Content Highlight of the Week: Audi and Ice Buckets


In the news media, August is traditionally known as silly season, owing to the number of trivial items that force their way up the news agenda while the proper news is on its holidays. And it looks to me like the world of content marketing has drawn some seasonal inspiration from that phrase.

First up we've got a big name comedy short from Audi to promote their sponsorship of the Emmys in the USA. They've reunited Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul to star as the proprietors of a pawn shop - splendidly named Barely Legal Pawn. As part of a spoof reality TV format, the shop is visited by former Emmy winner Julia Louis –Dreyfuss, who attempts to pawn her Emmy.  Apart from a gratuitous driving scene at the start and a clunking bit of background product placement near the end, it's hard to see what connection it has to Audi or what Audi stands for here, but it is at least entertaining. Conceptually, at least.  It had a mixed reception here at Red Bee towers – lots of love for the comedic performances but some complaints about a weak script and overly indulgent length.

Though Audi's efforts left some of us cold, it didn't leave us as cold as the keerrr-aaaaazzy social media types hurling buckets of icy water over themselves in the Ice Bucket Challenge. For the uninitiated, this is another of those daft social media video viral thingies where someone does something daft and nominates someone else (probably daft) to something d…OK you get it.  Anyway, the interesting thing this time is that an organisation has seen the online audience's appetite for dappy stunts, and decided to use that for the benefit of themselves and in this case, the greater good in general.  The Ice Bucket Challenge is the clever brainchild of the marketing team trying to drive awareness of and funding to fight ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), more commonly known in the UK as motor neurone disease. It's good because watching people get dunked is funny, shareable and takes very little time, for UGC purposes a cold dunking is a simple task, and the challenge mechanism includes a call to donate. It's the perfect social media package.  Now cue the rush from every other charity to launch a 'challenge'. Switch off facebook, now.