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Is it an ad or is it content?

Michael Joffe – Brand Activation Lead, Google
Twitter: @mwjoffe

The boardwalk outside the Palais des Festivals is full activity – it’s 30 degrees and beautiful out there. As a juror you can see all of it happening – from the balcony. It’s all ultimately just out of reach because you are in a dark room drinking pod coffee and eating stale croissants. The little bit of sunlight that sneaks through the only open window hurts your eyes because you’ve spent the last 12 hours looking at a projection screen watching entries.

Branded Content is the most grueling category. It’s 6 full days of judging and I’m on day 2. It’s also the most exciting category (with respect to my fellow jurors). Despite the fact that while other juries break I’ll be in this room until all hours of the night until the final day of the festival I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

As I begin day two of judging here are a few lessons from day 1.

1) The number of pod espressos you can drink before noticing diminishing returns is exactly one sip.

2) Wearing sunscreen is a must. Not to protect you from the sun – as a branded content juror you don’t need to worry about natural light. A healthy amount of sunscreen ensures that even after 8 straight hours of arguing you still smell like vacation and not the sweaty mess you actually are.

3) Many many many brands want to align with social justice but very few do it well. The question to marketers is: does your brand have a clear and authentic purpose or are you just sponsoring / documenting somebody else’s story?

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