‘Does branded content jeopardise the integrity of the media?’

UM's Mat Baxter, WTFN’s Daryl Talbot and OMD's Alistair Henderson

Brands have to take responsibility for the editorial integrity of the branded entertainment they produce – and not leave it to the media who will “take the money”, a media agency boss has said.

The comment from OMD’s national strategy director Alistair Henderson came at the Mumbrella360 conference in a session on branded entertainment ratings hit McDonald’s Gets Grilled, and the question: ‘Does branded content jeopardise the integrity of the media?’

Henderson made the comment following Mat Baxter, CEO of UM, who said Seven’s broadcast of the McDonald’s branded documentary show had opened new opportunities for the network.

Henderson said: “You can put branded content, information, entertainment out through your own channels and as long as you’re legal, you can do what you like. And its up to you whether the public buys it or participates or not.”

“Once you get involved with the media, who are the champion of the viewer, reader, or listener, the public have to continue to believe that, they have to continue to have that trust.”

“In this case it was integrity all the way through. [But] I’ve seen examples where brands want to go to places where it’s not good for viewer integrity, and the media says ‘Yeah we’ll take the money’. And to a certain extent you say, ‘well hang on, who’s drawing the line here. If the media aren’t doing it, brands have to start taking that responsibility for themselves.”

OMD is McDonald’s media agency across Australia, except in Queensland, where UM has the client, and where the McDonald’s Gets Grilled idea originated.

Other video highlights include:

  • The brief: dispelling the myths
  • McDonald’s editorial control
  • Finding the balance between a commercial and documentary
  • Opening the broadcaster’s doors to branded content

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