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This Week in Content Marketing: Get Ready for Content Studios to Become a ‘Thing’


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this episode of This Old Marketing, Robert and I applaud Kohl’s for taking a risk and delivering Star Wars toys and gift cards to “the Chewbacca mom.” We agree that Facebook needs to tighten its policy to prevent stealing of content assets, which is happening with her record-breaking viral video. We’re both thrilled with PepsiCo’s decision to launch a content studio and love their innovative approach to it. Finally, we’re convinced that a grim, self-serving prognosis on the future of media, agencies, and brands by an outspoken executive isn’t accurate. Rants and raves include a must-read opinion column that calls for marketing to take on a more strategic role, the importance of developing a personal brand, and a digital publication that is the latest victim of the “rented land” phenomenon. This week’s This Old Marketing example: Playmobil.

This week’s show

(Recorded live May 22, 2016; Length: 1:05:12)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Listener feedback on Facebook Trending Articles discussion (7:45): During last week’s show, Robert and I came to the conclusion that no one pays much attention to Facebook’s Trending Articles. Jaden Bales, a business student at the University of Oregon, sent us an email disagreeing with our assessment. He did an informal poll of the students in his class, and told us a majority of them use this feature. It’s a good reminder to avoid making assumptions about our audience!

  • Kohl’s sent Star Wars treasure trove to woman behind the Chewbacca video (11:18): When Candace Payne’s Facebook Live video went viral in an unprecedented way after she tried on a Chewbacca mask from the retailer, Kohl’s sent her family several more masks, a treasure trove of Star Wars merchandise, and $2,500 in gift cards. Robert and I applaud Kohl’s for taking a risk – something that too many brands avoid. Clearly, it had a plan and was ready to act when this opportunity arose. This article is paired with the next one from Scott Monty’s newsletter.


Image source

  • Facebook needs to make it easier to report stolen videos (12:15): Scott Monty points out that some unscrupulous people have taken Candace Payne’s delightful Chewbacca mask video and have uploaded it to Facebook as their own. They’re getting millions of views from content that is not their intellectual property. To make matters worse, Facebook doesn’t make it easy to report copyright infringement. Robert and I agree this is an issue that Facebook needs to address.
  • Pepsi’s big bet on in-house content creation (22:28): PepsiCo has launched a new, state-of-the-art content studio in Manhattan called the Creators League. It will serve as an internal production arm for scripted series, films, music recordings, reality shows, and other content distributed for TV, online viewing, and services like Amazon Prime. Robert and I are both very excited that the studio is structured as a media company within PepsiCo, much like Red Bull Studio. I predict we’ll see a growing number of brands moving in this direction and looking for opportunities to syndicate their best content.
  • Interview with Shane Smith – CEO of Vice (32:17): In a recent interview with Digiday, Vice Media CEO Shane Smith predicts we’ll see a bloodbath in the next 12 months of digital, mobile, and terrestrial media, driven by the proliferation of screens and the continuing decline of brand advertising on traditional channels. He predicts this major disruption will have a big impact on agencies, brands, and media. Robert and I believe we’ll see a continued decline of ad revenue, but nothing as drastic as what Smith foresees. The big networks aren’t just sitting still – they’re also trying to evolve to survive and thrive in the fast-changing digital world order.

2. Sponsor (41:06)

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3. Rants and raves (42:56)

  • Robert’s rave and rant: Robert loves this article from MediaPost, which makes the case that large brands don’t consider marketing a core strategic competency. It covers issues such as the outsourcing of marketing’s core activities, CMO reporting relationships, low pay, and high turnover. It’s required reading!On the other hand, he really doesn’t like this article from Psychology Today, entitled Stop Trying to Build Your Personal Brand. It contains bad advice, especially for young people who are new to marketing. You have an opportunity to shape your aspirational value by the content you create and share. Why not take control of it, rather than leaving it to chance?
  • Joe’s rant: Stylist magazine is saying goodbye to its digital edition and blames its demise on the closure of Apple Newsstand, an online hub for publishers’ digital magazines. When you publish on someone else’s platform, you’re at their mercy. This is yet another sorry example of “building your house on rented land” and paying the price.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (57:12)

  • Playmobil: Hans Beck, the founder of Playmobil, started making small plastic figures in 1971. These toys were a big hit in Europe, where they helped children use their imaginations. Today, the company not only manufactures and markets its iconic plastic figures, but also complete lines of vehicles and buildings. Throughout its history, content has been a big part of getting these toys into the hands of children. In the late 1970s, it produced phonograph records that contained songs and stories. These were followed by comic books, coloring books, a Playmobil magazine, and a theme park in Germany. A TV series that has been broadcast in France, the U.K., and Germany for several years will soon be coming to the U.S. In addition, Playmobil has produced a feature film that has been shown in Europe; it, too, will receive U.S. distribution next year. In effect, Playmobil has created a complete content and experience ecosystem, much like Lego, but on a smaller scale. This innovative toy manufacturer is an excellent example of This Old Marketing.


For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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