Speaking at the Festival of Media Global in Rome, Bough said brands will only move into becoming content companies if they can “reinvent the monetisation model” by selling their content or advertising around it.
He cited Red Bull Media, which sells its documentaries to broadcasters, as one of the few examples of companies that could confidently call themselves content companies.
Mondelez is currently exploring how it can monetise its content. It recently entered a revenue share deal with the agency that created its “twist, lick and dunk” app, which is monetised through advertising. To date it has attracted 4 million downloads, 220,000 daily uniques and is “cash positive”, he said.
Also speaking at the same session, Unilever’s director of global media Jay Altschuler said he did not see a difference between being a content company or a marketing organisation as both are “symbiotic”.
He said now it is more important for brands to embody “purpose” in all of their communications, rather than “top down marketing” to prove they stand for more than just the products people buy.
Demonstrating this point, earlier in the session Bough showcased a campaign from Mondelez’s cracker brand Honey Maid.
The original campaign, a video that featured a same sex couple (see above), launched on 10 March and was met with thousands of negative comments from detractors that did not believe the gay scene fitted with its “wholesome” message.
The brand responded to the criticism by printing out each comment sent, turning them into a sculpture that spelled out the word “Love” and put the making-of video online (see below).
Cosequently, Bough said the campaign received “10 times” as many positive comments than negative. He added that the campaign was a manifestation of its work over the past two years to set up the company’s marketing department to be more reactive.
He added: “We have to be brave and brands have to have a bigger voice in culture than ever before. That’s why you have to make brave decisions.”
This is an “inside out” approach incumbent on brands to make, rather than being led by their agencies, he said.
“Clients have an obligation to show where the North Star is, otherwise agencies will not change…and we write the cheques,” he added.