's an important question I guess filler for you is about the history being real isn't it and actually you know you're gonna have historians looking at this stuff right so you've got to get it right is that that is that the pressure in terms of establishing that trust with the audience yeah okay David what more motivating from your experiences I mean I love I think a lot of your films are essentially travel films as you were alluding to yeah how do you how do you get across the idea that they're there for real and they're not really about encouraging to people just to stay in hotels what's the what's the trick that makes that work I think with the high touch films that scripted films ever did anyone in 20 or 30 minutes our our strategy was really to move away from a really traditional marketing which is really selling features and benefits and use storytelling to showcase features and benefits of the hotel without actually saying it yeah beautiful for you see the rooms the food and beverage experience so we shot half the film in the hotel and half in the city so the idea was that the hotel was a character we never integrated into any existing creator by the way everything was developed in-house yeah and that moved it away from being an integration where it was just the brand was just there and authentic to the story and then when people saw in the city the idea was to inspire them to travel yeah so we did a lot of besides the views and engagement and people what are saying so we were able to sort of check the box on traditional marketing stuff and changing perception of the brand new brand recall but we also created sales packages around all of our content so this example french-kiss a short film we shot in Paris about two years ago it's a love story with the business traveler we created the French kiss sales package that package did in two months $500,000 of revenue for the hotel yeah the idea there was that you got a great rate you've met the GM you would get a private tour of everywhere we shot which was like the Eiffel Tower like all those places and it's just really creating a custom experience around things so then we're actually able to showcase now our films are actually bringing money back in all right so we're covering the cost of them and then to your point has had a media company because we produce it in a way where the story is where the brand is just part of it a lot of other distributors don't view it as branded content right so now those films are going on to be licensed to other distributors as original content it just happens to come from a brand yeah interesting yeah yeah but you've had to work to get to that point yeah absolutely um one of the things that obviously that that's that's shaping out all our worlds right now is technology and and I mean Adam in his talk and about PepsiCo alluded to just the the myriad of platforms that you have to work on how is that how is that changing the way you're thinking about content how you create it how you distribute it but we're already seeing everyone from Sony to Microsoft Google Facebook investing billions in VR headsets and so on appeal what's the big shift that's happening there right now Luke I mean it's I'm sure everybody here is very excited about what technology offers to help tell more compelling more emotional stories yeah and what we're trying to do more of is build the content from the ground up for certain technical platforms yes instead of taking existing stuff and just throwing it on where VR is very interesting I think increasingly we're spending a ton of time in AR as we feel there's a lot of opportunity in the augmented reality space yeah but even existing platforms like Facebook 360 and things like that we were building content just for that and so it's not even the newest and hottest that I don't even think some of the existing technology has been really fully realized and how it can tell its story so some of the stuff we're doing in that platform is going to be pretty amazing I mean he's talked earlier well Adam was alluding to that that the the way that the new series of Empire will be done Mobile first and so that must be a big game change of you yeah you know it's funny because we all sure everybody kind of gets this a lot everybody says certain things you know when they're brief like I want this whatever I'm asking for I want it to be mobile first yeah and you know it has to be that's actually happening now after years of talking about it well it's for real there's a difference between writing in a brief and actually having the understanding to bring it to life effectively right I think some of the work that we're doing with Empire does a great job yeah really being mobile first because in fact it's not available on other platforms and that's putting your money where your mouth is yeah but some folks you know they write things and in the briefing they don't really follow through on it certainly from an investment standpoint but when you do that you can create some pretty breakthrough yeah sure like Empire Blair what about you that VR must be a big – I yes this a masseur for us as a game developer me we just have no choice we need to use the technologists the the first stage we have they are Morris for example it's give our players the opportunity to pretend like the city is a tank happy and looking around or you can go we say we are through the authorship of the for example machine your department where you can never get even you're in museums also use a argument reality we make a different application when you can for example make a shot of some place that is well known and put a shipping inside it so uses look like for fun for entertainment therefore gives the opportunity to share the what about us thank you what Davy what about you at well how do you see technology shaping the world you're in a particular I guess looking ahead to your work as a producer now you obviously got to get your head round what all this means in terms of opportunities yeah I think there's a lot of opportunity I would say in the storytelling in general I think and if you're from a brand world I think that the CMO and really or your CTO should really be best friends those two it's really technology and marketing is so closely tied together now we've done some we doesn't be our stuff again is experiential brand that's an easy to see we're going to do you know the teleporters and some merit hotels you can actually get a headset and transport yourself also to different locations yes inspiring people to travel we did some stuff with GoPro yeah I'm at the are beach properties in Caribbean Latin America and then I think from a social media thing one of the coolest technologies that we've have used and implemented into our real-time social media command centers around the world is a technology called hyper right which is geofencing location so in Marriott's case with geofence all 6,700 hotels well it captures all conversations that take place on social media and on Instagram and Twitter public conversation and then it's a whole system platform that alerts you yes Marriott's case it would identify what people were doing a property saying hey having a great time with the pool enjoying the wedding whatever it may be and they may not tag us so normally we want to know right well because of this technology we're able to capture that and then make a decision on what do we want to do Wow so we would do upgrade through this in champagne to the pool it's the next time you're at a Marriott hotel try it you out say hanging by the pool could use a good bottle a good drink and see if they reply but the response rate has been 82% or higher when we've actually engaged with consumers on that platform Wow and that's another piece of content right even though social it's another piece of content that's being developed this is really bringing the digital and the real together yeah just I I'm talking about your time at Marriott where where did you sit as content creators in the sort of marketing structure of the business were you reporting to the CMO or did you sit to one side of that marketing infrastructure so our approach runner launched 2-3 years ago was to have a centralized content studio yeah that that all these sort of content marketing anything that was story driven that didn't fit in traditional marketing went through the contents to be a both way so that meant we were developing ideas taking them to the brands the brands would say hey we kind of maybe want to do a short film or we want to do something what do you think we would then take that and help develop them develop the idea right then we would actually go so once we passed that say then we would go find the right creative partners yeah to actually execute so we a lot of people I think thought we built some massive studio with thousands of employees and lights and cameras there's nothing like that exists we did hire people from media and storytelling and journalists those types to develop a strategy and kind of bring the creative idea we wanted to do together to a place where we felt comfortable but then it was going to the creative community and building those partnerships to have the storytellers do it the right way go to New York you're nodding that you're in a similar position aren't you at PepsiCo yet has it been hard to get acceptance from your senior colleagues I mean you know terms of the value can bring to their marketing campaigns not not at all again our company leans in to this type of stuff that hasn't been the challenge but there's always the challenge there are a number of different ways to get to the end goal yeah very much agree with some things that David said that we we were faced with some choices to how do you staff the studio for example yes you bring you know a hundred people and immediately are we kind of summarize our role really as the bridge between our brands and partners and increasingly even partners of PepsiCo retail restaurant partners want to use our capabilities as well which is great but brands and partners and we're the bridge to the creative community yes so for whatever brand needs come through the door and as we work with the brands we realize what stories they want to tell and we help them refine some cases define those stories then we'll go to the right storyteller for that brief for that yeah specific story and so if you want to tell real life stories you want a documentary filmmaker so somebody like David darg who worked on some of the Gatorade films yeah and and when you do that the right kind of storytellers match to the right brief you get incredible results like that that film was just accepted into the Tribeca Film Festival which Sammy's you know we don't set out saying yeah that's what we're gonna do but you know that's not the brands weren't thinking that way but certainly David darg was yeah so matching it's it's really how it's done it's the trick and I guess obviously getting results I mean I think the David you mentioned that the film french-kiss that didn't that generate something like half a million pound dollars worth of additional revenue just that yeah and then and that's where I think if you set this up right you have that up to really take marketing from a cost center actually into a revenue Center yeah and that's why I was living in to as a media company because it doesn't work with all types of content yeah you did all types of short form and just stuff on YouTube but with that stuff that's really story driven you know hides that value to the distributor's we were able to showcase wait a minute now we're making money and now that will go back into marketing yeah but if you look at all your distribution channels and and again tell the story in a right way where it's ultimately entertaining and the brand is just there for the ride and the vehicle I think you you can't actually shift and bring money back in falero that yeah does everyone at wargaming get why you do these the films that you make and the documentaries is it as its seen as it important all of you had to really argue the case for for doing them process we are always working here but connection with the players and if they're interested in some special shapes they want to know more we talk about it you know all our video production is inside the product team so we never use something like separate we are totally secluded in one in one cycle so they can produce the let's leave like or one from us got it okay I'm just we're nearly out of time I can't believe that time has flown certainly for us up here it might not be for you down there obviously but I just wanted to look ahead a bit really I mean how how optimistic are you about the future brand content as being absolutely integral to marketing campaigns being accepted by consumers is just a natural part of the kind of media ecosystem Lewis smiling so I've got the awesome probably yes while the out of the job yeah well that's though I didn't think of that I'm obviously bullish and we're all out here in this beautiful place talking about these great stories that we get to tell from a brand standpoint though having worked you know 13 years at this company working on the brand side for a lot of it we this is just a different way of telling the stories and ultimately this is a great time because some of the most creative storytellers on the planet are very happy to work with brands yeah there is no stigma attached to it but how you work with them is is the key to success and right now we're finding if we just put those unbelievable storytellers in the same room as the brand decision makers and there's not all these layers in between em we're just getting beautiful results and the stories are better so the future of branded content is really limitless if done the right way and and the brands are happy the creative team is happy and ultimately the business moves in the right direction so it's yeah I'm pretty bullish but it needs collaboration I think we were chatting earlier and and you know Rigo collaborate much exactly which is hard in this industry I know the brand team cannot feel like they understand this is the way to direct something yeah right so everybody needs to come together to the table with an ego recognizing there are certain things you don't know but when you do that it's I mean the results can be beautiful David you're noting there you've not some mistake yeah absolutely I think I think what's changing really is the model on how contents all being produced right so people who would say mobile first their TVs dead whatever I don't believe in any of it I think that it's great content will get watched you do need to market it that's one of the biggest mistakes brands make is they make something and they spend no money marketing it yeah but again it's an idea that if you you can bring a brand you can bring a production company you can bring a you sir together to create a story what I think is new is that brands are now realizing that by investing in those those projects they can actually be a part of it and own IP and actually start to build a media business versus just renting an audience Yeah right because previously be like hey I'm a producer I'd go to the brand here's I'm gonna put your brand in my show you know I mean the money thank you and go home now the brands I think the right ones and content stores are not getting a little smart saying wait a minute here the models change and there's an opportunity for us to all have a seat at the table and in many cases in some TV stuff brands are fully financing these TV shows yeah but I think you can in a funny way it's we're kind of going full circle right back to soap operas and youngji yeah that started with branded content right they they created it sponsored it and owned it I think that's that's a great note to it to end on really was part of a part of a history sorry we're out of time thank you so much for listening but a bubble thank you to our excellent panel this afternoon let's show our appreciation in the normal way thank you you

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