This Week In Branded Content (July 7)

“Everything hip-hop touches is transformed by the encounter, especially things like language and brands, which leave themselves open to constant redefinition…. Cristal means one thing; but hip-hop gave its definition some new entries.”

– Jay-Z






New Volvo Trucks Stunt Involves World Record Setting 3-Year-Old Boy

Volvo Trucks teases new stunt. Over the past years, Volvo Trucks has gained global attention for their crazy Youtube movies showing of features of their trucks in daring stunts. Next Tuesday Volvo will reveal another video featuring a truck and a 3-year-old boy setting a world record. Two years ago, Volvo let a 4-year-old girl remote control a full sized truck. In 2014, Jean-Claude Van Damm performed an epic split between two moving Volvo trucks.


BY Luigi Lugmayr



Limbo: A Virtual Experience Of Waiting For Asylum – 360 Video

What is it like to flee your home and start again in a new country? Between April 2016 and March 2017, 36,846 people applied for asylum in the UK. As of March, a backlog in cases meant the total number of people still waiting for a decision stood at nearly 31,500. While asylum seekers wait for their Home Office interview and the subsequent decision, they live on £5 a day and are unable to work or choose where they live. In Limbo you step into their shoes and experience their state of mind while you wait for the decision that will determine the rest of your life.


BY Shehani Fernando, Francesca Panetta, Nicole Jackson, Pascal Wyse, Juliet Stevenson, Joe Dunthorne and ScanLAB Projects




Korean Air Explores Heart Of Korean Culture With BBC Series

Awareness of contemporary South Korea culture has reached a global audience in the form of K-pop, Taekwondo and the Gangnam district in recent years. But beyond these highly commercialised cultural exports, Korean Air wants the wider world to learn about its thriving children’s literature and the many dog-friendly cafes in Seoul, for example. The airline has recently partnered with BBC Storyworks, the commercial content division of BBC Advertising, to launch the ‘Heart of Korea’ series as part of the branded digital series ‘The Stories Within’ on its site. This division has previously produced similar branded content series for HSBC and DuPont.


BY Runze Yu



What To Make Of The Release Strategy Behind Jay-Z’s 4:44

Jay-Z dropped 4:44, his 13th studio album, at midnight on June 30. Though the album has only been out for a few days, the release strategy behind 4:44 provides insight into the business of music streaming, as well as a glimpse of Jay-Z’s thinking for capitalizing in this space through his own streaming platform Tidal


By Robert Elder




Marketing’s Creative Suicide

For a while now, science has been the boss of marketing. If you have doubts, check out Leadtail’s CMO Influencer List. There you’ll see the frontrunners hold engineering, statistics, and computer science degrees. The secret to their success? It isn’t a pocketful of Big Ideas. It’s STEM…The new and improved Madison Avenue. It’s mind-bending…and rather exciting. Still, there’s something deeply troubling about this trajectory. It seems marketing has dropped everything that doesn’t scale. Where has all the creativity gone?


BY Shelly Lucas



‘We Represent Them’: How Musicians Kept The UK’s Attention On Grenfell

We urge the authorities to tell the fucking truth, first and foremost. We urge them to do something. We urge the fucking government to be held accountable for the fuckery.” So said Stormzy – the nation’s leading grime star – on stage at Glastonbury, unzipping his trademark Adidas track top to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with the word Grenfell on a heart-shaped London Underground roundel. As he rapped his verse from the Simon Cowell-backed charity single (“Because that could’ve been my mum’s house / Or that could’ve been my nephew”), it was one of the most moving and politically charged moments of the weekend, easily on a par with Jeremy Corbyn’s statesmanlike address. It was also yet another example of the unprecedented level of support from musicians in the wake of the fire that ripped through the high-rise block in North Kensington.


BY Hannah J Davies




What’s The Future Of Modern Commerce? Or, Why Did Amazon Buy Whole Foods?

Why Did Amazon Buy Whole Foods? Many speculate that Amazon did so to thwart the mounting offensive from traditional retailers. As the news of the Amazon/Whole Foods deal monopolized press headlines, Walmart announced the acquisition of Bonobos menswear. In 2016, Walmart also bought, an online bulk retailer, for $3.3 billion, the largest deal ever for an e-commerce company. The acquisition wasn’t just to give Walmart access to new channels and customers. They also brought in new thinking and expertise to shake up the executive ranks. Bonobos, in particular, understands up-market consumers and how to balance online and physical retail strategies to reach them. This is a key area in which Walmart has struggled in the past.


BY Brian Solis



The CNN-Trump GIF Debacle Is Another Reminder That Everything You Post On The Internet Is Fair Game

Because 2017 is an dystopian fever dream from which there is no escape, we are now well into our fourth consecutive day of strenuously arguing about a .gif file, apparently created by someone named “HanAssholeSolo” and tweeted to millions by the President of the United States, which portrays Donald Trump during his professional wrestling days beating the hell out of some guy with the CNN logo superimposed on top of his head. Just as our Founding Fathers would have wanted. Incredibly, what’s now at issue in this astonishingly dumb saga is not whether a cartoon of the president slapping a media outlet is a good or bad thing for democracy, but is instead whether CNN, which later spoke with an extremely contrite HanAssholeSolo, conducted itself properly in reporting that information.


BY Jay Willis




EXCLUSIVE: Documents Expose How Hollywood Promotes War On Behalf Of The Pentagon, CIA And NSA

Tom Secker and Matthew Alford report on their astonishing findings from trawling through thousands of new US military and intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents reveal for the first time the vast scale of US government control in Hollywood, including the ability to manipulate scripts or even prevent films too critical of the Pentagon from being made — not to mention influencing some of the most popular film franchises in recent years. This raises new questions not only about the way censorship works in the modern entertainment industry, but also about Hollywood’s little known role as a propaganda machine for the US national security apparatus.


BY Tom Secker and Matthew Alford



Time Runs Out For The 30-Second Television Ad

One of the winners last week at the Cannes Lions, the advertising industry’s annual festival of self-congratulation, was an advertisement for a new Gillette razor designed for carers to shave the elderly. The ad by the agency Grey New York is a delicately filmed and moving narrative; it is also three minutes long. There you have the advertising industry’s existential problem. Who will spare three minutes to watch an online video ad in these days of vanishingly short attention spans? Who even allows a 30-second ad to play without clicking as soon as possible on the box invitingly marked “Skip Ad”?


BY John Gapper






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