10 Content Marketing Moves That Caught Our Attention

6 seconds. Apparently that’s all brands have to play with today to capture the attention of the younger generations.

It’s got to be authentic, original, interesting, not (obviously) selling something and relevant to viewers and their values.

Our latest signs see brands experimenting with Artificial Intelligence, trying out unfiltered communications, setting records and even leaving the planet. We don’t blame them.

As these consumer expectations continue to evolve, numbers of channels multiply and technologies advance, we’re seeing some interesting moves in the realm of branded content.

Check out our latest top 10…

1. IBM At The Grammys

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This year’s 60th Annual Grammy Awards show employed IBM’s artificial intelligence platform, Watson to curate social media content from the red carpet. Watson will release the curated videos and photos to social platforms in real time, capturing the highlights and sharing them with the world instantly.

The platform will even be able to recognize the faces of stars attending and analyze their facial emotions to select the best images to share. It will even sort through decades of songs for their emotional tone and lyrics to best accompany the content.

2. N26’s Bold Millennial Campaign

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N26, the Berlin-based mobile banking startup has a new hashtag “#nobullshit,” taking aim at traditional banks. The hashtag on bold posters can be seen in subway stations in Berlin, and will now appear in Munich and other cities as the OOH campaigns broadens its’ rollout.

They aim to target the 18–35 year-old cohort, and even within the first few weeks of the campaign going live in Berlin the mobile bank reported seeing increases in brand awareness and in growth.

3. Heineken Original Content For MLS

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Copa90, a multi-platform soccer media outlet, and Heineken USA formed a partnership to release a original content series about Major League Soccer (MLS). The series, called “Hometown”, shows the culture of supporters and MLS city through the eyes of some of the league’s biggest stars. It can be viewed on Copa90’s social channels.

The media outlet, specialized in fan-made content, also collaborated with Heineken USA on a fan-led documentary, highlighting the changes of the stadium through the lease of the supporters.

4. Tough Conversations With A Rock Icon

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Frontman of punk rock band Black Flag, Henry Rollins is known for his tough facade and his more complex creative side. In this collaboration with Mercedes, Rollins will star in a documentary — also shared as podcasts — where he will drive around Australia and have conversations with a diverse range of people.

The subject of the conversations will be what toughness means to different people, with some surprising answers as they aim to redefine masculine stereotypes.

The link between Mercedes and this topic is in the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class which “embodies a new kind of tough” as it is both robust and stylish. Combining three key design approaches of “Pure,” “Progressive” and “Power” with the changing traits associated with masculinity.

5. Live Chat From Space

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A first for the social channel, Instagram was recently the chosen platform for it’s first live chat with astronaut Drew Feustel on board the International Space Station (ISS). The chat was shown via National Geographic’s channel for their docu-series named “One Strange Rock.”

Actor Will Smith hosted the chat and discussed various topics including space, weightlessness, music and others. Instagram followers could tune into the live chat and footage was also released after for those who missed the live show.

6. D&G’s Runway Drones

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A stunt to add technology to the classic catwalk event, Dolce & Gabbana flew their newest handbags along the runway using drones. They surprised guests after asking them to turn off their WiFi prior to their show, then having the drones opening the event by flying to the end of the runway, rotating on the spot and returning backstage ready for the rest of the show to begin.

This stunt was to show they keep their fingers on the pulse of their audience.

7. Refinery29’s New Destination For Video

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Content company Refinery29 who offer media and entertainment targeted to millennial females are launching a new destination for their video content named “Channel29”.

The content will be available on connected-TV devices, smart TVs as well as their current digital platforms in the for of live and on-demand video. Their announcement said it would be free to watch and feature commerce components for shopping opportunities.

This move follows a recent site redesign which pivoted their their focus to “consumer action,” with the intention of better integrating their editorial and shopping experiences. They reported a 400% increase in commerce activity after one month of launching this new site.

8. NY Times: The Kids’ Edition

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A delightful new section has been added to the New York Times monthly issue, with a warning that This section should not be read by grown-ups.”

They have already experimented with new technologies such as VR films and daily 360° videos but these are solely being shared on the website, so this is a bid to be more creative in traditional newsprint. The kids’ section appeared to be a big hit with parents who had considered ending their subscription.

The section’s editor Caitlin Roper speaks to about a dozen 10-year-olds to gather feedback on each new issue to make sure the content is interesting and covering topics they care about.

After each issue, she travels to schools to interview kids for their opinions on the latest topics, which are included in the following issue.

Roper says that “The idea is to be delightful, be entertaining, but also we’re the Times–we’re not creating factoids in starbursts.”

9. A World Record In Live-Streaming

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Before a big NBA game, Turner Sports wanted to reach a record number of people with the pregame show, and was shown for four hours during a 24-hour takeover of YouTube ads run by Masthead.

They generated 355 million impressions, and it didn’t stop there. This massive reach meant following engagements with the brand continued long after.

Emma May, VP of marketing at Turner Sports commented on the move saying “for important events like this, you have to take a ‘go big or go home’ approach.” They described their approach as having a key, “northstar” surrounded by many stackable moments from various perspectives to reinforce this key message.

Big moves like this can have a negative effect if something goes wrong during the broadcast, with millions of viewers brands can’t hide easily. Although, if it’s pulled off, it can benefit the brand just like this event did and bring huge engagement even long after the campaign has ended.

10. Toyota Multi-Sensory Ad

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A 2018 print ad of Toyota in InStyle magazine places the reader inside the car by simulating its sight, sound, smell and touch. It even simulates to measure readers’ heart rates, making it the first ad that uses an LCD heart monitor in print.

On a double-page, readers are able to grab the door handles of the car and place their thumbs on built-in sensors that then simulate their pulse line. LED lights make the heartbeat visible and a beeping noise makes it hearable. The pages show an exact replica of the Camy model’s interior, including the “new car scent”.