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Hot topic at Northside Media Group meetup: branded content

Promoting brands by telling the stories they facilitate.

MINY Media Center's Joana Vicente questions Tim Nolan of Huge (second from right) while Noah Rosenberg of Narratively and Clint White of WiT Media listen in. (Photo by Brady Dale)

Everyone is a storyteller now.

An ad isn’t just an ad. It’s a story about the brand. That was the crux of the conversation at the Northside Meetup at Brooklyn Brewery Monday night.

The night’s topic was “Content.” Most of the talk was about media made on behalf of brands. Examples included Huge setting up kiosks where Nike+ users could buy swag with their Nike Fuel points or a Co.Mission video made by shooting for a day in 36 Starbucks coffee shops all over the world. The presenters at the event mostly talked about how branded content is about putting a story up front that’s compelling, and somehow relating that back to the brand.

Clint White, president of WiT Media, said he liked to think of brands as tattoos. You don’t draw attention to them, but people see them.

Here are some takeaways from the night:

  • Jaron Gilinsky, CEO of Storyhunter, presented his platform for facilitating pitching, selling and getting paid for stories around the world. He said his aha moment was working with a talented stringer in Nepal who said the only two outlets to whom he could sell his stories were the Maoist rebels or the government.
  • “News, I define, as information that someone wants to suppress,” Gilinsky told the crowd (borrowing from Orwell). “Everything else is advertising.” That said, Storyhunter has started getting involved in some branded work, including helping Airbnb get some spots done, he said.
  • Kate Oppenheim of m ss ng p eces said her Greenpoint firm bet early on internet video, long before watching video online was any good at all.
  • m ss ng p eces just helped create an interactive, Occulus Rift-powered masquerade ball for Dos Equis.
  • One mistake that Narratively’s Noah Rosenberg made with one of his site’s stories was the failure to include a multimedia element. It’s not a “mistake” that would have been possible to make in the all-print era. Rosenberg said that when he published “The Subway’s No. 1 Charmer,” about a subway driver who told his passengers stories as they rode the tracks, Narratively saw failing to include any recordings along with the quotes as a missed opportunity.
  • “A brand is a brutal thing that has been delivered with high heat and a lot of money,” Clint White, of WiT Media, said.

The Northside Meetup is a way for Northside Media Group to keep the community it cultivates for its annual Northside Festival engaged through the year. The group has already begun programming for the 2015 event.

Here’s the video that Storyhunter showed, from a couple of its users, to open up the night.

Companies: Northside Media Group / Huge / Narratively
Series: Brooklyn

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