When Brands Attack

CollegeHumor’s Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld, the tw0fer talent behind the eponymously titled online show “Jake and Amir,” will emcee the next week’s 2009 Digital Content NewFront confab during Internet Week New York. Advertising juggernaut Digitas and its brand content entity, The Third Act, will host the invite-only symposium though a live-stream is available to the great unwashed who also hope to clean up with branded content (I feel so dirty). To create awareness of the gig, the duo created a comedic video that depicts a pitfall of branded entertainment ? namely, when the brand overtakes the entertainment.

The satire has particular resonance in light of Barbarian Group CEO Benjamin Palmer’s quotes in an? Adweek column (reported by David Gianatasio), which came on the heels of Digitas’ launch of The Third Act last year:? “Most of the time, something that’s going to make a perfect TV or Web show, proper video game or film is going to be an idea that doesn’t inherently play directly in line with the brand story (like, let’s say, insurance.). Because, what makes a great show, game or film? Artistic merit, humanity, story, talent. These occasionally overlap with marketing demographic, industry sector and brand penetration, but more often than not, they do not.”

Mind you Palmer’s comment came a year before the release of branded entertainment behemoth “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” though the case for “artistic merit” here might be difficult to make. As far as Hurwitz and Blumenfeld are concerned,? however, the overlap of “marketing demographic, industry sector and brand penetration” is near absolute, to say nothing of the melding of medium and message. It’s like McLuhan porn ? good work guys.


Daedalus Howell

Daedalus Howell is the author, most recently, of the novel "Quantum Deadline" and the writer-director of the recently released feature film "Pill Head." He is the editor of The North Bay Bohemian and The Pacific Sun.

One Reply to “When Brands Attack”

  1. I’m personally on a crusade to change the word “music” and replace it with “Daughtry” – so that instead of “did you hear Green Day’s new music?” – you would say – “Did you hear Green Day’s new daughtry?” Because, when you think about it, Daughtry is music.

Any thoughts?

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