Branded content is increasingly being perceived more positively than display ads, and marketers are filling the funnel.
Italian food giant Ferrero, maker of the Nutella hazelnut chocolate spread, wants to promote some positivity and increase brand equity with “Spread the Happy,” a four-part documentary-short series on the brand’s YouTube channel that celebrates citizens in their communities.
“We were inspired by these stories of people spreading happiness and wanted to provide a platform for which to tell them,” Eric Berger, marketing director of Nutella USA, told [a]listdaily. “Since Nutella is all about spreading happiness, this idea is a great fit for our brand. We felt compelled to tell them to a large audience.”
The webseries—which includes one episode with pop group Echosmith and another about a special friendship formed between a three-year-old and the local garbage man—spotlights individuals who go out of their way to bring a moment of joy and inspiration to people—and with very little product placement of Nutella’s notorious hazelnut goodness.
Berger said they didn’t want the series to turn into an ad because branded content provides a better communication platform.
“Launching this campaign just felt like the right thing to do,” Berger said. “Hopefully people will enjoy this series and spread the happiness. Branded entertainment is a tool that we are using to build long-term brand equity, but we also have traditional advertising on via television and digital.”
Marketers from companies like Starbucks, Cap’n Crunch, Geico and Chipotle are increasingly using branded content in favor of traditional ads to improve recall, brand perception and intent/consideration.
Brand recall is 59 percentage points higher for branded content, per a joint study from IPG MediaLab, Forbes and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. The September report also noted that consumers are 14 percent more likely to seek out more content from the brands after a single exposure to branded content.
Berger said the first season of the series—which culminated Sunday—is being supported with paid social and digital media, and that success will be measured by the number of video views and feedback received from viewers.
“These inspirational stories will make a connection with people in a way that an advertisement may never will,” he said.
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