The Rise of “Branded Content”

Branded content is an advertising medium that “blurs conventional distinctions between what constitutes advertising and what constitutes entertainment.” While this form of advertising is not a new concept, its use has risen dramatically in recent years. The pursuit of engaging content for consumers is without end. Attention spans are short, and outlets for media are multiple. Brands must establish an identity that resonates on a personal level, and increasingly they are relying on branded content to do the job.

Here’s a simple truth about branded content: It’s hard to create! At least it’s hard to create compelling and memorable content. There is a delicate balance between the “wow factor” of entertainment and establishing a recognizable brand presence within the same advertisement. Many companies try, some companies fail. So what is a great example of effective branded content? Look no further than Chipotle’s computer-animated short film, The Scarecrow.


So why does this work so well? First, it has emotionally charged content that resonates with viewers. Chipotle’s commitment to farm-fresh food is well documented and this film perfectly articulates this. It also seamlessly integrates other marketing efforts from the company, specifically the promotion of a new iOS game from Chipotle, also called The Scarecrow. The result is an immensely popular video that has been viewed more than 6 million times on YouTube.

One of the greatest advantages that successful branded content can give a company is being a part of the “conversation.” To organically wade into consumer consciousness is an elusive goal for many companies. Doing so allows people to engage with a brand in a more meaningful way, one that will engender loyalty and top of mind awareness.

Effective branded content is the outcome of diligent development of a brand’s identity. It is not a shot in the dark or a wild swing for the fences. It is a dedicated approach that demands fluidity and adaptation. Branded content creates an opportunity for a company to differentiate itself from competitors in a unique way. Is your brand ready to challenge the world (of advertising)?