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April 18, 2017

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Global brands that believe themselves to be growth companies only have one question to answer, ‘where is the growth coming from?’


More brands are realising that a successful future relies on them acting like a publisher, but as any publisher will testify, this is only possible if a solution is found to monetising that content. 

These areas of growth could mobile apps, online games or TV series but the content, more than anything, needs to entertain if it is to enable brands to move from media spending, to media making money.

PepsiCo’s president of its global beverage business, Brad Jakeman, has been quoted as saying, “my ultimate goal is to have our billion dollar brands [Pepsi, Dorritos, Gatorade] funding their own marketing so that we leverage the equity of the brand to produce content which we can then sell. That money we can then put into the marketing of those brands.’

FMCG giant Mondelez have made deals with Fox and Buzzfeed to co-create and publish its content. The first piece of branded content Mondelez produced was a TV documentary, in partnership with Fox, which followed a man as he trained to jump from a plane. Without a parachute. The product tie in is a Mondelez brand of gum but, other than ‘sponsored by’ messages, it didn’t feature in the programming at all. 


Unilever are another brand that is investing heavily in their content production. They have actually invested in an in-house content studio to produce both entertaining and useful content for their audience. 

A post from Unilever on this investment mentions that they have recognised consumer search has changed so that they now seek out experiences with brands, and that “the cleverest brands use seek-out content to capitalise on this behaviour.’

Clearly global brands are making big strides towards becoming a publisher. The recent furore and problems that ad-blockers have presented to brands is another underlying reason why they are now considering branded content as a ‘must have’.  

As brands change their positioning to include, either through in-house teams or third party companies, the ability to produce content, so it will change how they will interact with each other. As branded content becomes more popular, other brands will review whether advertising on it is suitable. P&G marketing chief, Marc Pritchard, is someone who has acknowledged that this is a possibility as they want to advertise on great content, irrespective of who is producing it.


Brands know that while selling products and building the brand are both really important, generating Return on Investment is vital as that is what makes the model of branded content creation sustainable. As the adverts on a piece of content are one way that ROI can be achieved, it will surely be an area that brands look to explore and exploit. 

BCG, an American consultancy group, predict that by 2019 spending on branded content, in the U.S alone, will reach $25 billion, up from $10 billion in 2014. If this prediction proves to be true, and it shows no signs of not doing so, you can expect branded content to become a staple of a brand’s marketing strategy. 

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