World-class branded content captivates audiences with emotionally addictive storytelling. In the Ultimate Guide to Branded Video Content 2023 (with Examples), Charlie Uniform Tango unpacks the many secrets we’ve learned from building international brands. We’ll give you dynamic examples of the best branded video content in 2023 and show you how to create compelling and engaging content that isn’t overly pitchy or promotional. According to Statista, ad spending on video advertising worldwide is expected to reach $176.60 billion in 2023, with an annual growth rate of 6.8%, the majority of which will be in the U.S. With thirty years at the forefront of video marketing and post production, we’ll help you capture a slice of the pie. Develop original narratives that move audiences with laughter, nostalgia, compassion, tears, and heartwarming video content (that just happens to be branded). Here’s what we’ll show you:

  • What branded video is
  • Best branded content videoes in 2023 (so far)
  • Benefits of branded video content
  • Secrets to successful branded content

What Is Branded Video Content?

Branded video content does not advertise or promote the brand directly, though it is sponsored content created by the brand. Instead of promoting the brand’s services, branded content videos appeal to the consumer’s emotions with irresistible stories that subtly build an enduring relationship by association. The contagious content can be heartfelt, charming, funny, uplifting, exhilarating, or nostalgic and should resonate with the audience’s affections, conscience, and psyche. The effect of branded content video production on an over-advertised consumer is goodwill towards the brand for intentionally placing relatable anecdotal experiences above salesmanship. Let’s look at some of the best branded content examples in 2023:

Fight For Every Unscripted Second – Jeep

This piece of brilliant branded content from Jeep resonates deeply. Why? It tells the truth about our saturation within modern technology and offers us a way out. Audiences connect to the brand as a vehicle of escape. Enter the technocratic war for your attention, the idealogical matrix subsuming all of us with media, emojis, video games, television, computers, code, AI, and “smart” phones. Asking us to verify that “I’m not a robot” is a painful paradox considering that “images of [our] friends are fast replacing actual memories with them.” New images of a longing for love and innocence emerge, reminding us to leap off the dust piles of digital dominions into the transcendent beauty of our natural surroundings. Romantic summer swims in the lake, rustic winter skiing down snowy mountain slopes, roaring spring rapids thrusting us over the river’s waterfall—these are the earthen experiences our souls crave. And as we climb out of the matrix and reach the summit of the cliffs we must ascend, we look with wonder over the world we’re seeing (again) for the first time. Sprinkled into our off-road adventure is the subtle imagery and branding of a Gladiator Jeep, kicking up the dirt and sealing the story with a silent invitation to carry us to every outdoor apex.

Hustle – Core Water

This short-form branded content for social media resonates with female hustle culture: “My 9 to 5? That’s just my warmup.” The aggressive pace of this narrative moves the audience through a quick day in the life of a hard-working woman. Embracing the grind, we observe a workday followed by workouts, as women seek the modern rewards of friends, self (and selfie) discovery, style, independence, and fearless fun. The brand’s Core Hydration product is almost invisible throughout, appearing only during a workout for recovery amidst the daily rush. Women are the heroes of this social media video production, and they take the stage without apology.

Tropical Time – Tropical Smoothie Cafe

The best branded content identifies the desires of a target audience and engages, connects, and communicates likemindedness in a compelling and memorable way. The upbeat soundtrack of the video compliments the barefoot natural vibe of tropical summer fun intermixed with beach trips, swimming, dancing, friendships, and healthy drinks. Tropical fruits are interspersed with healthy, happy, people who are living their best life under the summer sun. The mood is fun and free, associating happiness with healthiness, with the subtle suggestions that Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a facilitator for a vigorous lifestyle. Fostering brand awareness, and influencing consumer behavior, this lighthearted non-commercial meets customers in their desire to make the most of their summer.

So God Made a Farmer – RAM Trucks

The postscript to this branded content from RAM Trucks reads “To the farmer in all of us.” This perfect summation of the nostalgic voiceover journey through the heights and the depths of a farmers life, pulls on our heartstring with the nobility of raising a family and doing hard work, the right way. The lo-fi audio, like a vinyl record, pulls the audience backward into a bygone era, when we reverenced the preacher’s sermon, appreciated thankless labor, and trusted the simple wisdom of faith, family, and farming. The effect is a reconnection to the goodness in all of us, and a recommitment to the moorings that make us great. Oh, and there at the end, without any mention, is a brand new RAM Truck waiting to be the sturdy transportation for the farmer in all of us.

Know Your Balls – Testicular Cancer Foundation

Branded video content serves as a powerful tool for brands to create awareness. By focusing on storytelling first, branded content engages and connects with target audiences in a more dynamic and immersive way. How do you get men to spread awareness about testicular cancer? Combine two things they enjoy, competition and community, in a fun-natured experiment that frustrates both. This humorous branded content video takes a serious subject and spins the messaging to make it easy for men to laugh and share the viral message, “Know your balls.”

Benefits of Branded Video Content

Branded video content increases brand awareness and online presence. Especially when done well, videos have the potential to go viral and expand the brand’s followers and subscribers. Branded content disarms media-savvy audiences. By dropping the sales pitch and focusing on relationship building, brands relate directly to their customers interests, values, and ideals. Consumers become receptive to your brand before they’ve considered buying a product or service. Adding a human touch to your brand, long-form or short-form video content builds long-term customer trust and loyalty. Customers experience your authenticity in branded videos and do not feel pressured to buy a product or service. Creative storytelling allows your brand to relate to and connect with any audience. Traditional marketing methods limit the scenarios in which your product is perceived as useful. By putting the story first, the audience discovers multiple environments where they can resonate with your brand. Dynamic branded content video production presents your brand as the facilitator of a positive emotional experience or lifestyle.

Branded storytelling differentiates you from your competitors. Nobody likes to see the same marketing spiel over and over. When your competitors aren’t using branded video to promote themselves, it gives you an opportunity to capture more of the target audience. When branded videos evoke positive emotions they become shareable, and potentially viral. Especially when the message is funny, creative, quirky, or heartwarming, audiences spread the message. Branded content campaigns increase measurable ROIs like unique views, followers, and subscribers. Though financial return on investment can be more difficult to assess, virality is a measurable stalwart for scaling your branded content campaigns. Enhancing brand recall and appealing to new audiences, branded content is one of the best vehicles for building brand recognition. With so many different businesses out there, unique stories separate your brand from your competition.

How to Succeed at Making Branded Content Videos

Understand Your Target Audience

Above all else, know your target audience. Strategic Creative is the first step in any successful branded content campaign because you must put yourself in someone else’s shoes. What are their passions, interests, hobbies, ideals, and motivations? What are their daily routines, habits, and interactions like? What are the unique pain points, pleasures, and experiences of their lives and what story will they quickly identify themselves within? Then, after identifying the story, how can you subtly position your brand within that story? After scripting the story to resonate with your target audience, it’s equally important to determine what your key performance indicators will be. The best branded content videos will increase brand awareness, establish (or reestablish) trust and loyalty, create a buzz, generate X impressions/views/sales/leads, and improve audience engagement.

Create High Quality Content

No matter what branded content story you’re telling, make sure that every aspect of your production is excellent. From strategy, scripting, casting and location scouting, to shooting and directing, high quality video production services ensure that your branded content connects with your target audience. While you aren’t directly marketing any individual product or service, it’s important that your director understands the subtle connections between the audience, the story, and your brand. Though audio is also very important, a recent study shows that the majority of viewers — 92% in fact — tend to watch videos on their mobile devices with So, while it’s paramount to cater to those who are watching with the sound on, it’s also important to make your video visually captivating. While branded content videos can be longer than commercial video production, there are still ideal video lengths for each platform. In order to keep your audience engaged, you want to keep the storytelling concise and hook your viewer early on. And generally speaking, when branded video content is less than four minutes in length, it will perform better across multiple channels.

Justin Wilson

Director/Editor/Musician

Justin Wilson is an award winning filmmaker who combines a love for motion pictures with a positive mental attitude to create films about the human spirit. For 17 years he has been a director and editor with Charlie Uniform Tango for Super Bowl commercials, documentaries, brand campaigns, music videos, product demos, social media videos, and more. His videos regularly garner millions of views and he is a digital content contributor for video production websites.

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