Content Is King, But Can It Also Be Another Revenue Stream?

International is making headlines with their new media strategy – branded content that’s so entertaining, it not only helps build their brands but also adds a new revenue stream. Their “fearless” plan comes in three phases: it all begins with a live Skydiving stunt for Stride Gum, followed by a partnership with Buzzfeed, and lastly, a series of mobile games.

If the way to consumer’s hearts and wallets is from entertaining content, why not make that content and make extra from distribution rights, brand integration, and ad space?Their goal is to “break even (globally by 10%) or turn a profit by 2020.”

“Interruptive advertising is irrelevant,” they argue.”This new approach will make our media spending more sustainable,” they say. It sounds great on paper and I understand the holistic ‘why not’ but let’s be realistic.

Remember Flappy Bird? The low budget game from a no-name Vietnamese developer? OK, now try and remember the last branded mobile game you downloaded (research reasons don’t count). No? I didn’t think so.

Content is king and probably always will be, but it has to work 2x hard when it’s from a corporate brand. When audiences want to be entertained, authentic content by real people is more desirable than content made by a big brand with logos plastered on top. This is also true with Shopper, a space with increased focus on the power of great content and influencer marketing. In order to be effective and noticed, content needs to be something special, something unique in some fashion, relay the message needed to change hearts and minds, and finally, make sense with the brand. How will that one skydiving stunt compete with the consistently fresh, unfiltered stunt content easily found on Reddit or YouTube? What will compel a teen to download that branded Sour Patch kids game on their already cluttered smartphone?
Sometimes brands get lucky but these are a lot of bets being placed.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Image: Flappy Bird created by Nguyễn Hà Đông and published by .GEARS Studios, 2013