By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

April 10, 2014 | 4 min read

Broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy wants to see brands invest some of their huge advertising budgets into short-form video to create content that is not merely an ad.

“Social media and the people on it are very sophisticated, and they do not like to be obviously sold the way a lot of brands would like, and the way they used to in terms of old fashioned television spot advertising. And so you’ve got to think much more cleverly about what kind of content you are thinking of commissioning,” said the Channel 4 presenter.

His comments came after he hopped in the back of The Drum’s branded Advertising Week Europe taxi cab following a session he chaired looking at why brands should to be spending more on short-form.

Summarising his key takeaways from the session, Guru-Murthy explained that consumers are becoming much savvier about how brands communicate with them, especially across social media, and the hard sell is no longer a tactic that will work – they want to be entertained.

“People know when it’s just an obvious sell job and they don’t like it. They don’t mind being sold to or things being sponsored if ‘I’m being entertained, or you’re making me laugh’. It’s just the kind of obvious ‘can I get some of that money in your pocket’ people don’t like.”

He highlighted the work of Bombay Sapphire – which recently won a Bafta for its branded content competition encouraging people create their own films – saying that the short videos that resulted from the competition were “something that you want your brand to sponsor”.

Speaking about Channel 4’s approach, Guru-Murthy said that 4OD have a new proposition called The Shorts where content will be commissioned for brands through a dedicated team.

“[It] is a very interesting proposition because that is people who normally make just ordinary funded television who are now going to get involved in some way of the editorial or creative process of advertiser funded content.”

When asked whether he has any concern about the blurring of editorial and commercial lines he admitted it is difficult to predict how it will be judged both internally and by the public, but it is a risk worth taking.

“We’ve just got to kind of watch it and see how it evolves and when we don’t like it we’ll know and the public will go, ‘no we didn’t like that don’t do it again’. There are lots of opportunities here but we aren’t sure how it’s going to pan out. Which is why short-form content is quite a good place to make mistakes: it doesn’t cost you that much, you can try different things and see what works and what doesn’t.”

As The Drum’s taxi cab neared Guru-Murthy’s West London home, he ended by urging more brands to invest in short-from content.

“You’ve got these brands who’ve got huge advertising budgets; if they actually took some of that budget and made content, whether its drama or music or comedy or whatever it might be, instead of an advert, that’s quite an interesting idea I think and we might start thinking of brands differently.”

This is the first of several #Hailthedrum interviews conducted during Advertising Week Europe,which will run on The Drum website over the coming weeks.

The 'Hail The Drum' series was produced in partnership with Hailo and Media Agency Group. The wrap for the taxi was courtesy of Media Agency Group.

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