Branded Content

In a recent post, my colleague @justinjtsang smartly outlined the important balance point between branded vs. common interest social content within a brand’s content marketing strategy.

The key to successful content marketing boils down to building long-term trust with your audience. In order for a brand to successfully build trust, it must work to align with the different needs, interests and wants of its target audience and serve a relevant purpose in daily life.

Naturally, brands constantly face the challenge of striking the sweet spot between brand messaging and delivering an authentic experience through content that truly appeals to their audience’s interests. This was top of mind last week as I watched Casey Neistat‘s latest video for the Nike+Fuelband:

Now, I have a lot of respect for Casey. I think he’s a great filmaker and storyteller. I thought his first video in this series was brilliant:

It feels real. It feels a bit rebellious. It feels Nike without saying Nike over and over. It feels authentic.

I must admit that I sense less authenticity in Casey’s second video, Do More. I don’t want to, but I do. Is it the excessive product placement? The repeated storyline from the first video? I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s certainly a well produced video and is far better than watching a product demo, but I was left yearning for the spark of inspiration and an unforced storyline that served as the foundation for Make It Count.

I sense that the brand stepped in a bit more with a request for stronger product integration in this go around. Does it matter? The advantage that Nike has is that they are one of the world’s leading brands with plenty of established audience trust. This video will surely rack up a lot of views and engagement out of sheer solid production and is likely to prompt some purchases of the Fuelband.

What’s your take on this new Do More video? Too much branding or is it plenty authentic and a smart extension on a proven formula? Is this setting the standard for how all products should be introduced through a branded content approach?

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Content Marketing, Social Media


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