Debate the effectiveness of content versus traditional ads all you want, but there is no question that brands that find a way to balance advertising with truly interesting content are setting themselves up for a more engaging relationship with consumers. Sure, get the jingle in our heads, but I'll also be more likely to buy your stuff if you're really trying to help me out, or entertain me. It's one of the reasons why Red Bull and GoPro are pretty much the Kleenex and Q-tip—names that become shorthand for the type of product—of their own products categories. This week Qualcomm unleashed a 30-minute thriller written and directed by Armando Bo. WHAT?!
It's a strategy that isn't right for all brands, but as Qualcomm’s senior vice president of global marketing Tim McDonough told Co.Create, "Innovative product companies also ought to have marketing that's as innovative as what they build." Onward!
What: A man struggles with keeping his illness a secret, as a warning for men to not ignore symptoms, and the sooner we talk about it, the better.
Who: One for the Boys, director Sam Huntley
Why We Care: We've seen plenty of cancer PSAs aiming to get male audience attention through humor—whether it's Christmas ornaments, Deadpool, or talking balls—but sometimes some good ol' fashioned fear and guilt are the best way to go.
What: Neil Patrick Harris practices an awards acceptance speech with the help of hands-free Siri on his iPhone.
Who: Apple, TBWA\Media Arts Lab
Why We Care:To be honest, hearing Siri deliver a short acceptance speech is referable to the rambling, weepy, trophy ballads we're often forced to suffer through while watching awards shows. Maybe the digital assistant can give the much-discussed thank-you scroll a run for its money.
What: To celebrate Stephen Curry's second consecutive NBA MVP, Under Armour teamed with 2K Sports to boost video-game Curry's stats and skills so they can match those of IRL Curry.
Who: Under Armour, 2K Sports
Why We Care: A fun spot, juxtaposing two obsessions of many a hoops fan—watching real games and playing video games—and a unique partnership between two brands to create a marketing win for them both.
What: Picking up where the 2014 viral PSA left off, this follow up features the same child as she is forced to leave behind everything she knows and loves to become a refugee in search of a future free of terror.
Who: Save the Children UK, Don’t Panic London
Why We Care: Yet another brilliant effort to illustrate the horror and challenges for people living in conflict zones, as well as effectively extending the last hit PSA with another that inspires empathy.
What: A 30-minute thriller—written and directed by Oscar winner Armando Bo (Birdman), starring Wang Leehom, Olivia Munn, and Joan Chen—that's actually a commercial for Qualcomm's Snapdragon smartphone chips.
Who: Qualcomm, Ogilvy & Mather North America, Anonymous Content
Why We Care: Who knows what the response will be, but this star-studded swing for the fences is nothing if not admirable for pushing the concept and scale of brand-related content.