“Don’t make it ‘in-your-face’ with the brand logo everywhere, it will turn people off and create a negative response to the brand,” said Mehta. “It should be done in a way that is integral to the story and is entertaining for viewers.”
The Imagine Group is currently producing the third season of interior-design reality TV show contest The Apartment, running on Star World channels across Asia. All three seasons of the show have been sponsored by Malaysian property developer Sime Darby. This season is co-sponsored by Dulux.
Mehta added that a branded content shouldn’t be a standalone execution and that brands should use other marketing platforms around the show such as social media, on-ground activations. The key thing to remember, he added, is that all executions should be cohesive and connect to the brand’s main message.
For example, Jeremy Rowe, managing director, decorative paints, Southeast Asia & Pacific at AkzoNobel which owns Dulux, is featured on The Apartment as a colour expert who advises contestants. To maximise this, Dulux has been running on-ground and PR events and has created short education videos on painting.
The paint brand has also created an online game based on the show and doubles up as a useful tool for interior decoration.
“We believe that digital decorating tools like this one will be the future, and so you can expect to see more and better digital and colour tools in seasons to come,” commented Rowe.
It’s also important for brands to commit to a content strategy for the long-term, particularly if it’s successful. According to Mehta there are three more seasons of The Apartment in the pipeline. “It is our job as the producer to keep each season fresh with new elements,” he said.
Imagine Group is also currently working on a new reality show ‘Fit for Fashion’ for Fitness First Gym, launching February next year.