Branded Entertainment Update…

…and the BIG news is of course seeing a major brand take matters into their own hands as Anheuser-Busch moves into the content creation business. They are not simply contracting it out through one of their agencies or other strategic partners, but are actually launching a full service, in-house film & TV production company.

They will focus on producing humorous shorts and sitcom-type programs to be broadcast over the internet and to cellphones that could branch into full-length films.

While they have dabbled in content before — particularly in sports TV, where its Bud Productions division recently produced National Football League preseason games for the St. Louis Rams — this initiative is the brewer’s most ambitious by far. They have the money, with funds being drawn from their $1.56 billion marketing budget.
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Paris Hilton launched the video single from her debut album on a special YouTube channel. In a twist, News Corp paid to advertise a new TV series next to the video of Hilton cavorting in the surf, producing revenue shared between her label, Warner Brothers, and YouTube. Within days, Hilton’s song had been watched a million times and her album is climbing the charts.
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Walt Disney Company’s new cellular offering, Disney Mobile, is designed to rein in your kids’ cell phone use and abuse. But you might not know about the many other parent-friendly features it offers. After all, you can only communicate so much in 30 seconds.
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Southern Comfort has produced eight short films that tell the personal stories of musicians living in New Orleans, the city of its origin. The project will benefit theSouthern Comfort Music Fund.
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OfficeMax, trying to stand out in the pivotal back-to-school selling season, is shunning traditional TV advertising in favor of a branded-entertainment project called “Schooled” that plays a “Punk’d”-style prank on a class of eighth graders. They will be Partnering With Google & Disney for the Upcoming Back-to-School Special.
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Wall Mart have given the green light to a new quasi-social online network for teens designed to let them “express themselves.” It’s called “School My Way,” but it’s nothing like MySpace, which is clearly hopes to imitate. All content is screened, parents are alerted once their kids join, and users, called “hubsters,” are forbidden from e-mailing each another. Wal-Mart wants teens to create MySpace-like profiles that let them post pages about themselves and their favorite Wal-Mart clothes, as well as personal videos.
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Food Brands Lure Kids With Games & Web Sites
Kids find online games like Pop-Tart Slalom and Chips Ahoy Soccer Shootout fun. The traffic to game sites is huge. The Kaiser Family Foundation, a food-industry watchdog, singles out such games that make kids the subject of marketing efforts to sell food. Marketers hope that by playing their so-called “advergames,” kids will remember their brands the next time they feel like having a snack.
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For NBC, YouTube & Nobody’s Watching, it was a win-win all round.
To the established media industry, YouTube has proved itself as a place to test new ideas. In July, the pilot episode of new US sitcom Nobody’s Watching was offered online. The show, which had failed to find a national US broadcaster, has now been resurrected by NBC.
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…and so, apologies for those of you expecting a story on Victoria’s Secret, maybe next time…

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