CES 2015: Marketing and content creation are merging, but consumers don’t mind

International CES

The blurring of boundaries caused by the rise of branded content renews the focus on quality content, say speakers. Sarah Shearman reports from Las Vegas.

Marketing and content creation are merging, but consumers are still savvy enough to tell the difference, according to a panel at International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015.

Speaking at the OMD Oasis event in Las Vegas on 6 January, Rick Holzman, general manager and EVP, Animal Planet, said that consumers are able to differentiate between branded and non-branded, because, “We have been marketed to all our lives.”

“Getting the right message in the right media isn’t an ad. It is not something other, but part of the experience,” he said.

Brian Robbins, founder and CEO of YouTube network AwesomenessTV, said, “Marketing now has to be content”. He discussed a recent branded content series for the platform from cruise liner Royal Caribbean (perhaps an unlikely brand to partner with a youth-focused platform), became its most popular series. “It was great marketing for the brand and unbelievably great content for us.”

He said that most viewers know when it is branded content, and often audiences will have conversations around the brand in the comment section.

Claudia Cahill, chief content officer, OMD, said it is important with this type of content that the brand “has a reason to be there,” and thinking about its role from the beginning.

Another panel at the OMD Oasis conference also honed in on the issue of content creation and marketing blurring. Ben Winkler, chief innovation officer and chief digital officer, OMD, said, “What I like most about native is the renewed focus on quality content.” Quality content is what gets shared, he added.

(Text:  Sarah Shearman. This article first appeared on Campaign US.)