This interview with Curious Film‘s Executive Producer & Managing Director Matt Noonan was originally published in the 2015 BOBCM Special D&AD Edition. It was one of 3 interviews where Jurors from the D&AD’s 2015 Branded Film Content & Entertainment category provided pointers about what they look for in branded content, how they decide what’s good enough to be a D&AD Pencil winner, the challenges they face and what they’d like to see in future work.
How would you define branded content?
The category we were judging was branded content and entertainment. I think branded content needs to have a purpose, or perhaps rather a viewer benefit beyond a straightforward advertising message. That’s what differentiates it from traditional advertising films. For it to be good creative and effective work, it needs to have an authentic and transparent role for a brand.
What were you looking for from Pencil-winning branded content?
Originality of ideas and execution, as well as a relentless pursuit of excellence in craft. I think a good measure is, would I watch or share this regardless of the brand?
What are the challenges in judging branded content?
The challenge in judging the work is that great content isn’t all the same – it can be different mediums and different methods. So each work needs to be judged on its own merits first and foremost.
What makes something stand out from the crowd?
Taking creative risks.
What pointers or advice would you give to people creating branded content?
Focus and respect your audience. And I don’t mean ask them what they want or like through research; I mean surprise them with original ideas and reward them.
What was missing from the entries in 2015?
I think that some of the best branded content and entertainment exists beyond traditional networks, agencies and production companies. I’m not sure how to encourage more non-traditional content creators to enter.