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How Sky makes the many faces of content count

Every great advertising campaign tells a story - so why restrict that story to 30 seconds? With branded content entering a new era, the combination of data and technology can take stories further, Sky Media's Rachel Bristow writes

Budweiser’s ‘Dream goal’: tongue-in-cheek competition uses Sky football presenters and is now in its second year
Budweiser’s ‘Dream goal’: tongue-in-cheek competition uses Sky football presenters and is now in its second year

Sky Media joined the Content Marketing Association (CMA) earlier this summer. Is it a bold new venture for a media owner to look into the world of content? Far from it – it’s the natural progression for a company that has long been committed to instilling creativity and innovation into advertising.

At Sky, challenging the norms, pushing boundaries and creating great content is in our DNA. At Sky Media, we’re no different. We’ve been creating content for brands for many years – but why is it changing?
Now, more than ever, brands and media owners are getting closer to understanding each other’s businesses. In turn, these partnerships are allowing broader and more engaging opportunities that benefit
all involved.

The advantage we have is our world-leading data and technology. The scale of our TV, digital and social platforms, combined with creativity, means we can produce engaging cross-screen content and campaigns for brands, and understand who’s consuming it and where. 

Our Sky AdVance technology, for example, allows us to sequence TV and digital exposure – ideal for content-driven storytelling. But beyond the screen there are more than 12 million households we can help brands engage with, along with pubs (Sky Sports), music gigs (MTV) and supermarkets, via brand-licensing deals.

Collaborative effort
When we moved Sky Media closer to the rest of the Sky family in Osterley, it was, in large part, due to knowing we could benefit from being closer to those who make the Sky brand what it is today: the programme-makers, the journalists, the presenters and the great talent. Collaboration is key for all our projects.

Our Budweiser "Dream goal" series is a perfect example. The campaign involves working with the client, media agency, creative agencies and at least four Sky departments, including Sky talent, producers and directors. 

The tongue-in-cheek competition, now in its second year on Sky Sports, provides a true and genuine hook for viewers. It’s TV, online and social working together. Everyone’s thrilled with tens of thousands
of online views for content, but with an average TV campaign getting 234 million views and there being 17 million conversations about TV advertising every night, there’s a clear route to fame.

More recently we’ve undertaken the ambitious project of helping Volvo launch an entire series of short films on Sky Atlantic. This showcases the incredible "Human made stories" of people who share Volvo’s ethos. These are not everyday pieces of advertising. The films are immersive, cinematic and thought-provoking. A tall order for an advertising campaign perhaps—but that’s the standard we set ourselves.

And with Carling’s "In off the bar", multiple teams came together to launch a live entertainment show around Sky Sports’ Friday Night Football. The show supports Carling’s Premier League partnership and starts online before kick-off, then goes live to TV on Sky Sports 1 after the final whistle.

Carling’s ‘In off the bar’: live-entertainment show supports the beer brand’s Premier League tie-up and airs on Sky Sports 1

Ultimately, joining the CMA allows us to celebrate and advance content in all its forms. It exposes us to new ideas and allows us to share a space with other companies that are doing amazing things in this arena. And we cannot wait. 

Rachel Bristow is director of client partnerships and collaboration at Sky  Media

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