This is the third in a four-part series by Spikes Asia 2015 jury presidents in the run-up to this year's festival.
As an industry, we are always on the pursuit of what's next. Nonetheless, what is cutting edge in the branded content and entertainment category is as old as storytelling itself—quality.
Once upon a time in branded entertainment, it was a miracle to create a TV show, feature-length documentary, or video game for a brand. Mediums passed for ideas and were certainly milestones. It was exciting that the promise of Texaco Star Theater was being reborn as brands reacted to the disrupted landscape.
Then it became trendy to make branded entertainment social or interactive, which is an immensely exciting area for the future of storytelling. Though as an industry, we may be skipping a step as the quality of our branded TV shows, movies, events, interactive, games and more all lack in comparison to what we all watch, read, attend, and play every day.
What we should look for as a jury, and an industry, are the brand ideas that truly build and differentiate for our clients while being executed as real entertainment. Entertainment that competes in the open marketplace with the best content in the world, regardless of whether it's branded or not. Because the vast majority of pop culture we consume is indeed branded; it has an agenda, it builds brands, and it sells products.
In the coming years, we will see greater investment by brands in the creation of entertainment and content. The brands that will win will be those that focus on the quality of their storytelling. In return, we as agencies will need to pursue the craft and process of story to deliver better and more effective work.
This category is for the crazy, brave, and resilient people that, regardless of where they sit in our disrupted industry, are united by a common belief: that we can add value to people's lives, and the business of a brand, through stories.
Todd Hunter is creative executive at Creative Artists Agency.
Spikes Asia, the region's biggest festival of creativity, returns this year from 9 through 11 September at Suntec Singapore. The Spikes awards will be presented on 11 September at the Ritz Carlton, with an afterparty, sponsored by Leo Burnett, at The Clifford Pier at Collyer Quay.