Bombay Sapphire: Imagination Series


Jan Godsk is a Branded Content consultant, serial juror, and the Chairman and founder of the BCMA’s Scandinavian Chapter. He’s chosen the Bombay Sapphire® Imagination Series as a great example that helps show the differences between advertising and Branded Content/Entertainment, as well as being an ongoing content concept that has won several film industry awards including a BAFTA.

He thinks the example reflects some of the discussions we had last year that fed into The Yin-Yang of Branded Content Marketing section of the second edition of the Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM) ebook I curate. That’s because, for Jan, Branded Content & Entertainment (BC&E) is built upon genres, e.g. non-fiction, fiction, comedy, DIY, music, reality, drama etc. As he points out, you can see this in the way that the relevant awards are categorised by likes of Cannes, Cristal, Webby and other awards he’s judged. What this means is the ideas end up being judged by their genre, e.g. fiction vs. fiction, etc. Whereas, if you look at advertising categories they are subcategorised by market (e.g. automotive, household, finance, soft drink, beverage etc), so that the ideas are judged against others in that market (e.g. car commercial vs. car commercial).

My point is BC&E differs from adverting through the execution of great genre-based ideas, just like BMW did in 2001 with their great online branded entertainment and action/drama series ‘The Hire’ and their 2011 online documentary about the future of mobility.

But why do genres help with defining the BC&E?
Because when we try to describe BC&E with terms like involvement and engagement, etc, then it easily falls into the digital/social bucket. Whereas if you try to describe content with words like relevant and viral it could easily fall into glorified advertising, and hopefully everybody across the industry is working hard to deliver relevant work to their clients and their target group. But further more, genre means being built from a great narrative, script, lyric etc.
Using genres as the basis for showing how BC&E is different from advertising, Jan thinks the Intel/Toshiba The Beauty Inside campaign that we featured as a case study in Volume II of the BOBCM series is also a great example of BC&E. He thinks Intel specifically have proved they understand their ‘brand core’, and that’s helped them create a series of successful BC&E projects including The Creators Project in partnership with Vice:
Brands like Chipotle and BMW who understand their ‘brand core’ and are true to it, are able to continually create great content based on insights that reflect the time and cultural space the brand and their target group are living in, and are part of.
Jan ends where the Bombay Sapphire series begins by recommending that we use our imagination, whether it be a romance, drama, action movie; and he thinks that starts with what’s both relevant to the brand and their audience. He hopes his response will open up discussion about what is branded content and how its different from advertising.
This feedback forms part of my latest report for the next edition of the Best of Branded Content Marketing, and you can find out more about the report, the responses to date and even participate yourself here. You check out my recent interview with Jan where we discuss defining branded content through awards, which was the catalyst for the recent panel discussion I helped to put together for the Cristal Festival in France last month, and this Expert Example series.

The BCMA’s Andrew Canter chose BMW’s ‘The Hire’ as an example of great groundbreaking branded content, and you can see his feedback here. If you’d also like to share an example then please tweet me via @juzzie using the #BOBCM hashtag or get in touch through the contact page.