This Week In Branded Content (July 21)

“The idea was that you don’t depart from a very human scale of storytelling. You don’t cut away to generals in rooms with maps kind of, you know, talking about the politics or the history or whatever. You just stick with what people at the time would have seen and experienced.”

– Christopher Nolan







Disney And Lenovo To Sell Star Wars Augmented Reality Headset

Disney and Lenovo are launching an augmented reality (AR) headset for Star Wars fans. The device, announced at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, will offer massive ground battles, alongside Holochess, the holographic game Chewbacca and C-3PO play aboard the Millennium Falcon. Hardware details are slim at the moment, all we know is the headset will require a smartphone, similar to Samsung’s Gear VR or Google’s Daydream View. Disney did announce a game for the headset, called Star Wars Jedi Challenges. Players will use a motion controller, shaped like the lightsaber used by Luke and Anakin Skywalker, and Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to fight in the game.


BY David Curry



Renowed Author James Patterson Writes Ultimate Review For Lexus’ LC 500 Coupe Via M&C Saatchi

Lexus Australia has announced a collaboration with one of the world’s foremost authors – and former executive creative director James Patterson (pictured left) – to launch its all-new Lexus LC coupe via M&C Saatchi, Sydney. Patterson is one of the world’s best-known and best-selling authors, with more than 325 million of his books sold globally. He is ranked #1 on Forbes’ highest paid authors and was also #3 on its Celebrity List. Patterson’s works have also been adapted for television and film including Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls and Zoo.


BY M&C Saatchi Sydney




Back In Action

When Jeffrey Katzenberg touched down in Sun Valley, Idaho, last week, it extended a streak of appearances at the annual conference going back more than 30 years, nearly to the time Allen & Co. first launched its event in 1983. But for Katzenberg this year wasn’t just another elite gathering for captains of industry; it represented a critical juncture in a journey he quietly embarked on last August after leaving DreamWorks Animation, the studio he sold to Comcast’s NBCUniversal for $3.8 billion.


BY Andrew Wallenstein



Data Takes To The Road – The Technology Behind The Tour de France

As recently as 2014, the only way to find out real-time information during the Tour de France was from a chalkboard, held up by a race executive sitting as a passenger on a motorbike driving ahead of the cyclists. For fans accustomed to enhancing their enjoyment and understanding from a deluge of data when watching football, cricket, tennis and other high-profile sports, the world’s greatest cycle race was something of a challenge to watch. TV viewers could see the timings, and watch numerous camera angles, but the subtleties and tactics of elite professional road racing were a mystery to all but serious cycling enthusiasts.


By Bryan Glick




Comic-Con 2017: Best Of The Convention Hall Floor

San Diego Comic-Con opened its floor for preview night Wednesday revealing rows upon rows of oddities, art and swag. But how does one distinguish between the treasures and the trash? Is it worth sacrificing an hour of your life just to stand inside a giant pineapple from the animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants?” We’re here to answer these pressing questions for you. Together we combed through the body pillows, DVDs and limited edition enamel pins to bring you the most interesting and innovative things hiding inside the massive convention hall. This is your guide to the Comic-Con floor.


BY Meredith Woerner and Tracy Brown



Disney Reveals Plans For ‘Star Wars’ Immersive Hotel

Hold on to your light sabers! Disney has unveiled a new way to experience the universe of Jedi, droids and wookiees — an immersive “Star Wars”-themed hotel. Due to open as part of the hotly anticipated “Star Wars” land being added to Disney World in Orlando, the hotel will allow guests to go on their own adventures on a self-contained spaceship. Tantalizing images of the hotel, complete with windows that show galactic views, were released as Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, revealed a slew of new attractions. Among revelations is the name for Disney’s new expansions in Florida and California: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.


BY Francesca Street




What Really Happens Inside A PR Crisis War Room

There’s no shortage of corporate drama. Our news feeds have been clogged with an endless parade of companies unraveling before our eyes. Just a few examples: Uber, Tesla, that notorious Pepsi ad, United Airlines, and a string of corporate security breaches. The minute I see news about companies in trouble, I send good thoughts to the PR team. It’s their lot in life to tend to any issue that gets public attention—planned or unplanned. And let me assure you, those unplanned emergencies are tough. As a veteran of Google and Twitter’s communications teams, I’ve been privy to a variety of corporate flare-ups.


BY Karen Wickre



The Great Retail Apocalypse

Much has been written about the “retail apocalypse.” While the US economy has been going through a general recovery, retail stores are struggling to keep their doors open. So far, in this year alone, there have been nine major bankruptcies, which is already more than those that happened in 2016. Major department stores such as J.C. Penney and Macy’s have announced over a hundred store closures. Menswear stalwarts such as J. Crew and Ralph Lauren are bleeding money. Payless filed for bankruptcy; Urban Outfitters say they’re overextended; and malls all over the country are quickly becoming ghost towns. The only stores that seem to be doing well these days are fast fashion retailers (and even then, not all of them).


BY Die, Workwear




Peter Bart: Can ‘Dunkirk’s Christopher Nolan Sell Brit-Centric WWII Tale To U.S. Filmgoers?

Poised and primped as always in his crisp blazer, Christopher Nolan takes center stage Friday as a forceful advocate for his ambitious film Dunkirk. In his pitch to filmgoers and to the media, Nolan urges viewers to see Dunkirk as a Hitchcockian suspense movie, not as a conventional war film. Indeed Nolan’s repeated references to Hitchcock reflect his reverence for his mentor’s showmanship in promoting his films, as well as for his directing gifts. Reserved and formal by nature, Nolan and his studio, Warner Bros, face a daunting challenge in selling Dunkirk as a major summer tentpole, battling sequels and superheroes for attention. For, despite the “suspense sell,” Dunkirk is still a period piece without star casting about a military debacle.


BY Peter Bart



Diminishing Returns

When MTV News laid off a big chunk of its writing staff recently, the company line was that it would be “shifting resources into short-form video content.” When Vocativ fired its entire editorial team in June, it was “undertaking a strategic shift to focus exclusively on video content.” When Fox Sports 1 canned 20 writers and editors earlier this year, this was done, as Bloomberg reported, so it could move its “resources and business model away from written content and instead focus on our fans’ growing appetite for premium video across all platforms.” When Time Inc. axed 300 employees, it did so to “implement [its] strategy in key growth areas, such as video, native advertising and brand extensions.”


BY Adam Clair






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