Tim Piper made Canadian advertising history for being the creative mind along with Mike Kirkland behind “Evolution,” Dove’s famous double Grand Prix Lion winner back in 2007. Now the partner and co-founder of New York-based production company PiRo, Piper is one of the creative minds behind Farmed and Dangerous. The groundbreaking TV series produced by and for Chipotle to satirize corporate agribusiness launched on Hulu on Feb. 17 in the U.S. (a Canadian release is TBD). Piper, who directed the series, spoke with Marketing’s David Brown about the series, the failure of traditional advertising and the future of branded entertainment.
Is Farmed and Dangerous advertising?
I consider it advertising and entertainment, but not like a blur when you end up somewhere between the two. It is something the viewer will look at as entertainment, but it is meant to be a thought-provoker and a conversation starter, which lead to Chipotle being recognized for its “Food With Integrity” platform.
On the lack of Chipotle branding…
There is one mention where the industry food types take a swipe at Chipotle and then another reference to the Back to the Start film. The show itself is about Chipotle’s values; it is value integration as opposed to product integration.
On appearing on Hulu alongside traditional, non-branded TV entertainment…
I think the critics will view it and judge it on its entertainment merits. If there is too much brand interference, I think it will get criticized. We believe the show is as entertaining as some of the better shows on TV.
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Is branded entertainment and content marketing overhyped?
I don’t think it’s hype. But I don’t think it is being handled very well because the industry is very new. There is a degree of advertising buzz around “story” and I think that word gets thrown around, but the best storytellers live in Hollywood and until those storytellers are sitting down with the brief for marketers, I don’t think the industry will meet that potential… I think it is necessary to get this right because I think traditional advertising is failing in too many ways.
Can marketers without a story like food integrity make meaningful content?
A brand with nothing to say can be entertaining in the same way that Seinfeld can create entertainment based on absolutely nothing. Brands with nothing to say can still put a smile on people’s face as they have been doing with traditional advertising.
This story originally appeared in the March issue of Marketing, available now to subscribers. Be sure to check it out on your iPad.