The stakes are high for original branded content whether done on a moderate budget or with elaborate casting and a complex story narrative. The newest installment of HP’s “The Wolf” series is a state-of-the-art example of a traditional brand combining great storytelling with high production value to promote its core products, in this case, printers and printer security.
Newly launched HP Studios tested the waters of original cinematic-style branded content in early 2017 with the six-minute debut of “The Wolf: Nothing is Safe,” starring Christian Slater and the compelling theme of cyber warfare and the hacking of corporate and consumer networks. Subtext: Buy an HP printer and the world will be a safer place. Almost a year later, in partnership with agency Giant Spoon, the third installment in the series, “The Wolf: True Alpha,” has now graduated to a 20-minute format, still starring Slater and new addition Jonathan Banks of “Breaking Bad” fame in what AdWeek characterizes as a “fully fleshed-out tech thriller with in-depth characters.”
And while not all brands can throw dollars at such high-caliber, star-studded content, “Science and Memory,” a recent study commissioned by BBC StoryWorks, the content marketing division of BBC Global News, set out to shed light on how the brain reacts to branded content, and how certain cinematic tricks of the trade, story engagement, scene building, and emotional spikes can create a more lasting and powerful brand and brand messaging impression.
And for anyone who wants to take their own brain for a test drive through the action-packed, high-drama scenes of HP’s original series, you won’t regret a few minutes of hacker espionage and printers, not one bit.
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