MIPCOM Report: battle of the brands

From Kiss co-founder/reality star Gene Simmons' keynote to a branded content panel, the power of brands in television entertainment was a key topic during panels at MIPCOM.
October 6, 2010

From Kiss co-founder /reality star Gene Simmons’ keynote to a branded content panel, the power of brands was a key topic during panels at MIPCOM.

Simmons, the star of A&E’s popular Gene Simmons Family Jewels, appeared at Monday’s MIPCOM morning keynote with A&E/Bio president/GM Robert DeBitetto to discuss creating and maintaining a successful brand. With Family Jewels recently celebrating the airing of its 100th episode, and with his band Kiss coming off of its 37th year as a touring and recording act, Simmons told the assembled delegates that any action undertaken to spread the word about your brand is worthwhile. ‘It’s your professional duty to make sure your brand spreads,’ he said, citing numerous licensed Kiss products as examples of successful branding, ranging from Kiss caskets to Kiss condoms.

‘We’ll get you coming and we’ll get you going,’ he quipped.

DeBitetto also commented on the importance of evolving one’s brand, citing A&E’s airing of Family Jewels (recipient of a realscreen) Factual Entertainment Award, as a key example. DeBitetto said that at the time of the show’s debut, he was in the market for ‘something a little bit different, a little bit unexpected’ for the net. ‘He (Simmons) was a bigger brand than we were and I thought, ‘Why not get next to that ?”

In the end, DeBitetto and Simmons agreed that a certain amount of evolution for a brand, in conjunction with knowing your brand thoroughly, were necessary for success. ‘Brands are like living, breathing creatures,’ said DeBitetto. ‘You evolve or you perish.’

Brands globally have had to evolve their marketing strategies in a post-TiVo world, leading to the rise of branded entertainment. An afternoon panel, held following MIPCOM’s by-invitation-only Branded Entertainment Summit, brought together panelists including Ogilvy Entertainment president Doug Scott, NBC Digital Studio SVP/GM Cameron Death, president of media and entertainment Robert Friedman and Group M Entertainment CEO Peter Tortorici (all appearing at realscreen‘s Branded Entertainment Forum in New York City on October 25) to discuss the present and future of advertiser-funded programming.

While Friedman admitted that ‘it’s a very fragile business right now’ as new players enter the fray and new models are attempted, it’s a business that all of the panelists agreed would only grow from here. ‘Five years from now, every media company will have some version of this,’ Friedman predicted. ‘We’re at that transition point where brands are saying, ‘We have to try new things,’ added Tortorici, who said producers, agencies and media companies alike would have to be ‘quick on our feet’ to respond to consumer behaviors and new distribution models that impact transmitting a brand’s message.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.