Cannes Lions

RAISING THE BAR

CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY, Los Angeles / DIAGEO / 2013

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Case Film

Overview

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Overview

Description

The American branded entertainment market is dynamic in that new models are tested every day, and staid in that the established model still prevails.

Branded entertainment activity falls into three major categories: product placement/integration, media deals, and content creation.

Product placement is common, transactional, and only restricted in product categories such as alcohol and entertainment categories such as kids' TV. Media deals include time buys for content distribution, meaning simply an extension of the paid advertising formula into longer form content.

And content creation means brands paying for production, and then seeking (or paying for) distribution.

While not particularly restricted, the biggest challenge to branded entertainment in the U.S. is breaking down the longstanding separation of advertising production and distribution, and entertainment production and distribution.

Execution

George Dickel budgeted 1 million dollars for event activations at local BBQ festivals. For the same production budget, we activated at those events through live building events while we filmed the Raising the Bar TV series on location. Because of our partnership with Thom Beers, Raising the Bar was picked up by hulu as an original Spotlight Series, not as branded content – thus, placement on hulu's masthead was earned by the quality of the content, not because of a media spend.

Raising the Bar became an owned entertainment property for George Dickel with paid product integrations from other craftsmanship brands like Ace Hardware, Lincoln Electric, and Porter Cable. These brands extended George Dickel's audience by reaching out their own audiences on social media. Lastly, a micro-targeted digital influencer program reached our core craftsmen audience to promote the show and seed a social media contest for fans.

Outcome

Initially, George Dickel budgeted 1MM US for event activations at local BBQ festivals. For the same 1MM, we created live building competitions at those events while we filmed the Raising the Bar TV series. Raising the Bar aired on hulu as an original Spotlight Series, not as branded content with a media spend. Targeting an audience who enjoys craftsmanship, 75% of Raising the Bar's viewers watched 75% of the episodes, outperforming many top reality TV shows on hulu. And more impressively, viewers have spent an average of 8.9 minutes with each episode to date. Additionally, this June all six episodes will air on TV on the Sundance Channel, reaching 40 million homes. Overall, the audience grew from an initial expected 250,000 people at BBQ festivals to over 85 million impressions for the same price.

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