On Monday, The Huffington Post announced its entry in the branded content arena. According to published reports in Advertising Age:
“The Huffington Post is expanding the way it works with brands in an effort to cash in on the popular brand-as-publisher trend.”
The company, part of AOL, has been talking to ad agencies and marketers about helping them build websites for brands and subsequently aiding in content creation, curation and distribution to consumers.
Janet Balis, senior vice president for sales strategy, marketing and partnerships for AOL Advertising, confirmed the talks with agencies and brands. But she characterized the offering as another step in the evolution of the type of work that The Huffington Post does with brands rather than a drastic shift in strategy. “The theme in the marketplace is brands are increasingly recognizing that they are in the business of producing content,” she said.
The Huffington Post is working with a “major consumer-goods advertiser” to create a lifestyle-oriented content website for that brand, Ms. Balis said. Employees from the company’s social-marketing team will both create new content for the site and curate relevant existing content from The Huffington Post.
This morning Facebook and TBS announced its branded content agreement: they will produce a series of shorts that will air on both channels:
According to the principals from TBS and Facebook executives:
“As consumer viewing habits have changed, and advertisers look to integrate within sharable and entertaining media, we are very pleased to announce TBS’s partnership with Facebook for DumbDumb branded content,” said Donna Speciale, president of Turner Entertainment and Young Adults Ad Sales. “We are not just talking the talk about innovation; we are actively developing ways for our advertisers to creatively immerse their brands through a multi-screen approach that delivers great video to an engaged and interested audience on Facebook.”
“Through this partnership with TBS for DumbDumb content, Facebook will not only help brands distribute and promote their content across the platform, but through social engagement will drive consumption of that content,” said Carolyn Everson, VP, global marketing solutions at Facebook.
What was once seen as low brow marketing at best, branded content continues to capture the attention and focus of major media and social media brands. Let’s hope the execution is as impressive as the innovation.
Lori Rosen is Executive Director of the Custom Content Council, a position she accepted in May of 2002, when the organization became an independent entity. The CCC is a member organization with the primary goal of helping members increase their custom publishing business. This is done through a combination of proprietary research initiatives, CCC web site promotion, vibrant membership meetings and an ongoing public awareness campaign. Since Rosen took over the helm of CCC, membership has grown from 25 to nearly 100 companies.