Branded Content with Von Miller and Bleacher Report


Unlike traditional advertising where a product’s benefits are overtly touted, branded content starts with a story, then subtly (and sometimes not!) attaches a brand to it. The audience comes for the story, and then discovers the brand. From an advertiser’s perspective, the goal is to find the customers you want for your brand, and then create stories that attract that same audience.

In some ways, branded content has been around since the early days of broadcasting - with entire programs sponsored by a single advertiser. Remember Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, or the Colgate Comedy Hour? Even the name “Soap Opera” comes from the fact that these early melodramas were sponsored and produced by the likes of Procter and Gamble - makers of soap.

Today, branded content is most associated with short bits of video entertainment found on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other social media corners of the web. In order to stand out from the crowd, these videos have to be very entertaining and highly shareable. As they spread around, their associated brand travels with them - getting in front of the eyes of everyone who watches the video.

Great content can “go viral” and get in front of millions. But sometimes high numbers are not the goal. The real goal is precision - reaching the same audience that might buy your brand.

A great example of this is a video we filmed with Von Miller and Bleacher Report for Old Spice. The concept is that Von Miller dreams of being able to do his touchdown celebration with no rules. (As most know, the NFL has many rules when it comes to celebrating on the field!)


He starts out partying and dancing, meditating with a goat on a mountain, and ends up taking a rocket into outer space and slapping an alien!

Weird, right? But now I bet you want to watch it!

Well if you do, you will see the Old Spice logo at the beginning, and a quick Old Spice sting with their familiar song at the end. That’s it - but that’s enough.

This video has already been seen by thousands, ranks highly in searches, and delivers the Old Spice brand to the exact audience it wants.

Behind the Scenes

The biggest production challenge we faced was getting this done with Von’s busy schedule during the football season, and thus finding the most convenient way for him to spend some of his limited time on our set. We have a portable green screen setup that we could have brought to him, but for this shoot we needed to frame Von head to toe - something not easily done with a portable configuration.

We decided to shoot it at Westworks Studios in Denver. Not only was it convenient for Von, but they also had everything we needed - including a stage with a green screen painted cyc, and set pieces where we could use to create an interview look.

We brought in our own cameras and production team. We used our Sony F55 camera shooting in 4K for the green screen set, and a Sony FS7 for the interview. By the time he walked in, we had everything set and lit and ready to go for both of these setups. The rest was just fun with Von!

You can see the finished result on Bleacher Report, or view below:

Written by Tom Miller Copyright © 2018 Big Pictures Media