Land Rover Puts Time Inc. In The Driver’s Seat For Branded Content Partnership

Land Rover nativeMany publishers have jumped on the sponsored content bandwagon, but few have attempted to take on a creative agency role for brands. But that’s what Time Inc. is doing with Land Rover around its launch of the Discovery Sport SUV.

Time Inc. differentiates between “native content” – written in the voice of a Time Inc. publication – and “branded content,” which is written in the voice of the brand.

It created the latter for Land Rover, designing content to attract older millennials with an “adventurous spirit and sense of discovery,” said Kim Kyaw, digital marketing and social media manager for Jaguar Land Rover North America.

Time Inc. created three kinds of content to encompass this spirit: video showing a kayaking trip to a bioluminescent bay, tips for shooting photography at night and video of a meal-sharing event.

Though written in the voice of the Land Rover brand, the content is designed to appeal to Time Inc. audiences. Consequently, when distributing the content to its 120 million monthly unique visitors, it favors outlets where the content might be better received, like Travel + Leisure.

“The strength of the company is the ultra premium content and the network,” Mark Ford, EVP of global advertising sales, said of Time Inc.’s ability to create and distribute content for brands.

Time Inc. promoted the Land Rover campaign on its network.using rich media lightbox units, an IAB Rising Star format and in-feed distribution via Nativo.

Because of the video-heavy content, Land Rover paid a production fee and then a CPM for distribution, Kyaw said, though Time Inc. will usually bake the CPM into the costs.

In addition to distributing the content on Time Inc. sites, the media publication will seed the content out to its social media followings using targeted Facebook ads. Time Inc.’s brands collectively have 159 million media uniques, making it the most-followed company on social media.

Having content distributed by a Time Inc. magazine’s social media presence, as opposed to the brand’s, boosts engagement by 300% to 400%. “We have the ability to buy or find an audience across any social platform, and we see the biggest lift when we attach a Time Inc. brand to it,” said Christopher Hercik, VP of the Time Inc. native studio.

Time Inc. plays nice with other branded content initiatives. It organized all of Land Rover’s content onto a microsite, Undiscovered. That included pieces from about bioluminescence and from Foursquare to surface “undiscovered” places near a user’s location.

The Discovery Sport campaign launched in mid-July and will run for the next few months, marking the third time the two companies have worked together over the past three years.

A month in, the piece about shooting photography at night is the top-performing piece of content Kyaw said.

Overall, Land Rover measures performance of native campaigns mainly with top-of-funnel metrics like engagement, sharing and repeat visitors. ComScore will conduct a brand study to measure brand lift post-campaign.

Though the primary focus is branding, Land Rover will try to move people down the funnel through sequential messaging, Kyaw said. It will show a different piece of content to people who have seen one piece of content. Or, for people who complete a video and engage with it, it will show product ads.

Post-campaign, Land Rover takes a high-level look at how many people took actions like signing up for a test drive, Kyaw said.

But native is mostly about branding, or “aligning with the mindset of the consumer,” she said. And by creating video about kayaking in a bioluminescent bay and seeding it out to the right audience via social and native, Time Inc. becomes a one-stop shop for branded content.

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