Branded content: You'll be back, publishers warn brands and agencies

By AdNEws | 27 June 2014

Media agencies may be talking up their ability to create content. But they should stick to what they are best at. Brands might be investing significant resource to become publishers, but most will realise it's harder than they thought and return to the specialists eventually.

At least that's what publishers think.

“We tell them you can try but you'll be back,” NewsLifeMedia CEO Nicole Sheffield told AdNews.

“Brands try to do it themselves and find it's expensive, or outsource to an agency, find it's not very good and come back disappointed to publishers – because it is a different skill set and one that journalists and publishers take a long time to hone.”

As agencies continue to diversify their businesses, content creation units seem to be springing up everywhere. But Sheffield pulled no punches.

“It's a bit silly for [media] agencies to think they are content creators. It's quite a different skill set.”

The best approach is collaboration, she reckoned.

See what brands including ANZ, GE, Origin, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Lion and Westpac had to say about that, along with Publicis Mojo, MediaCom, Edge, Editor Group, Fairfax, Southern Cross Austereo and Sound Alliance. The new AdNews print issue, out today (27 June) covers branded content and custom media in one handy special report. Subscribe here, or get it right now on your iPad.

Also featured is marketing editor Rosie Baker's Cannes wrap, covering David Droga and Sir John Hegarty on following the idea, not the money; Beats marketing boss Omar Johnson; head of self-marketing at brand Kimye, Kanye West; Unilever CMO Keith Weed and astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Elsewhere a big network cheese gives ad agencies five years to live at the current rate of cost cutting by brand owners. Agencies should read that within the next five years.

Meanwhile Spotify's top creative Richard Frankel says the firm is a social media platform and that its data smarts will keep it at the top of the charts in the cluttered Australian streaming market.

Had enough of people outshouting each other about the return to full service? Well so has Spinach. Why? Because it's been full bloody service for two and a half years. Saying ain't doing, Craig Flanders, Frank Morabito and Ben Willee tell Frank Chung. They also reckon Sydney is way better than Melbourne.

Jaimes Leggett has a pop at scam advertising. Referencing Cannes, the M&C Saatchi boss describes it thus: “Masterpieces made by those creative souls unencumbered by client briefs.” Big brand platforms are the antidote, he reckons.

On that note, we asked “Yes but is it art advertising?”. Cam Blackley, Andy Greenaway, Bruce Matchett, Ben Coulson, Jonathan Drapes, Justin Drape (no relation), Munzie Thind, and Dav Tabeshfar answered.

DDB Melbourne creative director Glen Dickson and McCann Sydney creative director Kieran Flanagan tag team in the creative choice section, running the rule over Fifa World Cup ads by Nike, Hyundai, Rebel, TAB, Adidas and Sportingbet.

Havas Media boss Mike Wilson earns a yellow card for his agencies as World Cup teams piece. He said OMD was England, Bohemia was Holland and Ikon was Spain. You'll need to buy the mag, yes buy the damn thing to find out which national side he attributed to Clemenger Melbourne, The Monkeys, UM, Innocean (easy), Cummins&Partners, The Royals and his own firm (hint, they got through the group stage).

And, thinking only of the reader, Frank Chung offers a step-by-step guide to gainful unemployment before landing a plum job at Myer.

Finally, there's a Game of Thrones of Advertising. See which adland characters' faces have been Photoshopped with varying levels of skill to become Tyrion, Lord Varys, Daenarys, John Snow, The Hound, Arya, Catelyn and Robert Baratheon.

For the third and final time: Subscribe here, or get it on your iPad if they haven't become uncool in the time it took both readers to get to the bottom of this spruik.

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