Just came across this piece of “branded content” on buzzfeed.
23 Everyday Situations We Would Love To Be Rescued From
It is pretty standard buzzfeed list – a bunch of mildly amusing pictures with a large dose of schadenfreude – the only thing that makes it branded content is an intro line (which I didn’t read until I got to the end) and a trailer for a TV show at the end. Essentially though the list was created to be relevant to the TV show about Coast Guards, but the only reason I even noticed was because of how tortuous the connection was.
Buzzfeed are clearly working to a KPI of dwell time – hence the 23 things in the list even though there are probably only 5 good/original photos in the list. But in this instance dwell time is a completely unnecessary KPI.
The only value of this piece of content was to make sure that I noticed and remembered the name of a particular TV channel – and do you know what, I can’t. This isn’t being done for effect, but I’m going to have to go back now and check – OK, it was the weather channel – I would never have picked that.
So someone like me whose job it is to pay attention to this stuff and who is writing a blog post about it, had forgotten within less than 5 minutes what the brand was that was sponsoring the post.
This is a great demonstration of how optimising to the wrong KPI can produce the opposite effect to that intended.
The only reason for the Weather channel to do any advertising is so that when people want to know about the weather they remember to switch on the weather channel or visit
the website. That’s it. So the most important things in this post should have been 1) Do people notice the Weather Channel brand? 2) Do people have a better understanding of how the weather channel is relevant to them?
23 random photos of bizarre non-weather related situations only serve to swamp the brand and eliminate any relevance that the weather channel might have had. As they get progressively less funny, they also maximise the chance that you stop reading before you get to the end and so don’t see the primary reason for the post – the trailer for the show!
If they had just run with this one it might have actually landed the message – although then they would have been better off running it as a piece of display advertising copy or even a promoted tweet when they would have reached siginificantly more consumers!!
Sorry for the rant, I just can’t be the only person that resents this devaluing of content and of my time. I refer you once again to my manifesto for sustainable communications