Cannes Lions 2018: Need separate teams for ad and branded content

At the recently concluded Cannes Lions Festival, Jan Livingston of Fox Networks Group and Theodor Arhio of TBWA talked about their increased focus on the content front for brands and why should creative agencies gear up for competition in the space

Akansha Srivastava
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Cannes Lions 2018: Need separate teams for ad and branded content

Creative agencies should have a separate team working on content and should not make advertising-specific people work on branded content or else the content will end up looking like long-form ads, said Theodor Arhio, Global Director of Creative and Content at TBWA.

Arhio said, “From the agency side, copywriters make horrible scriptwriters. We need hyper teams where the ad agencies people can tie up with the content entertainment people.”

Brands are moving towards bigger content space but it is still mostly in the form of long-form ads and that needs to be changed, added Arhio.

Resonating with Arhio’s point of view, Jan Livingston, EVP and ECD, Fox Networks Group, said, “A lot of times, branded content ends up being three-minute ads. To not make content look like ads, we need to be more collaborative and ready to take chances.”

Arhiosaid you have to know your brand well to create content. Ads tell people what you want them to buy and content and entertainment tells people what the brand stands for. This means that it’s important to know what your brand stands for.

Livingston said brands need to invest more in the content space. They do get excited with the content presented to them by the creators, but don’t really have the budget to invest money into it and end up making 30-second commercials.

Arhio further said that one can use the same consumer insight data for an ad to find opportunities in the content space. “Instead of putting the marketing glasses on, one can look at the insight from the content or entertainment creative point of view.”

Fox and TBWA have come together to create a new media platform ‘Unbreakable’, which is a branded entertainment platform that tells stories about people who have overcome or addressed a challenging health event.

Livingston also said that Fox has decided to reduce ad time from 12 minutes per hour to two minutes per hour by 2020.

In the coming few months, Fox outlets like Fox Broadcasting, FX, Nat Geo and their digital counterparts will begin running inspirational videos that tell stories about people who have overcome adversity. These videos will be shown during advertising time. Fox is looking for brands to sponsor the videos.

“We’ll be showing inspirational content from the series ‘Unbreakable’ instead of ads in between our shows, which will help brands attach to a more meaningful thing and in turn will be more impactful for the brand.”

Content entertainment should always be audience first and there is a lot of competition that is coming up in the space, ended Arhio. “The agencies need to take a stand in this or they will be side-lined from the business because we are seeing a lot of production companies and content creators growing in the space.”

Cannes Lions 2018 Need separate teams for ad and branded content