Setting the benchmark for creative excellence in communications, the International Festival of Creativity – Cannes Lions – will reward creativity in branded content & entertainment, defined as the creation of, or natural integration into, original content by a brand. Avi Savar, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Big Fuel, a full-service global social media marketing and communications company based in New York that takes brands from content to commerce, will chair the inaugural Branded Content & Entertainment Lions jury.
The purpose of branded content and entertainment is to deliver marketing messages by engaging consumers via relevant content platforms rather than traditional advertising methods.
Entrants to the Branded Content & Entertainment Lions category will demonstrate how a brand has successfully worked independently or in association with a content producer or publisher to develop and create or co-create entertaining and engaging content for their audience. This could be either by creating original content or programming for a brand or by naturally integrating a brand into existing formats by partnering with a publisher or media partner.
Entries should demonstrate how consumer insight successfully integrated into original content drives audience engagement and creates synergy across paid, owned and earned media.
Entries to Branded Content & Entertainment Lions might leverage a single media channel, such as web video or broadcast, but may also use multiple platforms to deliver content to audiences across various channels, including: radio, magazines, books, gaming, music, video, mobile, social, community, blogs, experiential events, and more.
Since the use of branded content & entertainment differs from one country to another, entrants will be required to describe the current situation around branded content & entertainment in their country or the region where the campaign appeared, including any restrictions or regulations imposed by TV stations, broadcasting companies, government or other regulating body.
The first Branded Content & Entertainment Lions jury will be chaired by Avi Savar, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Big Fuel, who will lead nine branded content & entertainment experts from around the world. Avi launched Big Fuel, a pure-play social media agency designed for the needs of large brands, in 2004. What started as a one-man “branded content studio” has today grown into the largest social media agency in the world – with clients that include: T-Mobile, Sherton, Westin, Starwood Preferred Guest, The Children’s Place, Nurtisystem, Bacardi, Gore-Tex, Citi, Clorox, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Philips. In June 2011, Avi led Big Fuel to a successful acquisition by French media giant Publicis Groupe thus giving Big Fuel a global footprint and making it the most dominant social media agency worldwide.
Avi Savar has spent his professional career connecting with and motivating audiences through content. He has created highly stylised programming for companies such as USA Networks, Fox, USA, Columbia Tri-Star, and Showtime Networks. Prior to launching Big Fuel, Avi served as a Producer for ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ before being tapped to create and develop breakthrough entertainment-based programming for both MTV Networks and VH1.
“The International Festival of Creativity at Cannes is the premier advertising award show. I’m honoured and excited to participate and look forward to the celebration of branded content & entertainment as part of it,” said Avi upon his appointment. “As Jury President I hope to guide the process in a way that will inspire people to create innovative and immersive content.”
Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions commented, “Branded content & entertainment has become key to brand communication that creatively engages with consumers. Therefore to include it in Cannes Lions is important not only for the continued development of the Festival as a global celebration of creativity in communications, but to also give due recognition of the convergence of marketing and entertainment.”
“We are delighted to count on the expertise of Avi Savar, an innovator whose work continues to influence the shape of brand communications, media and customer engagement, to guide and set the standard of this new category in its inaugural year,” he continued.
The Branded Content & Entertainment Lions winners will be announced on Saturday 23 June, in Cannes, alongside the Film, Craft, Titanium and Integrated winners. Additional information on Branded Content & Entertainment Lions will be available when entries open on 26 January.
Branded Content & Entertainment, together with the already announced new Mobile Lions section, brings the total number of Cannes Lions awards categories to 15.