Let Me Entertain You

Moving from the ad slot into the editorial slot

Kara Melchers

Managing Editor, BITE Creativebrief


We need to face facts, people don’t like watching ads. If they did YouTube wouldn’t need a skip after 5 seconds option. So why don’t brands just make stuff people want to watch?

Understanding the part your brand has to play in the narrative of a piece of content is important. As is recognising the need to get the right storytellers on board. In 2008 creative agency Mother set out to make a short film for Eurostar that quickly developed into a feature length script, Director Shane Meadows came on board and the finished film Somers Town, went on to be shown in cinemas across the country.

Brands are funding content on the small screen too. In September 2014 the total number of websites exceeded 1 billion. The unofficial global figure for the number of TV channels is approximately 15,000. These channels all need content.

Media platforms like VICE and BuzzFeed work directly with brands to produce original content that fits within their existing editorial style. The outcome can range from a VICE documentary that explores a gorilla’s fight for survival for ethical fashion brand Edun, to a series of custom BuzzFeed posts for MINI centred around their marketing slogan “Not Normal”.

Last year T Brand Studios, the custom content studio within The New York Times, partnered with Netflix on a piece of native advertising for the new series of Orange Is The New Black. The article “Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work” reached the top 1,000 traffic articles on, proving ads can be as engaging as editorial.

Read on for examples…

A Bacardi and Jamie Oliver cocktail

On the back of the foodie revolution Bacardi looked to replicate that same passion with drink, and in particular home cocktail making. In the UK Bacardi is significantly outspent by its rivals, so they needed a smart solution to win the battle for online search.

Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube channel, hosted on YouTube was already a success, even crossing over into broadcast. The challenge was to emulate this success for cocktails.

The solution; Bacardi product and mixologists to appear in native content across all Jamie Oliver media including FoodTube,, social media and magazines. Everything would lead back to

Central to the strategy is YouTube channel - DrinksTube - an ambitious initiative bringing to life the strengths of both partners, featuring product and talent in socially clever content for cross-platform publishing.

DrinksTube launched in April 2014 and is already the biggest cocktail YouTube channel in the world, helping to grow audiences around Bacardi platforms.

Agency: Gravity Road, London

DrinksTube channel views

DuPont create documentary shorts for Horizons

DuPont, the American chemical company, is the sponsor of Horizons, a documentary that travels the globe in search of ideas and the businesses that are tackling the planet’s biggest challenges. DuPont support the programme with two minute documentary-style advertorials that shine a light on the impact DuPont’s innovation is having on real peoples’ lives. The short films air in the break and are published online. In 2014 they created a native app to allow time-constrained viewers to connect with the programme via mobile.

Agency: One Two Four & Ogilvy UK, London

British Gas takes us inside unique homes

Home Truths are Channel 4 short films about individual and unique homes, made in partnership with British Gas. The subject and format compliments both the brand and media platform, which helps to emotionally engage and rebuild trust with the audience. This content sits alongside new programme pilots, commissioned programming and other brand sponsored content, all within the 10 minute format.

Agency: 4Creative

Barclays say Thank You

Spirit of The Game is a series of online profiles of football fans going beyond the call of duty for their club, including a community outreach worker in Stoke and an ex-player in Southampton who ran a thousand miles in 21 consecutive days to raise money for Cancer Research UK.  Videos are distributed through the Barclays Premier League Facebook page, attracting an audience of over 1 million people. Steven Pienaar’s Thank You film to his coach was picked up by 120 international broadcasters.

Agency: Atomized

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disruption Mobile