Giving the Viewer the Control: Are Interactive Films the Next Big Thing for Branded Content?

Sydney LuckeN

Marketing & Account Manager | Navigate Video


First published in Adweek.


Whether you follow popular culture or not, Netflix’s latest interactive Black Mirror episode has got marketers and consumers all over the world talking, but what does this new technology mean for branded content?

This isn’t the first move towards interactive content...

Black Mirror may have caught everyone’s attention, but brands and entertainment suppliers have been creating interactive films for a while. To delve a little further, here’s 3 examples of some interesting interactive content we’ve seen over the past couple of years and what brands can learn from them:

EKO – ‘That Moment When’


Over a year ago, Eko, the interactive digital media studio, teamed up with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Olive Bridge Entertainment for a new comedy series entitled ‘That Moment When’, which follows the lovable protagonist, Jill, as she navigates her way through awkward situations

Length: The reason why it works so well is simple: it takes relatable awkward situations and tells them in a fun, short-and-sweet manner, so that the audience isn’t required to spend 90 minutes of their time to find out if they made the right decisions.

Deloitte – ‘Will You Fit into Deloitte’


Deloitte New Zealand partnered with Snorkel digital video agency to create an interactive recruitment video that enables viewers to walk in the shoes of a new Deloitte employee and decide his courses of action.

Purpose: The idea behind the video is great, as it provides potential recruits with real-life situations they may encounter and make them consider how they would react, giving future employees an opportunity to see whether they share the same values and could really be a part of Deloitte’s company culture.

Maybelline New York – Product Tutorial


Partnering with fashion blogger, Kelly Framel of The Glamourai, Maybelline New York created a step-by-step interactive tutorial of four different looks around a single core product: their new Big Eyes Mascara.

Innovation: The make-up industry has always been renowned for its video tutorials, but Maybelline New York stepped outside of the box by adding an interactive element, allowing their viewers to navigate through different styles with ease.

And it won’t be the last…

Even though companies have been creating interactive videos for years, it is still a relatively new territory in terms of branded content. Brands are still figuring out if they need it, how they should use it and what’s the best way to implement it without losing the viewer’s attention halfway through, because after all, interactive content requires a lot of effort from the audience in order to succeed, something which is difficult to acquire in today’s overcrowded content market.

So, what’s the point?

Gaming culture and personalisation has, without a doubt, infiltrated the marketing world over the past couple of years, with more and more brands attempting to create content that puts the viewer in the driver’s seat.

The rise of interactive storytelling, as a result, is a new way for brands to not only encourage interaction and engagement, but also deepen the relationship with their audience and create a more meaningful brand/consumer experience.

However, as shown with Bandersnatch, when tackling interactive content, there has to be a story worth telling, as well as the creativity and the budget to put it into action. Brands need to really consider whether this is a move that will truly benefit their strategy, realise their ‘big-picture’ objectives, and whether they are prepared to fully invest in this new area of video marketing that is still relatively unknown and as of yet, has not achieved any great success in the content marketing sphere.