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The 5 best branded content works from around the world

Social & Digital

The 5 best branded content works from around the world


Branded content was the talk of Cannes this year. Danielle Long picks her favourites and analyses why these five pieces of branded content from around the world impressed audiences.


Stop making ads and start making entertaining and engaging content! That was the rally cry from this year’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

The annual festival was dominated – once again – by talk of branded content and branded entertainment. With appearances from artists, musicians, actors, directors, marketers and ad industry heavyweights, the festival chatter was focused on the role of entertaining content and the need for fewer ads and greater creativity.

It was interesting then, that the category on the tips of everyone’s lips failed to recognise a Grand Prix. The Branded Entertainment category awarded 11 Golds but deemed none of the projects worthy of the top prize, suggesting there is still work to be done in this area.

Jury president Doug Scott, president of OgilvyEntertainment, said: “Despite the fact that we saw great submissions from clients and agencies around the world, and awarded 11 Golds, none of the work exemplified all of the key elements of extraordinary branded content – originality, craft, integration, brand alignment and most importantly narrative.”

While the projects may not have impressed the Cannes jury, many of the Lion winning work did impress audiences. Many of the winning projects had attracted huge global audiences, an impressive feat when you consider that a number of these projects were long-form content pieces, such as Sainsbury’s ‘Christmas In A Day’ film which is one hour long, and Intel’s ‘The Power Inside’, a six-part series that viewers returned to weekly.

Here is a selection of projects that showcase the best and most unique branded experiences, brand films, documentaries and series. All of these examples pushed boundaries and created innovative experiences, which engaged audiences with the brand.


5. AMIA Booth

The AMIA (Asociacion Mutual Isrealita Argentina) created an interactive sensorial experience to recreate a terrorist attack, which took place on a Jewish Community building in Argentina. The experience aimed to reengage people with the event, which remains unsolved, on the 19-year anniversary of the attack. The unique experience used real scale video projection, 3D surround sound, a vibrating platform, dust and scent dispensers and a heat and blast wave generator to recreate the experience of the attack.  Created by AMIA & Ogilvy & Mather Argentina.



4. AT&T ‘From One Second To The Next’

US Telco giant AT&T enlisted legendary director Werner Herzog to create a documentary as part of the brand’s campaign to curb the growing number of road accidents caused by people texting while driving.  The heartbreaking 35-minute film is a high quality documentary, which pulls no punches in exploring the impact and dangers of texting behind the wheel. The film has been viewed 3 million times online and is also been screened in schools throughout the US. Created by AT&T & BBDO New York.



3. Nashville ‘For The Love of Music’

Nashville Convention And Visitors Corporation wanted to show people that there was more to Nashville than Country Music in a bid to boost tourist numbers. Working with its agency VML, it created a 60-minute music documentary exploring the city’s diverse music scene featuring local residents: The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Ben Folds and Emmylou Harris among a host of others. The branded content piece was screened as programming on TV networks around the world, including ABC and Foxtel.


2. Chipotle ‘The Scarecrow’

Chipotle Mexican Food is a brand on a mission to teach the world about healthy ethical food. This powerful film is a masterclass in the power of single-minded messaging, with viewers left with little doubt about who the brand is and what it stands for. A no holds barred attack on the Big Food industry, the rise of GM foods and factory foods, the film is manipulative and packs a punch. The Scarecrow is part of the brand’s strategy to avoid traditional advertising and instead focus on branded entertainment projects or ‘unbranded content’ as Chipotle calls it. 12 million views and counting. Created by Chipotle and CAA Marketing and Moonbot Studios.



1. Axe – Generation Astronaut

Axe set out to prove that ‘Nothing Beats Astronaut’ with an ambitious global competition and campaign giving people the chance to train as astronauts and go to space. The Axe Apollo Space Academy ran across 180 markets around the world and attracted 2 million applicants. To bring the competition to life they created a 60-minute documentary film called ‘Generation Astronaut’ which is currently rolling out on TV channels around the world. The campaign is Nike Academy meets Red Bull Stratos but with astronauts. Red Bull proved nothing brings global audiences together quite like taking people into space, Unilever and BBH London took that insight to a new level by taking 23 people to space.



Danielle Long is the editor of Branded Arts Review, an online publication dedicated to showcasing the best branded entertainment and experiences from around the world. Danielle has 12 years experience as a journalist in the advertising and marketing industry. Follow @BAR_snacks on Twitter. 

Danielle Long

Danielle Long is the editor of Branded Arts Review (brandedartsreview.com), an online publication dedicated to showcasing the best branded entertainment and experiences from around the world. Danielle has 12 years experience as a journalist in the advertising and marketing industry. Follow: @BAR_snacks and sign up for newsletters: [email protected]

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