Branded content’s power – “insidious”? Really?

June 27, 2012 9:52 am

In his excellent Monday Note blog this week Frédéric Filloux dissects what he calls “the insidious power of brand content”, with some great examples, mainly from French companies.

His five reasons for the rise of branded content are worth noting:

  • It can reach otherwise fragmented audiences
  • It’s preferable to other – faltering – digital formats
  • It’s more grown-up and informational than “caricatural advertorial grossly extolling a product”
  • There is a lot of available talent to produce it (mainly ex-media, ex-editorial)
  • It is cheap compared to traditional advertising

But while much of this is a compliment on how effective the approach has become, it is also a lament for journalism and complaint about now sometimes confused audiences.

As a lover of great journalism I hear that. But there’s also something very important that underlines good brand content.

Those publishing brand content have to be open about what it is, something I touched on before in the context of media owners producing it on behalf of brands.

As I said, it can’t be anyone’s “dirty little secret”.

Filloux estimates about 30-70% of mainstream glossies’ output is brand content-related and I’d add that range sounds about right across most media.

Publishers must tread carefully so as to bring in revenue while not short-changing audiences.

It’s too big a part of their bottom line to screw up.

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