5 of the best branded content campaigns

5 Standout Branded Content Campaigns

The power of branded content is connecting with your audience (current and potential) through alignment, shared values and subject matter that speaks to them where they live. And we mean that last point figuratively and literally. Standout branded content isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” sort of situation. You need the right distributor or media partner to get your story out there, to reach your audience where they are.

Here are five standout branded content campaigns that will entertain you, make you think and even evoke a tear or two.

Branded Content Campaign 1: Birkenstock

Ugly for a Reason

Everyone knows Birkenstock shoes aren’t exactly Jimmy Choo-style footwear. But most wearers may not know that the shoes were designed for a specific purpose that helps their feet and the environment. So Birkenstock partnered with the New York Times to create a three-part documentary, “Ugly for a Reason.” With interviews with renowned scientists, including Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Thomas Südhof, foot health experts, athletes and ordinary customers, the documentary aims to educate people about why these shoes are good for your feet and your body, and are sustainable to boot.

Why it’s standout branded content:

The campaign speaks directly to the Birkenstock demographic — affluent, adult women who prioritize comfort, health and the outdoors — and aligns the company perfectly with their values.

Credibility is also a big factor here. Birkenstock partners with a top publisher, the New York Times, and enlists respected scientists and ordinary customers to tell the story.

Branded Content Campaign 2: Zelle and Vox Media

Scammer Psychology

Fraud is everywhere these days and it’s especially troubling when it comes to your money, data and identity. When people get scammed, hit hard in the wallet, the first call they make is to their financial institution. No FI wants to get that call. That’s one reason why Zelle, the peer-to-peer money transfer service affiliated with some of the country’s largest banks, like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, partnered with Vox Media. Zelle used Vox’s explainer video platform to create The Science of Scams, entertaining, lighthearted videos with excellent information about different types of scams, like rental scams, bogus emails and more. 

Why it’s standout branded content:

The videos are designed to appeal to Zelle’s core users, younger people who are tech savvy, and highlights the issue that anyone, even tech savvy Gen Z, can fall victim to these financial scams. The idea is to help Zelle customers avoid falling prey to the scammers, and to position Zelle as a safe harbor in a sea of scammers.

The partnership with Vox also brought them distribution on Vox’s huge social and digital media network, where Zelle’s audience lives.

Branded Content Campaign 3: Fannie Mae with Hearst StoryStudio

Give Yourself Credit  

Fannie Mae is one of the largest companies that guarantee mortgages in the U.S. So, naturally, they’re interested in credit scores and have a vested interest in people upping theirs, learning good credit practices and managing debt so they can qualify for a Fannie Mae mortgage. So, they partnered with Hearst StoryStudio to create a hub containing a series of stories about those topics — credit scores, debt, tips for raising your credit score, and more. They included a quiz to make it more fun and interactive.

Why it’s standout branded content:

This campaign is aimed at younger people and designed to educate them in good habits, before bad habits erode their credit score. It’s fun, informative and inclusive, speaking directly to a younger demographic who may be getting ready to apply for their first mortgage. It’s a win-win for the audience, receiving tactics to boost their credit, and for Fannie Mae, which is positioned as the expert mentor.

Partnering with Hearst, one of the largest newspaper publishers on the planet, ensures the reach and breadth of the campaign.

Branded Content Campaign 4: Fortune with Salesforce+

The Ecopreneurs 


“The Ecopreneurs” has reached almost mythical status in the branded content realm. It was the brainchild of Salesforce, which partnered with Fortune to produce an ongoing video series that runs on the Salesforce+video streaming platform. It’s a beautifully shot documentary series highlighting how everyday people, entrepreneurs, scientists, businesses and others are stepping up to create extraordinary climate solutions. They created an in-depth branded content microsite for each episode. 

Why it’s standout branded content:

This is Salesforce and Fortune proclaiming that they have a commitment to climate action, sustainability and entrepreneurship. The goal was “to show how businesses are solving some of the greatest challenges of the climate crisis.” The core demographic for Fortune and Salesforce? You got it. Business. 

About distribution? The first episode, “Sea Trees” got more than 3.3 million views during its promotional run. People tuned in and stayed.

Branded Content Campaign 5: Sherwin Williams and The Spruce

My Life in Color 


A public service announcement: Do not click on the above link without a box of tissues handy. Oh, Sherwin Williams and The Spruce, you hit us where we live. And, of course, that’s the point. The whole idea was to get people thinking about why color is so impactful in their day-to-day lives. So, through what almost feels like a guided meditation plus a quiz, they take us on a journey into our most impactful childhood memories. “Maybe it was the deep blue of the ocean in your hometown or the rusty orange of your first car …” Or, the bright blue of the sky on the day my dad brought home a puppy as a surprise for my 10th birthday … OK, where are the tissues? It’s about generating a Sherwin Williams color recommendation based on your memories, to align the brand with the shades you’re drawn to and why. I guess I’m painting my kitchen blue. 

Why it’s standout branded content:

This content evokes real emotion and so does color. It’s a very personal decision, choosing the right shade to paint rooms in your home, and this gets to the heart of it, guiding you to what you’re going to love. The Spruce, one of the leading home décor, garden and lifestyle brands out there with 32 million viewers, is exactly the right platform for this trip down memory lane.

These campaigns show that the best branded content isn’t about hyping a product or service. It’s about connecting with your audience where they live, with the right message at the right time delivered in the right place. That happens to be our specialty at Brandpoint. Contact us to find out more.

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