Cannes Lions last month awarded Chipotle the top award in its new Branded Content and Entertainment category.
The category showcased and rewarded companies for their content and brand content strategies.
“I think this is an example of building a platform to build content, and then using content as a primary means to connect to consumers,” said Avi Savar, founder and CCO of Big Fuel. ”There’s no talk of discounts or end product. It’s purely about an emotional connection to the audience.”
In an interview with AdWeek, Savar said that advertising and branded content should “co-exist.”
“It’s important for brands to tell really compelling stories that connect to the audience and drive with great storytelling,” he said, ”but I also understand and appreciate the need for product-focused content in that people need to understand what a product is, does, and can do for them.”
Savar said that Chipotle had an overall brand building strategy that was about more than their products.
“This is a brand that is not talking about their $2 burritos or even the kind of burritos that you can buy,” he said. ”They’re actually talking about something much bigger than that, and they’re aligning themselves with a broader conversation, and they’re doing it through content. This is an example of how to use content to build a brand.”
Unlike ads, which talk at the consumer, brand content can engage the consumer and create a two-way dialogue. It is also attention grabbing, and can take customers on a journey.
Anthony Batt, president of Katalyst Media, echoed Savar in an interview withREELSEO, saying that while advertising is not going away, brands need to focus on being storytellers and content creators to keep up.
“We always try to say ’don’t make it [branded content] about your brand.’ Rule 1, don’t make it about your brand, because that’s an advertisement. Make it about a story, make it a spectacle, make it phenomenal. Our rule to a brand is ‘Don’t hire an ad agency.’”