Advertising is a bad job

In 1993 at the Venice Biennale, Maurizio Cattelan presented “Lavorare è un brutto mestiere” (“Working is a bad job”); a piece that consisted of the installation of advertising space within the art exhibit, given as a concession to an advertising agency and then sold to a perfume brand.

The Guggenheim Museum, in 'All' its glory | Marina Chetner

The Guggenheim Museum, in ‘All’ its glory | Marina Chetner

 Creativity and the Media

Cattelan’s stunt is more artistic than commercial, but it describes the mechanism behind branded content well.


“Wanting to give a definition, we can say that brand entertainment is an editorial product conceived, realised and financed by a brand, completely original or integrated in a pre-existing communicative project. Conveyed by media platforms, it is aimed at entertaining a target audience in a way that is as consistent with the values and objectives of the brand as with the characteristic elements of the platform.” 


This is the definition of brand entertainment given by OBE (the Observatory of Branded Entertainment).

But what is this advertising technique and in what world does it increase the equity of brands and products? 

Branded content 

Among the several advantages of branded content, we certainly have a great attention that the content manages to maintain and the interest that the brand manages to attract. Contrary to traditional formats such as the 15 or 30 seconds (online or offline) spot, the brand message is able to indirectly affect the consumer in the moment where an advertising message is proposed. The brand is attributed to the role of entertainer.

Brand Entertainment usually comes in audio-video formats such as feature films, short films, documentaries and TV shows.  

It can be simply audio such as podcasts, radio shows or songs. 

It can be social projects, books and any other media format you can think of.

Branded movie

One brand that recently made excellent use of the format was Airbnb, which produced the feature film GAY CHORUS DEEP SOUTH, and presented it at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.

In the wake of the enactment of anti-LGBTQ laws in some southern states following the 2016 election, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) – the first openly gay chorus in U.S. history – embarked on a tour across the American Deep South, to address what is perceived as a wave of blind hatred. This brought a message of hope to anyone who unfortunately has to deal with intolerance on a daily basis. 


The documentary is well done (100% critic score on rotten tomatoes), as it portrays Airbnb’s values (inclusivity, diversity and belonging) through the language of film.

As a community, Airbnb is rooted in the power of people to people connections to drive belonging and this film tells that story. We believe that every person – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity –  should not only be treated with dignity and respect, but should be welcomed and celebrated. When we heard the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus was touring to sing about those values, we wanted to help amplify this shared mission of belonging.”

James Goode, Airbnb Head of Creative

The results? Greater awareness of all the places visited by the chorus members who are the protagonists of the film, and greater reach to an audience still unexplored by the Silicon Valley brand.

Branded podcast

Another example to mention when discussing branded content is certainly that of podcasts, which have been on the rise in recent years in Italy as well. 

COVID-19's Impact on Podcast Listening (April Update) - Voxnest Blog

  The impact of Covid-19 on podcast ratings in Italy (April 2020)


Podcasts such as Elio and Tech stories (in collaboration with Samsung), which discusses how we can live better thanks to technology. With Diary of a Pregnancy, Aptamil manages to reach the specific targets of the brand by speaking in a language that goes beyond the desire for consumption.


  • 94% of listeners listen to podcasts while doing other tasks (e.g., sports, cooking, studying, shopping, etc.)
  • 81% of those who listen to a podcast take some sort of action with the brand once they finish listening  
  • Most podcast listeners use social media for more than 3 hours a day, and often share the content they listen to through posts or stories
  • Creates a trusting relationship with the user
    The intimate tone of voice, its format and duration allow for a relationship to be established between the brand and the listener. 
  • Tells a story
    Its scope can be for entertainment, informational or educational purposes. It may take the form of an interview or a documentary, a collage of voices or a single story. In any case, it should communicate something. 
  • Communicates its values
    The Branded Podcast is not just a longer commercial; consequently, it’s a time to share your values and story with users and put yourself on the same level. 
  • Gives voice to the brand
    The podcast is an opportunity to give a brand a voice. If your products could talk, what would they say about you?

An appointment next month to understand how TV series and iconic products may create real top-selling phenomena. What really does generate real peaks in sales volume?

The key to success? Finding the perfect partner to help your brand enter this world by being relevant to its audience. 

If you want to discover more about the potential of branded content for your communication strategy, contact us! 

Also read: Digital revolution 2021