By Tom Bannister
Here is a roundup of some of the branded content projects that caught our attention over the past seven days:
As the world knows, Nintendo leveraged their popular piece of 1990s IP into an augmented reality, mobile game. This is a fantastic example of old IP extending into new possibilities in new media. For brands and marketers, it’s a road map for pulling off the perfect mobile experience, with engagement (with games going on for hours), social sharing, incentivized virality, monetization and driving real world in-store traffic. Currently, it’s more popular than Instagram and Twitter. Surely, we will see brands create branded presences within Pokemon with a view to driving audiences into their stores. The app does keep crashing however!
“The Runner” is a part game show, part social media experience, which premiered recently on Verizon’s Go90 platform. With the participation of Droga5, branded products are at the heart of the show experience, with participants driving Fords, wearing Under Armor and GoPro heavily supporting the show on its social platforms. As Nick Phelps from Droga5 said, “Where it gets really interesting for us at Droga5 is that the show not only happens in real time, but it happens in the real world. And in that real word, brands exist and have a part to play.” The same could be said of Pokémon Go.
“Ghostbusters” premieres this weekend, and Sony is pulling out everything marketing trick in the book to support it. In London’s Waterloo Station, Sony partnered with JC Decaux to build a giant Stay Puft Marshmellow Man, which is breaking through the station floor. This installation is aimed at generating both earned media and user-generated social media (I’m sure we will see a lot of selfies generated at London’s busiest station). “Ghostbusters” has many other digital initiatives, such as branded Snapchat duel lenses and partnerships with mobile games like Fruit Ninja, including a live Fruit Ninja tournament (Disclaimer: I’m producing it).
GoPro — Tour De France
With the Tour De France entering its final stages this week, it’s clearly been a big win for official camera sponsor GoPro. Riders from every team have been wearing GoPro cameras mounted to either their bikes or bodies, and the result has been to put the viewer into the very heart of the experience. GoPro highlights from each stage have not just been distributed across GoPro’s channels, but constantly picked up by international press.
Live Streaming and Broadcast TV
There have been a lot of live streaming, promoting partnerships announced this week. USA Network surprised fans with a live stream of episode one of the new season of “Mr. Robot” on Facebook Live. USA has scheduled a live interview session with the cast, but after 20 minutes, F-Society, the show’s fictional hacker organization, interrupted the proceedings to give viewers the whole episode. Fox Network became first network to live stream its live TV broadcast nationwide with a telecast of “So You Think You Can Dance” on Fox Now. Finally, Twitter signed a new deal to live stream three Bloomberg shows and its financial news. This isn’t just a promotional deal for Bloomberg, as the parties will apparently being sharing ad revenue.
The Ripple Effect — Red Bull
Red Bull launched an original, half-hour docu-series on Red Bull TV titled “The Ripple Effect,” highlighting successful entrepreneurs behind extreme sport companies like GoPro, Vans and Hurley’s. Red Bull TV is distributed digitally across mobile phones, tablets, consoles, OTT devices and smart TVs.
And, finally, no branded content roundup of the week would be complete without a mention of Bernie Sanders endorsement of Hillary Clinton or Amazon Prime Day. After appearing together at a rally, Sanders is hitting the press circuit, and Amazon managed to score its biggest day ever with its second Amazon prime day.