New York Times on Branded Content

The Times reports on the spread of branded content.  A few quotations stood out for me as furthering theories:

This branded content, the term for products figuring prominently without being overtly sold, is reminiscent of “The Hire,” a series of short films by BMW that featured its cars. Produced in 2001 and 2002, the films had directors like Ang Lee and John Woo and included actors like Clive Owen and Don Cheadle.

The article is about how this website called Massify (where amateur filmmakers vie for the chance to shoot artsy commercials for products) teamed up with an Oscar winning production company Killer Films who chose the best script.

“This is a model that Massify is trying to replicate,” said Jon Kaplowitz, co-chief executive of Massify, which is based in Manhattan. “Nobody watches commercials anymore, and it’s cost-prohibitive to buy ads online, so we approached Ace [Hotel] with the idea that if we created branded-entertainment pieces, then the content itself would be a marketing vehicle for the hotel.”

That’s the idea behind itsasickness. Present compelling video segments of compelling people talking about what they’re obsessed with. Have them prove it. If the obsession is BMW, then that segment of the TV show is an ad for BMW. Or whatever. Anything. Like toys.

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