communications strategy, storytelling

Yes, these cat videos are great branded content

Carolyn McMaster | December 23, 2014

I’ve just spent a rather embarrassing amount of time watching cat videos, thanks to Contently’s roundup of what they deemed to be the best branded content of 2014. I clicked over to the article expecting nothing much and found some terrific videos that exemplify great storytelling. Here are my four favorites.

“Dear Kitten” videos (Friskies): Older, wiser cat dispenses life advice to the household’s newcomer. These funny, charming little stories are a fresh take on the terror of the vacuum cleaner, what to make of the new puppy, the mystery of mirrors and the satisfaction of curling up in an open underwear drawer. The takeaway is, if Purina knows cats this well, it must make great cat food.

“Farmed and Dangerous” (Chipotle): This satire, a four-part series released on Hulu, takes on Big Ag and Big Oil with a great sense of humor and without, thankfully, even a whisper of self-righteousness. The plot: a smarmy spin doctor tries to help his client, Animoil, sell the world on feeding PetroPellets to cattle. Now, this is sexy sustainability marketing. And yes, exploding cows are funny.

“The Other Side” (Honda): This is brilliant video work (and a little surreal). It puts the viewer inside the mind of the main character, a dad who is taking his daughters home from school in the family Civic while enjoying a parallel fantasy about driving the getaway car (Honda’s concept Civic R) during a heist. The viewer controls which narrative to see during play, and it stays fascinating for quite a few viewings—and only two are exactly alike.

“The Next Black” (Electrolux): This 40-minute documentary on the future of fashion is thoughtful and beautiful. It illustrates how to create content that isn’t directly about the thing you’re selling. “The washing machine industry isn’t exactly sexy, so they decided to focus on the clothes that people put into their machines rather than the machines themselves,” said Philip Marthinsen, head of business and strategy at digital agency House of Radon, in AdWeek. Good choice.

Let me know of other great video stories you’ve seen, particularly if they are about sustainable products. Happy holidays! See you in the new year.


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