2016 is the first year that the famed Tribeca Film Festival has given out an award in the category of branded content, showing that even artistic people are starting to see that branded content can be more than just advertisements. The festival has been going on since 2002, and was created by A-List New York directors and actors in response to the 9/11 attacks, which greatly affected the TriBeCa neighborhood in NYC. The winner this year is a creative video made by Samsung, called Hearing Colors. It is a short 5 minute video about a guy, Neil Harbisson, who is colorblind. But he gets surgeons to implant an antenna into his brain so that he would be able to hear colors. In the video, Neil explains about how he feels a oneness with his new cyborg technology, and that the chip is a part of his mind and the antenna feels just like a natural part of his body. He also explains how it is very much a conversation starter and gives him a new way to connect with people. The video goes into philosophy about skin color, cities and the energy of color.
The video isn’t for any of Samsung’s products, but it is part of a partnership with Vimeo called the Connected Series, which seeks to explore the current human relationship with technology, and all the different ways that technology infiltrates our lives. This new branded content category at the TFF gives directors and commercial makers a new opportunity to strive not only to reach their audiences, but to also get creative and artistic with their messages. It also provides another outlet for brands to get recognized and known. It almost reiterates the old adage that content is king – the quality and content of the video in this case. It will be interesting to see what branded content pieces get recognition from the Tribeca Film Festival in the future.
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