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article imageMarketing breakfast panel explores branded content and ecosystems Special

By Michael Krebs     Apr 28, 2011 in Business
At an Advertising Women of New York breakfast on Thursday, a marketing panel discussed the evolving role of branded content, its impact on consumers, and the multiplatform distribution challenges facing advertisers.
Ad industry organization Advertising Women of New York, AWNY, hosted a breakfast event at the New York Hilton on Thursday on what they termed "The Content Revolution."
The event featured an array of panelists and explored the advertising industry's increasing usage of custom publishing and branded content, underscoring the fact that more marketers are blurring the lines in their pursuit of long-form content and of relevant multiplatform distribution channels for that content.
Moderated by Adam Shlachter, managing partner at Media Edge, the panelists included Jill Baskin, advertising director at Kraft Foods; Jane Clarke, managing director at Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement; David Lang, head of entertainment at Mindshare; John McCarus, VP and group director entertainment and content at Digitas; Jeff Rossi, VP digital group director at MediaVest Group; and Scott Turner, VP agency sales and product development at GFK MRI.
"Consumer behavior is driven by how content is consumed," Mr. Turner said. "And there is a lot of content out there. More data was created in 2009 and 2010 than all of the years before them."
However, the definition of content is evolving, and the common thread is in how the material is consumed. If content is distributed as ideas or as entertainment, marketers are increasingly finding a need to better track how the content is shared.
"We want content that is intrinsically linked to our brands," Ms. Baskin said, emphasizing the need for context. She then detailed a program they produced for Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Called "Real Women of Philadelphia," Kraft created a recipe competition and encouraged consumers to post videos on their usage of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The campaign is still considered a major success story at Kraft, driving sales of their cream cheese considerably.
"It was successful due to its self-policing engagement," Baskin explained.
However, not all advertisers are convinced, particularly when it comes to social media and the loss of control associated with social media.
"The number of brands that will turn over control to consumers is very small," John McCaurs said. "But the consumer community needs to become brand advocates, and this should be worth the risk to marketers."
The panel then meandered into measurement possibilities in ecosystem distribution.
"We are now talking about putting watermarks and codes on content to track its distribution path through the ecosystem," Ms. Clarke said. This means that marketers will be able to follow a shared piece of content throughout the social media universe, something that is currently not available. Measurement of this nature would also have considerable benefits for publishers, as they would be able to discern how far their editorial material is traveling.
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