Justin has been invited to judge The Drum’s inaugural Content Awards. It’s difficult category to evaluate, which is probably why the jury of the Branded Content & Entertainment (BC&E) category at Cannes Lions didn’t award a Grand Prix.
As curator of the Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM) ebook series, Justin contacted the people judging this and other international award shows to find out more about the challenges they faced when evaluating BC&E nominations and what work they considered to be excellent.
Based on their feedback there’s still a lot of debate about what is and isn’t branded content, and how it’s different from advertising. We’ve included a few quotes below, but you can read more about what they told him over on The Drum:
With anything new the quality threshold can move very quickly, but it can mean that you’re starting at a lower place initially when compared to other more established categories like TV, Print and Outdoor advertising.
Steve Ackerman, MD, Somethin’ Else
I think [the BC&E awards evaluation process] is about what makes [the content] something the audience would seek out and engage with, rather than something that works well as a piece of interruptive communication.
Nick Cohen, VP, Little Dot Studio
The best way of defining branded content is something that’s worth the consumer’s time.
PJ Pereira, Co-founder and chief creative officer, Pereira & O’Dell (Grand Prix Winner, Cannes Branded Content & Entertainment Jury 2013)
It’s a hard category to define, and one that is inherently messy and foggy with no clear horizons because it’s horizontal.
David Lubars, chief creative officer, BBDO Worldwide (President, Cannes Branded Content & Entertainment Jury 2015)
There’s more content being created today than ever before and we are seeing this grow year over year, but what we’re not seeing is the creativity being stretched in the way it has been with previous Grand Prix winners. Not enough time is being spent developing original content that has a distinct brand narrative and extends across multiple consumer touch points. More importantly, agencies need to realise that branded entertainment is something that a consumer should seek and share rather than just gets posted, promoted and supported by a media buy.
Doug Scott, EVP Marketing & Brand Solutions, WME | IMG (President, Cannes Branded Content & Entertainment Jury 2014)
We believe that successful branded content should be evaluated in terms of the unstoppable nature of the story through engagement, influence and shareability.Anna Watkins, MD, Guardian Labs
Cristal has both an academy and a jury, the difference being that the academy has a more permanent group of experts from across the industry that advises on how to keep the category relevant as it grows and evolves. Its role also includes awarding the Grand Cristal with the Jury President, agreeing best of show from winners already chosen by the jury rather than shining a light on that one great, genre-redefining example like the Cannes Grand Prix.
Andrew Canter, CEO, BCMA
It was great to have such a broad group of people with different backgrounds and focuses [at Cannes Lions], because it meant there was a lot of good debate about what everyone was looking for.
All these issues about the challenges juries face are a reflection of an industry having to rethink what it does, how it does it and why. It’s this aspect of award shows and the BC&E category that’s most interesting to me.
Anathea Ruys, MD, OMD Fuse Asia Pacific