The success of branded content, analysed at UIC Barcelona’s 4th Advertising Symposium

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Jesús Segarra-Saavedra, lecturer at the University of Alicante; Tomás Ferrándiz, executive creative director of Tiempo BBDO; and Daniel Resnich, brand storyteller strategist for Goodmoment, were the individuals chosen to present their ideas to the students and industry experts

Brands use storytelling to connect with stakeholders. Narratives that highlight the brands’ strong points and move or attract customers. And while there are numerous marketing practices, one of the most notable methods currently on the rise is branded content. 

Understood as the creation of content by advertisers, branded content has become an increasingly popular form of communication and marketing. Here, content is presented in a way that provides information and is linked to a brand intent on reaching target customers in a less intrusive manner. A method analysed at the 4th Advertising Symposium organised by the Faculty of Communication Sciences.

Participants in the event, attended by over 200 people, included Jesús Segarra-Saavedra, lecturer at the University of Alicante; Tomás Ferrándiz, executive creative director of Tiempo BBDO; and Daniel Resnich, brand storyteller strategist for Goodmoment. Also present were the director-general of the Association of Advertisers and Public Relations of Catalonia, Antoni Traugott, and the director of the Barcelona School of Creativity, David Tetilla, alongside the dean of the Faculty, Alfonso Méndiz. 

Segarra-Saavedra analysed the origin of web series and their role in the growth of branded content. In his talk, the lecturer from the University of Alicante explained that scriptwriter and director Javier Fesser, best known for directing films such as The Miracle of P. Tinto and Champions, was the first person to develop a web series in Spain: La cuadrilla espacial (1999). This gave rise to a format that has made it possible to present and introduce brands indirectly yet in a position of prominence; a format which has gained notoriety around the world thanks to series such as Sex in the City, in which the company Manolo Blahnik became one of the stars. 

For his part, Ferrándiz delivered a lecture entitled “You don’t know what branded content is until you don’t do branded content: the cases of Litoral and Orca”. With regards to the former, he explained that, in 2016, the brand considered abandoning the classic “fabada” image in efforts to attract younger customers. The first idea they had for repositioning the brand was to take the grandmother out of the village and move her to the city. “She became the Internet’s most famous influencer: a 91-year-old grandmother”. To do so, the publicists at Tiempo BBDO analysed the brand’s challenges and gave the rebranding campaign a specific focus. The next step was to use the audiovisual communication channels most favoured by influencers to push the campaign (emboxing, Instagram, boomerangs, gifs...) and clearly determine the content, “which, in strategic terms, had to be quick and versatile”. Lastly, they scheduled the creation and production cycle, which lasted three months. “This is a two-year branding strategy”, he clarified. 

In the case of Orca, Ferrándiz explained that the brand wanted to create a campaign to gain international notoriety and opted for branded content as the pillar for its corporate communications. “Despite being quite a limited brand, they created an endless amount of very powerful content, such as the documentary on triathletes”, argued the expert, who concluded by saying that, “no one ever said it would be easy, but that’s why it’s so exciting”.

Lastly, Resnich, brand storyteller strategist for Goodmoment, took part in the 4th Advertising Symposium with the talk “Branded Content and its Villains: Three relevant cases: Ruavieja, Dove and Gillete”. According to the professional, “all stories have a villain” and “brands that try and be authentic and aren’t are doomed to fail”. After analysing the three cases, Resnich finished by saying that “the shortest emotional distance between two people is a story”.