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Online Video the Next Frontier in Branded Content

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Branded entertainment. Content Marketing. Bespoke Content. Whatever you want to call it, digital video programming that integrates products and brands is one of the hottest topics at the 2014 NewFronts presentations to advertisers.

The New York Times reports Monday that major brands such as Bacardi, Jeep, Chevrolet, and BMW are all moving to get their products and brands placed in online digital video, just as they’ve done in television programming for years.

Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars,” for example, was just renewed by Crackle for four new seasons—all of which will be exclusively sponsored by Acura—making it one of the most prominent examples of branded content currently in the marketplace.

But while this kind of product placement may be less annoying for viewers than traditional advertising—and especially the nearly ubiquitous pre-roll ads now found on YouTube and other video sites—branded entertainment poses its own set of problems for content creators and advertisers.

According to The Times:

“There can be no doubt in consumers’ minds when content is paid for and when content is editorial,” Trevor Fellows, head of global advertising sales at The Wall Street Journal, said after a NewFronts event sponsored by the newspaper last Friday. “It’s a key principle,” Mr. Fellows added, that is held dear by “too few publishers.”

In a sign of the growing importance of branded marketing to the industry, Corbis, the image and video licensing agency, is planning to unveil a new “Branded Entertainment Network” interactive platform that will “give marketers access to placement opportunities,” according to The Times’ Stuart Elliott.

BEN is going live with 600 “placement offerings,” as well as a partnership with Universal McCann.

Read More: The New York Times

Brief Take: As ad dollars shift to the digital space, greater numbers of brands are looking to the native and online video for product and brand placement opportunities that will be less off-putting to viewers than traditional advertising or pre-roll video.

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