So I stumbled upon a rather amazingly in-depth and celebrity-ridden “social film”, courtesy of Intel and Toshiba. Titled “The Power Inside”, it’s an incredibly elaborate production that exists solely online.
And yet, despite amazing production value, real star power (Harvey Keitel), and rather creative writing, the view counts on YouTube are abysmal. While the first episode of this six part series earned a million and a half views, the next three struggle to make the 35,000. That’s a true pity because this series is really well produced. For dedicated brand content, it feels incredibly generous, giving far more time to things like joke-writing and character development than product features and sponsored messaging. Sure, there’s a chance for viewers/fans to participate through social media and actually appear in the film via participation through Facebook. Nevertheless, the end result really doesn’t feel particularly compelling.
The problem is probably length, though that’s also what makes it kind of fascinating. So far, it’s been a very long driveway, often amusing but not really clear on what it’s overall message will be. And as an episodic piece with a new segment released every week, it may be struggling to sustain interest among so other distractions in our daily life.
Still, this is a brave experiment in a nascent medium. Creating shareworthy brand content driven by PR and fan engagement is truly the future of brand advertising…but it is arriving in fits and starts. And sadly, this seems more of a fit than a start.
Will the future of branded content accept a longer form, episodic release? We will have to wait and see.
But kudos to the brave marketers at Intel and Toshiba for trying. I was happy to sit down and catch up on this story, dedicating nearly a half hour to view all four episodes of the wild, shaggy dog tale you are spinning.
And I’m already looking forward to next Thursday, when you release the next one. I only wish there were more people like me looking forward to that also.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson