For years, pessimistic pundits have been talking about the death of TV. But TV viewership is still as strong as ever, and ad revenue is standing fairly firm. One thing that has definitely changed, however, is the integration of brands into programming and the ability of social media to light fires underneath content, as evidenced most recently by the launch of the X Factor NZ—and the way broadcasters are now working more closely with marketers and creative agencies to come up with original branded content ideas.
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Entertainment has long been part of advertising, as evidenced by the (paraphrased) old Saatchi & Saatchi mantra of ‘if it’s interrupting you in your living room, it better be good’. But that idea has evolved over the years, to the point where Cannes added a branded content category into the schedule this year and Mumbrella recently held its inaugural Australasian Branded Entertainment Awards. And Special Group managed to take home a silver for The Gravity Coffee Run in best integration of brand story-telling (non-fictional) and a gold for The Smirnoff Night Project in transmedia. Air New Zealand’s Kiwi Sceptics campaign by Host Sydney took two bronzes in the same two categories.