2014 was the year that Branded Arts and Entertainment went blockbuster. It was the year we saw Branded Entertainment projects storm box offices, newsstands and TV schedules around the world.
From The Lego Movie
, which broke cinema box offices records around the world, to Axe’s
Generation Astronaut documentary about its competition to take people to space, which screened on 180 TV channels globally, and Chipotle’s
satirical TV series Farmed & Dangerous, which screened on online TV network Hulu.com and Net-A-Porter
, which launched the world’s first global glossy women’s fashion magazine Porter to compete with the likes of Vogue, Elle and Harpers Bazaar.
Branded arts and entertainment exploded in 2014 and we not only saw a significant growth in the number of projects being launched, we also saw huge increases in the levels of ambition.
2014 was a year for lifting the BAR, pushing the boundaries and creating work that changed the way we thought about branded arts and entertainments.
launched a Museum in the heart of Paris, Phillips
strapped LED lights to skiers and dragged camera crews into the Canadian back country in the middle of the night to film them while GE
recreated a limited edition modern version of the original Moon Boot to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
YouTube and Vimeo were flooded with brand films as more and more marketers looked to use the platform to create short films and extended masterpiece advertising to engage with audiences. Among the standout brand films this year were the ones that made us think and feel: Ikea’s
whimsical Beds was a stunning dreamy film that took us flying, Qantas tugged at the heartstrings with Feels like Home
and reminded us how good it is to go home, Beats By Dre pumped us up with 'The Game Before The Game'
, while GE
warmed our hearts with a film about Miracle Twins.
There were movements to be championed: P&G’s Always
brand celebrated what it means to do things “Like a Girl”, Cheerios
celebrated Dads with “How to Dad” and Girl Scouts and Lean In
moved to ban bossy.
As always the fashion crowd was leading the pack in creating experiences for their brands: Prada
launched an Exhibition in London's Harrods, Kenzo
hosted a pop-up exhibition in Paris and Gap
launched a concept store and brand experience in New York.
There were brand platforms too: Vodafone
created the Vodafone Firsts platform for films, Cornetto
unleashed its own film platform with 'Cupidity' series, and Conservation International
stunned with its phenomenal 'Nature Is Speaking' platform that saw the likes of Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Robert Redford, Kevin Spacey and Penelope Cruz supply the voices of an angry planet.
Documentaries came in all shapes and sizes: American Express
examined the issues surrounging financial exclusion, Vans
created a series of mini-documentaries following the subcultures of its fans, while Intel
teamed with Mick Ebeling's Not Impossible Labs to document the world's first 3D prosthetic printing lab.
Repeat performances saw Jacobs Creek
served up more films with Andre Agassi and Burger King
brought back the Subservient Chicken.
tried its hand at literature with the Cultivating Thoughts packaging, Land Rover
published an interactive novel and Bacardi
created a graphic novel to bring the brand story to life.
There was sports themed content: Beats By Dre
harnessed Le Bron James star power, NBC
enlisted the hilarious Jason Sudeikis to promote its Premier League Football coverage and The Super Bowl
proved once again that it is the prince of branded entertainment with stand out films from Chrysler, Maserati and Budweiser.
2014 was the biggest year yet for branded arts and entertainment project as brands of all shapes and sizes rose to the challenge of creating projects in a bid to connect and engage with audiences.
There were many, many films worthy of mention and recognition, however there can only be a handful that are deemed the best. Here are Branded Arts Review's picks of the Best of 2014.
> View the Branded Arts Review Best Of 2014 presentation video
from the showcase preview live event.
An extraordinary piece of film. High production values and a very poignant story of hope and spirit, although whether it was the most appropriate subject for a Christmas ad for a supermarket is debatable.
A phenomenal strategy that has turned the humble and often ignored airplane safety video into a highly anticipated piece of entertainment. This film was viewed 16 million views in the first week, with close to 120,000 people viewing it online every hour.
UK Charity Save The Children created an immensely successful film to generate awareness of the ongoing plight of children in Syria. This staggering piece of film has been viewed nearly 45 million times on YouTube.
turned storyteller, with an online documentary film featuring a Congolese fashion cult The Sapeurs, or the Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo. The charming documentary, showcased this well dressed group of working class men as part of the brand’s ‘Made of More’ platform, which aims to celebrate inspirational individuals. The documentary project provides a shift away from the absurd, surreal advertising we have come to expect from Guinness and provides a new direction for the brand exploring the real, human stories of life and triumph and investigating what people are made of. It’s an unexpected move from Guinness but a fascinating new direction for the brand. This documentary is a charming and inspiring piece of film.
Online luxury fashion retailer Net-A-Porter launched Porter
, the world’s first shoppable global women’s magazine. The magazine aimed to rival the glossy powerhouses of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Marie Claire, by producing one global edition with content for the woman of the world. 'Porter' is both a print and digital magazine, as well as being a fully shoppable experience, powered by Net-A-Porter. This is no catalogue, Porter have created a genuine, stand-alone magazine featuring all the content you would expect in a women’s mag, such as fashion, lifestyle, beauty, celebrity and travel. However, the calibre and quality of articles, cover stars and fashion spreads are luxury and high end, as you would expect from the brand. 'Porter' offers its readers a unique joined-up experience providing a luxury fashion magazine experience combined with a high-end shopping trip. Net-A-Porter have proven themselves as a pioneering brand with an exceptional understanding of what their audience wants and 'Porter' is further testimony to that. A superb branded entertainment project.
Last year The Times & The Sunday Times opened up its archives providing filmmakers with unprecedented access to its records. The result is The Unquiet Film Series
, a collection of online films “celebrating the historical and cultural impact of The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers”. The series aims to shine a light on the contribution The Times have made to the history and culture of Britain and beyond. The films are varied, from interviews with Times writers, to explorations of the paper’s impact on past events and the history of the Times New Roman font. There are also some fascinating films about the experiences of The Times foreign correspondents and investigative journalists. Coming at a time when the British public's trust for journalists is at an all time low and as media organisations continue to battle to get people to not only value news and journalism but also to pay for it - The Times needed to change the conversation. The series aims to draw a line between The Times and all the negativity towards journalism by focusing on the immense cultural and historical impact that The Times has made throughout its long history. The films are beautifully made and the entire series is compelling, fascinating and very worth of both recognition and of your time.
Italian Telco Wind Mobile has created a beautiful short film called ‘Papa’
. The film tells the story of a relationship between a father and son and illustrates the times when a text, email or even a phone call isn’t a patch on a face-to-face moment. The film is a tribute to human relationships and seeks to remind us that technology isn’t everything. Brilliantly it does this while seamlessly showcasing the many devices it powers. It’s wonderful to see a telco break ranks from the industry’s standard communications that feed us messages about the wonders of communication to instead remind us why it matters in the first place. Rather than focus on the technology that enables us to connect, Wind Mobile has focused on the reasons that we want to be connected, and that is what sets it apart. It’s a beautiful brand film that delivers a very genuine message while showcasing its products and services. It really is quite a special piece of film and it only missed the top spot by a whisker.
When Lego released an animated movie starring its iconic product alongside the likes of Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell and Chris Pratt, it easily could have gone wrong. Luckily The Lego Movie
proved to be an entertaining film for audiences of all ages - that just happened to feature and showcase Lego’s entire product range. The Lego Movie is the most ambitious, outrageous and bravest piece of branded entertainment to be created in 2014 – or ever. The key to the films success is the way in which it plays with our familiarity with the product and the experience of playing with Lego. The strategy was to position Lego, not as a toy but as the medium for play, which is only limited by our imaginations. Make no mistake this film is one massive product demonstration; it is a feature-length ad for Lego’s entire product range, which also brilliantly introduces the brand new Lego range inspired by The Lego Movie. Yes it’s a product demo but it is also a brilliant one complete with a great storyline, humour, fun and above all else it is bursting with entertainment. The Lego Movie has raised the bar for branded entertainment and taken it to a ridiculously high level. It is really just an unbelievably brilliant piece of marketing.
BAR 'Best Of 2014' Supporter Majans brand film - 'The Magic's in the Mix'
5. Guinness - 'Sapeurs' Online Documentary
4. Net-A-Porter - 'Porter' Magazine
3. The Times - 'The Unquiet Film Series'
2. Wind Mobile - 'Papa' Short Film
1. Lego - 'The Lego Movie' Feature Film
> View the Branded Arts Review Best Of 2014 presentation video
from the showcase preview live event
Branded Arts Review Best Of 2014 is proudly supported by Majans 'The Taste and Goodness Snackfood Company'.