In advance of realscreen’s Branded Entertainment Forum, taking place in New York City on October 20, we’re spotlighting several production companies that are making waves in the field. Here, Paul Day of Cineflix discusses the range of brand-funded projects the company is undertaking and compares the markets for branded content in North America and the UK.
Paul Day, VP of branded content and digital media for Canadian-headquartered Cineflix, operates out of the company’s office in London, England. With the company producing brand-funded content for both the UK and North American markets, he gets to see first-hand the different approaches brands and television networks employ in bringing such content to the small screen.
“In North America, we’ve been asked by broadcasters about whether we have any brand relationships, or we’ll have shows or ideas and the broadcasters will ask if there’s any way we can bring a brand into it,” he says, by way of comparison. “That’s been happening in the UK and is now happening in North America a bit more. It’s something that’s relatively recent – in the past it was more about negotiating the ways to bring a brand in. Now we’re being positively asked for it.”
In the UK market, the company recently produced Family Food Fight with Flora for the Unilever spread, which goes by the brand name of Becel in North America. The competitive cooking show aired on Channel 5, “with a message of healthy eating running all the way through it,” says Day.
“That was something that we did through an agency – Mindshare, part of WPP – that came from an initial brief that emerged out of a marketing campaign and we created brand new content for,” he adds. “For me, that’s the Holy Grail – creating something from scratch for a brand that also fits in with the needs of a broadcaster and other distribution platforms.”
Projects on the way are still somewhat shrouded in secrecy, but include a property series in the UK that will combine real estate agents with interior designers and use brand input from both vocations. For Canada, Cineflix is teaming up with a “well-known restaurant chain” on a competition format focused on fresh food.
Day says that briefs are now coming from myriad sources – media agencies, creative agencies, digital shops, and PR firms – and more players are looking to get into the brand-funded content game. The deals may not be huge, he says, “but they’ll get bigger.” And Day maintains that factual programming is well placed to take advantage of brands looking to find the right stories to align themselves with.
“Generally, a brand wants to tell a story and there’s no better way of doing that than finding a similar story that can run alongside it,” says Day. “Having experience in telling those stories of real people in the real world, and linking those stories to brand messages, can create something very powerful.”
Cineflix’s Paul Day will be speaking at realscreen‘s Branded Entertainment Forum on October 20 at the Sentry Centers in New York City. For more information on the event and how to register, click here.
This article originally appeared in realscreen‘s September/October 2011 issue. For more from that issue, click here.