5 JUL 2024

Carlotta Rossi Spencer: “People are starting to respect the concept of branded content”

The Head of Branded Entertainment Business Development at Banijay talked with Señal News about the evolution of branded content in the industry and how it has lifted its value.

5 JUL 2024

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Branded content and entertainment funded by brands offer a way for companies to share their narratives in a more genuine and captivating way. Rather than depending on conventional advertising techniques, which can often feel intrusive or aggressive, brands can produce content that aligns with the interests of their target audience. As more brands aim to create work that boosts relevance, targeting, reach, and visibility while telling compelling and authentic stories, there is an ever-growing abundance of brand content for audiences to engage with. Carlotta Rossi Spencer, Head of Branded Entertainment Business Development at Banijay, talked with Señal News about the evolving landscape of branded content in the entertainment industry and how it has become a valuable production that maintains high entertainment quality.

The executive shared her thoughts on how branded content has earned a spot among other entertainment productions as an equal, instead of being seen as a low-quality production: “I think what's really new is that people are starting to respect the concept of branded content. So, it is there as a commercial opportunity, but it has been years where the attitude has been a little bit ‘if it's branded, it doesn't meet the standards of a good production’, whereas now, we're in a situation where it's us, as well as other player in the U.S. and Europe, doing great shows. I always say, we're talking about entertainment made for and with brands, so the key word is still entertainment. We are producers of something that people want to watch. So, if you do it with a brand, you still have a great product in the end.” She also added: “I think what's changing is the attitude, and if you change that culture, then you have more commercial possibilities, and then you have more possibilities of working with brands in a very cohesive and coherent way, and of working also with a lot of different players.” Rossi Spencer highlighted a cultural change happening around branded content and its acceptance, attributing it to the appearance of quality branded productions and their recognition in the global industry, as for example in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which include a specific category for branded content.

Last year, Beyond Productions, a Banijay company, presented a documentary, called “Mind Games – The Experiment,” which was commissioned by international sportswear brand ASICS. The production was an editorially driven, impartial and unbranded film, which the executive said is hard to realize that it has been commissioned by a brand.

However, for Rossi there is still improvement to be made, especially in getting together the different areas that are involved in the production of a branded content: “You have to have people that speak different languages and connect these divisions. Because once you find the right people that can connect, it's because everybody has a strategy. So you have an editorial strategy, a commercial strategy, a marketing strategy, these three speak different languages and you have to be able to put them together.”

Currently, the company is working on a branded solution for “The Secret Life of 4-Year-Olds,” a UK show that had large success on Channel 4 Linear. Alongside the digital commissioning team of Channel 4, Banijay is producing only digital pieces on different platforms. “It gives Channel 4 the opportunity to bring back something that was already successful for them, and it gives a CMO the ability to say ‘I recognize this title and I know that I can bring my values back with that title’,” said Rossi.

In Portugal, the company recently launched “Mistura Beirão,” a talent show for cocktail makers, in partnership with premium Portuguese liqueur Licor Beirão and broadcaster TVI. Moreover, in Italy, it is producing the second season of “Maître Chocolatier – Talenti in Sfida” in collaboration with Lindt & Sprüngli Spa for Sky Italia’s free-to-air channel TV8.

By Diego Alfagemez and Federico Martinez