Branded content is like Donald Trump – most of what he says is ‘shit’ says ex Wunderman boss

Daniel Morel presenting at Engage Bali

Daniel Morel presenting at Engage Bali yesterday

The former boss of one of the world’s largest digital agencies likened content marketing to the words of Donald Trump yesterday, saying that while the presidential candidate talks a lot and has a large following much of what he says is “shit”.

Talking on a panel discussion at the Engage event hosted by Socialbakers in Bali, Daniel Morel, who ran Wunderman as global chairman and CEO for 14 years until he retired in January 2015, pulled no punches in his appraisal of the rapidly growing sector, saying that a limited creative talent pool and the cost of producing a large volume of material for digital channels was to blame for low-quality content from brands.

“You have good content, and you have average content and you have shit [content]; 20% is pure shit, it’s like reading a bar code, nobody cares about it,” he said.

“Most content is average and only around 10-15% is outstanding,” said Morel, who transformed Wunderman from a mid-sized direct mail shop into one of the world’s biggest digital marketing networks during his time with the company.

The main reasons why so much content is so bad, Morel suggested, is because of a scarcity of top creative talent and production costs.

“There is a limited number of talented creatives,” he said.

“You get to the point where you just don’t have enough talented creatives to create all the content that you need, and then you’re going to have produce all that work, and brands don’t have the money to produce 16 different versions,” he said.

Morel compared content marketing with TV advertising, saying the approach to production for these disciplines was like the difference between hookup app Tinder and dating site eHarmony.

Brands, Morel said, can create “tons” of content for digital channels or produce a single 30-second spot, which he suggested gives brands broader reach and can be run for a year before needing to create new work.

“It’s like eHarmony [content marketing] versus Tinder [TV]. You either spend five hours profiling for a date or let’s meet now,” he said.

Talking to Mumbrella after his presentation, Morel said: “I always ask people, what is your definition of good content? A lot of people watch Donald Trump, and he says a lot of things, but most of what he’s saying is shit.”

A full interview with Morel is to be published on Mumbrella later this week.


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