Transparency In Branded Entertainment
As original content continues to cement itself as king in 2020, brands are eager to get in on the action. But far too many rush to distribution on platforms like YouTube without considering the subtext of their messaging. This is why we as consumers wind up inundated in content we never watch; ads that roll on YouTube or Instagram for a branded segment with paid talent, scripted talking points, and a shameless product plug, none of which are likely to pique our interest.
What is the answer, then, to brands breaking into this category? How can a brand contribute to consumer entertainment without overtly or explicitly promoting product in a way that feels commercial and inauthentic? Here are three great places to start:
- Put product at the center without pitching a sale.
- Include a passionate presenter who stands by the product (and would do so even if you didn’t pay them to).
- Seek distribution channels familiar with the work you seek to create.
These are the three ingredients central to the success of the “Gather What’s Good” campaign from Spark Foundry and Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit for Field Roast.
Field Roast, the makers of artisanal plant-based meats and cheeses, teamed up with Bon Appétit and Roy Choi to share three stories of trailblazing chefs whose inventive menus are driven by their heritage and love for regionally inspired ingredients and bold flavors. Within this docuseries, viewers experience Roy’s travels to Seattle, Chicago and Toronto to discover how these renowned chefs reimagine their signature dishes with a plant-based twist.
The makers of “Gather What’s Good” got together to discuss the process with SVP of Strategic Partnerships at Forbes Janett Haas during this year’s Brand Storytelling conference. There, Spark Foundry’s Jeff Wolfe, Condé Nast’s Lloyd Dsouza, Greenleaf foods’ Peter Lee, and Chef Roy Choi broke down the collaboration between experienced parties that yielded a docuseries that aligns with the breadth of Bon Appétit’s content, all while aligning with Field Roast’s brand ethos and incorporating the brand’s products:
In the session, the panel discusses how the impetus for the series meant seeing great food for what it is: a uniting force. With the rock-solid foundation of food being a gathering point, the team at Spark Foundry began to build out the concept for the docuseries, but not without vital input from their collaborators. The folks at Bon Appétit brought to the series their tried and true style while Roy brought his on-screen personality, prowess, and desire to get people together around the delicious dishes being crafted with Field Roast plant-based meats and cheeses at the center.
The trifecta was able to achieve production of original content that never ceases to delight, or at least make the viewer hungry! The reason? Leading with clear intentions about the product’s emotional value, partnering with a chef who’s a true fan of the brand and products, and distributing with a leader in the field who’s accustomed to tailoring different content for specific audiences. Transparency between collaborating parties, and ultimately with the audience, make this a branded docuseries that can easily fit alongside the rest of your regularly self-curated programming.