OBE Summit round-up

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The Observatorio Branded Entertainment (OBE) Founder and General Manger Elena Grinta has kindly written a round up their hugely successful first OBE Summit that was attended by 160 managers from 80 different companies:

The first OBE SUMMIT was held Friday the 13th march in the RCS Venue in the heart of Milan. The SUMMIT was organized by the Observatorio Branded Entertainment (OBE), the first and only association in Italy that brings together the most important companies that invest in, produce, distribute and create branded entertainment.

Numerous managers participated in the conference that required a registration fee: 160 participants, representing 80 Italian companies, along with the active participation of many speakers, led by Massimo Sideri, innovation editor for Corriere della Sera.

Erik Rollini at Omnicom Media Group Italy presentend a brand new research produced in collaboration with OBE which tried to answer to one simple question: does it work? The first, very important answer is Branded Entertainment has an impact on the deepest values of the brand. The Brand Familiarity Index also shows 10% increase among people exposed to a branded entertainment production on TV, and a 8% increase among viewers of the channel airing the show, and BrandTrust levels increase respectively +10% and +7%.

Alicia Matilda Lubrani at Samsung showed how branded content can support the launch of a new product with the Scattastorie NX Generation project, increasing the market share in a very short period of time.

Paolo Bonsignore at illycaffè talked about the creation and development of A small section of the world, an auteur documentary film of worldwide scope that has been nominated for many international awards and that expresses all the values which represent the company.

Paolo Penati at QVC Italia talked about the process of brand ‘personalization’ with his participation to television shows such as The Apprentice and Undercover Boss.

In the afternoon, Nicolas Bargi from Save The Duck showed how an Italian business with a limited budget can involve the audience with a successful branded entertainment project, thanks to the right partner and the right idea.

Ilaria Lodigiani at Microsoft Italia showed an example of Gamification in B2B realized with the Epic Clerk APP, underlining how learning through entertainment can assure a higher level of involvement, useful in making sales clerks real brand flag-bearers.

Jean-Baptiste de Lagarde, head of conception at Fuse France listed the key issues he faces in his everyday operations, and shared a few tricks based on his experience of tackling the main challenges in Branded Entertainment

Mike Wiese, Director of Original & Branded Entertainment at JWT in New York, where he has been creating and realizing original programs for his company’s clients since 2009, infected us with his enthusiasm talking about how he created a branded content for Macy’s – the No. 1 retailer in USA – that was so successful that it went beyond all expectations. The branded content went on to become a blockbuster at the movies and generated revenues with licensing and other types of business, underlining the need for brands to overcome the bad habit of one-time investments in branded entertainment, in exchange for putting into practice strategies aimed at building sustainable branded entertainment:

I’ve been honored to discuss the needs of our industry at the OBE Summit, and meet the people advancing the convergence of marketing and entertainment in Europe. I leave Italy with great new insights and relationships for continued success.

Justin Kirby VP, Strategic Content Marketing Tenthwave and Advisor for the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) and curator of Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM) provided an international point of view, showing some great examples of branded content chosen by experts from all over the world. He also showed the new business models in the entertainment industry and the challenges faced by brands, called on more and more to conquer the hearts and minds of their clients and make the world a better place, not only through the traditional ADV:

The OBE Summit provided a great opportunity for industry experts to discuss how the merging of the ad and entertainment industries is redefining the media landscape.

You can read the write up of Justin’s presentation here

During the 2015 OBE SUMMIT, OBE’s Founder and General Manger Elena Grinta outlined the economics of Branded Entertainment. The results of the survey conducted Nov 2014 -Jan 2015 showed how branded entertainment is now firmly established and growing in Italy:

  • 132 Italian companies active in 2014, including: broadcasters, publishers, agencies, media centers, adv sales companies, production companies, digital platforms
  • 410 projects were produced in 2014
  • 855 projects produced from 2012-2014
  • 38% of the companies interviewed said that they produced more than 5 branded entertainment projects over the last 12 months

The report also showed that they key objectives that brands want to achieve from their branded entertainment activities are based on building of brand value, equity and awareness, along with the search for innovation.

The average value of a project is about 191.000€, but much depends on the format with investments range from 430.000 for the production of a movie project, to 170,000 euro for digital videos uploaded on the company’s own channels or third-party platforms.

Suppliers are optimistic with 90% expecting the branded entertainment market to grow in 2015. Currently, the Italian Branded Entertainment market is worth 170 million Euro, and according to the OBE survey it is expected to grow to 236 million Euro in 2015.

After these results were illustrated to the audience, Massimo Sideri moderated a panel made up of some of the most important media companies: 30 minutes of discussion with the following:

  • Emanuele Landi, Director of Ad Sales & Brand Integration at Fox International Channels Italy’s: underlined how the media industry and clients must learn how to create Branded Entertainment together.
  • Alceo Rapagna, Marketing & New Business Director at RCS MediaGroup and General Manager NuMix Agency: highlighted the new offer of Native ADV of the large editorial groups in USA that has inspired RCS.
  • Francesca Sorge, Senior Branded Content Consultant at Discovery Italia: believes that the brand along with the idea guide the new communication system capable of defending its audience, while also developing Branded Entertainment
  • Remo Tebaldi, Director of Sky Branded Channels: explained their priority of defending the TV viewers and their guidelines for managing the conflicting internal relationship relating to ADV through the creation of reciprocal opportunities.

Vincenzo Guggino, General Secretary of IAP: also took part in the Q&A session and asked the industry to participate in the self-regulation process that various sectors of the “new” communication industry are undergoing. Remo Tebaldi replied stating that it is very difficult to establish rules for Branded Entertainment, first they must defend their audience, and Francesca Sorge asked everyone to work together around a table – the OBE table – to make Branded Entertainment successful for all stakeholders.

During the light lunch offered by FOX, Andrea Mainardi, the vivacious young chef and new face of Sky’s Fox Life engaged the summit guests by cooking a fragrant risotto and offering useful and simple advice for surviving the difficult art of cooking.


The 2015 OBE Summit was a unique opportunity for delegates to improve their understanding, and hear a range of perspectives from industry experts about the strategic challenges posed by the (crowded) world of brand communications.

OBE will be following up the event with a series of 1.5 day workshops from April through to September. These ‘hands on’ workshops are group work sessions where participants ‘learn by doing’ on a range of actual projects:

  • APRIL:  The Television Branded Entertainment project
  • MAY: The Digital Branded Entertainment project
  • JUNE: The Brand Integration project (all types of media)
  • SEPTEMBER: The Transmedia Branded Entertainment project

The OBE are also planning to collaborate with BOBCM on a Regional eBook and hope to host a European Branded Content & Entertainment event next. If you’d like to find out more about our organisation, the workshops above, ebook and event then please get in touch via the contact form on our site.