Branded entertainment: in the Trenches at nextMEDIA

Branded entertainment is getting serious scrutiny as a way to bring revenue an advertising into the online video space and beyond, and a panel of thought leaders at nextMedia Banff spent part of Sunday highlighting some branded entertainment success stories and speculating on current trends.

Vancouver’s own Sean Embury from Cossette demonstrated how they created mini documentaries about various locations in British Columbia in association with Tourism British Columbia in order to promote the province in front of the 2010 Olympics.

Jesse Albert, a new media and digital strategy agent for ICM Talent, one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies, showed the audience a web series that as he termed it “anyone can do.” But the difference was that the makers of “The Bannen Way” had thought beforehand about the brands that could be integrated into their slick crime drama.

Dayton Periera of IndusBlue showed an entirely different form of branded entertainment when they rolled out a site for Hockey Night in Canada that allowed users to remix and create video segments out of Hockey Night footage, and in the process build a community.

Jeffrey Dickstein of Ubisoft explained that his studio leveraged their video games and branded entertainment by tying it together with Ubi’s Raving Rabbids.

Albert said the great thing about branded entertainment is that it speaks to the exact audience you’re trying to reach. And a side bonus is that the talent usually does a lot more for a lot less, compared to traditional media celebrities. Embury also noted that internet talent often brings an audience with them.

Moderator Andrew Lane of Nitch proved an energetic moderator, and as he moved around and took questions, he termed himself the “Banana Republic version of Kris Krug.”