There was a landmark moment for Irish television last night (Wed 1st March).
From 9.30 p.m., RTE Two broadcast two sports documentaries one after another. Slightly unusual, but no real surprise there, the GAA season is gearing up and we’re in peak rugby time.
The difference? Both ‘The Toughest Trade’ and ‘Four Days in September’ were branded content documentaries, funded by AIB and Vodafone and carried by the national broadcaster.
It’s possible, but unlikely that this has happened before, and thus, it’s a real watershed moment for the Irish, and indeed global branded content movement.
We know that generally, digital advertising is becoming less effective and attention spans are dimming. So it makes sense for brands, particularly large sponsors who have access to ‘behind the scenes’, to spend more and more trying to create things that people really want to watch.
The Toughest Trade is part of AIB’s excellent multi award winning GAA grassroots sponsorship. The premise of the two part series is a job swap between an amateur gaelic football/hurling player and a professional rugby, football, AFL or even ice hockey pro. It’s an interesting, well executed premise that’s also supported by a smart brand owned digital and PR campaign.
Meanwhile, at 10.30 p.m. the focus turned to rugby, with Vodafone’s second brand sponsored documentary based around their sponsorship of the Irish rugby team. ‘Four Days in November’ captures the mood of triumph around one of Ireland’s most successful Autumn International series ever.
With unparalleled access behind the scenes, the programme takes its cues from famous rugby documentaries like ‘Living With Lions’, using interviews, match footage and training clips to give a real sense of ‘behind the velvet rope’.
Both docs have been well received online and viewership is expected to be high. But the real key takeaway here is the changing of the guard when it comes to brand sponsored entertainment. This new area opens up a world of opportunities and potential innovation for agencies, producers, creators and indeed stars, while offering broadcasters some great access and programming that they otherwise would need to spend big to create or acquire.
At Mediacon ’17, one of the themes we’ll investigate and dive deep into will be branded content. Click here to secure your place now.