Branded content is “capable of redefining the centre of gravity of what advertising is,” according to former Channel 4 chief executive, David Abraham, who is set to chair the judging panel for The Drum Content Awards this year.
Abraham, who is also the co-founder of advertising agency St Luke’s, founded Wonderhood Studios in April after overseeing Channel 4 from 2010 to 2017.
Speaking to The Drum, Abraham explained the role he believed the medium had to play in the modern marketing mix.
“Advertising is evolving more towards an always-on, editorially-curated model by virtue of the fact that brands are existing in a 24-7 world. Therefore mixing broadcast and editorial skills with brand strategy and execution skills in new ways [is] redefining the sensibility of the advertising industry in its broadest sense,” he said.
Abraham also hinted at what his fledgling business will aim to achieve, while questioning the need for the use of the term ‘branded content’ in general to describe the service it will offer.
“Marketing is definitely going towards a more editorial direction that ever before,” he said.
“That is partly because brands can express themselves 52 weeks a year and the channels that allow them to interact with consumers directly have changed their sales strategies."
He went on to discuss his view on the creative element of the content is evolving: “In an environment where regulation is changing and encouraging innovation, some of the limitations that existed in the past are being loosened to encourage investment into good content.”
This led Abraham to claim that brands were learning editorial lessons in how to gain attention through paid and shared media: “All brand owners are seeking to optimise benefits from an editorial point of view, although those capabilities often can also appear quite tactical,” he reasoned, suggesting a continued tension between advertising and editorial approaches.
“A central part of a brand strategy is usually led by an integrated approach where strong brand planning and brand strategy skills are at the very heart from a starting point; so having the brand idea which can then be expressed through multiple forms,” he continued to explain, stating his belief that the two approaches will move closer together over as more branded content is demanded by clients and lessons are learned over time in creating successful campaigns.
Abraham will lead a jury that already includes the likes of: Lars Silberbauer, Lego Group’s global director of social media and search; Claire Heys, director of content and partnerships at ITV; Gareth Rowe, head of brand partnerships at Samsung Electronics UK; and Jason Miller, global content marketing leader for Linkedin, among many more.
The awards ceremony will take place on 6 November at the Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel in London. Entries are now open with submissions made through The Drum Content Awards website and the deadline set for 24 August, with extensions available on request.