VideoInk: Mindshare’s David Lang on Producing Branded Content for All Types of Platforms

With MIPTV and the second annual MIP Digital Fronts a few weeks away (you can register here!), VideoInk reached out to a diverse lineup of influential video industry executives scheduled to present or appear at the event. Our conversations covered their individual businesses, plans for MIPTV and the Fronts, and the video business as a whole. You can access them all here. Enjoy!

David Lang is chief content officer of Mindshare North America and president of Mindshare Content+ and Entertainment, the branded content arm of the agency. In the role, he oversees creative development and production, strategic marketing, and partnerships for Mindshare clients and entertainment producers and companies.

He’s a long-time veteran in the world of entertainment, Lang is also credited as being the creative mind behind the first web series that transitioned to television, way back in the early web-video days of 2008. We asked him about that and more:

You head up Content+, which is described by Mindshare as a “fully integrated content group to generate real-time micro-content in a rapid production environment.” When it comes to branded video content, how does that work in a real-time environment?

Content+ is staffed with strategically focused, multi-skilled creatives who work alongside various members of the media team in our adaptive marketing room, The LOOP, in order to create content in real time. Whether content is real-time or longer form video, the foundational elements of the process are much the same. We always start with the right actionable data and consumer insights that allows us to create relevant content that will move our audience in some way. Since we have many different types of creatives in house that are nimble and quick, we can create micro-content or full video content in a real-time environment.

With “In the Motherhood,” you’re crediting for creating the first web series that made the move to TV. That was in 2008. How did such a decision come about at such an early stage for online video?

Since the beginning, we’ve always created big ideas based on consumer insights and data. Back in 2006/2007, we saw the very beginnings of a trend where moms were looking for entertainment and community online, not just utility. We came up with the platform “For Moms, By Moms, About Moms” and believed in the premise that all moms have many of the same experiences and share many universal insights.

We saw an opening in the marketplace and wanted to create a community to give moms a voice; give them the opportunity to share their stories and be entertained. It combined consumer generated content with professional screenwriters and top name talent (Chelsea Handler, Leah Remini, and Jenny McCarthy) to create an online comedy series targeting moms. The distribution was also important as the program lived online, on mobile, in-store, and had integrations in daytime TV. We ended up with more than 25 million views.

In moving to TV, we were fortunate enough to get a call from the president of ABC Entertainment who loved what we had done online from a creative perspective. It gave moms a fresh voice and an honest community to be part of.

Can you give us an update on “The Rise of Superman”? What sort of TV and digital experiences will be tied to the documentary film?

We’re currently in negotiations with two networks/studios for our long-form documentary. The content will potentially live in many forms, including theatrical, television, and digital. The digital content will be short-form and will probably include some branded content. We’re excited to bring it to life!

Facebook is becoming a huge player in online video. What are your views on the social platform as a place to distribute video ads? How about longer-form branded content?

It’s incredible to see how much Facebook has grown as a video platform over the last few years. I think Facebook has done some really fascinating things with their data and how they are able to slice it for marketers, which in turn has made content that is distributed highly relevant for its consumers. I think it’s also important to remember that the majority of people use Facebook on mobile, which is a key consideration for length – so it’s going to be interesting to see how marketers experiment with longer-form branded content on Facebook.

What interests you about this year’s MIP Digital Fronts and/or MIPTV lineup? What are you doing there? What do you hope to achieve?

MIP is a great opportunity to see great content from all around the world. It’s very inspiring to see what types of creative is percolating from the various markets around the globe. I love talking to people from different regions and hearing what inspires them, what challenges they are facing, and what they are producing.

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