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Luxury car brand, Jaguar, recently launched a branded content film named ‘Desire’  and it made me contemplate the potential of branded film-making. Ridley Scott was involved in the filming and production of this film and ‘Homeland’ actor, Damian Lewis, performed in the leading role. These are big names lending their credibility to big brands at great cost.

We have to remind ourselves that this is not the hey-day of advertising in the 80’s. Back then, the entire creative team and client were flown to exotic locations for weeks of indulgent shooting and partying. So, with the huge budget investment, can we make the assumption that it’s worth it for a brand (in this case a brand of great stature and luxury) to go to such great lengths to stand out with the launch of their top-of-the-range model, the first new release in years? Will it ultimately convert to sufficient sales to justify the cost?

My guess is that the PR potential more than justify the cost. Viral potential through online sharing has changed the way we evaluate campaigns like this, plus, it helps Google to recognise the value of a great piece of branded content when we all value it enough to send it all over the world.

The IMPACT of such a beautiful, quality piece of content will have to be substantial enough to interrupt and engage the busy lives and minds of our modern-day web user. ‘Desire’ offers a brilliant mix of great acting, intriguing story (drama, action, plot twists) and brilliant production, values that advertising will not have the time nor the budget to pull off.

BMW did the same thing a few years ago with “The Hire”. A series of branded films were produced by well-known film producers like Ang Lee, Guy Ritchie and other industry giants.

Jaguar took it a little further by using web channels to promote the film and by inviting the media to an ‘open set’ while the film was being made, thus securing $9 million in unpaid media before the film was even released.

Just like made-for-television series have become a different offering by including award-winning film actors and accomplished directors, so we seem to be moving into an era of branded content using the desirable qualities and experience of film, plus its creators and actors, to make us see brands in a different light.

Lights, camera… action!

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