The Top 10 Branded Content Partnerships of May

Take a look at our 10 favourite pieces of custom content that brands and publishers partnered on in the month of May.

Check out April’s top 10 here

The Masters & The Machine – NYMag’s The Cut + IBM

Behind the collaboration that resulted in a buzzworthy dress showcased at the MET Gala by Karolina Kurkova, was fashion design house, Marchesa, and IBM’s famous machine learning computer, Watson. This piece documents that collaboration and really shines because IBM played a vital role in making the dress a reality. This fact alone makes their integration in the content feel natural and unobtrusive, resulting in a compelling story.

Roots: A Cultural Force That Changed the Nation – The New York Times + History

In a successful effort to promote History Channel’s remake of Roots as a new miniseries, The New York Times’ T Brand Studio produced a compelling interactive piece focused on the lasting cultural impact of the original 1977 TV series. The clear and concise writing, combined with supplementary audio clips and articles, makes this easily digestible, yet deep enough for readers looking to further explore the topic.

usa today

Explore Wild Australia  – USA Today + Tourism Australia

360° video has a lot of great applications, but few are as awe-inspiring as shots of beautiful scenery and extraordinary wildlife.  If this collection of interactive videos doesn’t make you consider a trip down under, you may want to double check that you are indeed a living human.


Smirnoff Sourced – Smirnoff + Elite Daily

This campaign is a great example of both, the brand and the publisher, knowing their audience and unashamedly delivering the content that their audience wants. Marketers and publishers can be equally guilty of setting lofty or aspirational goals when it comes to content, but with headlines like “Squad Goals: 7 Cocktails Perfect For You And Your Crew All Summer Long” and “Why Day Parties Will Always Be Better Than Night Parties”, Smirnoff and Elite Daily knew exactly who they were targeting and it paid off. The 5 article series generated close to 25,000 social interactions.

whistler go fest

9 Legit Reasons We’re Hitting Up Whistler for May Long  – Canadian Traveller + Tourism Whistler

If you’re wondering what the heck a “May Long” is, it’s short for “May Long Weekend”, itself a nickname for the celebration of Victoria Day in Canada. It’s a big deal north of the border, as we Canadians recognize it as the unofficial start of summer. Branded content is a perfect medium for promoting events like Whistler’s GO Fest, because the main attractions are easily integrated into content.

(Full Disclosure: This story was created through the Pressboard Story Marketplace)

 Step Into Saturday – InStyle + Clarks

This 3-part series by InStyle celebrates everything Saturday has to offer by profiling how four women who lead very different lives spend the best day of the week. By following a duo of entrepreneurs, a globetrotter, and a creative mother of two on each of their weekend adventures, InStyle was able to capture some great moments that positioned Clarks as the footwear that keeps these women going.

Love Is In The Details – the knot + Etsy

We’re featuring this branded content partnership because it is a perfect example of a brand choosing the right publishing partner to work with. The Knot is a site built for every bride-to-be, which is a very valuable audience to Etsy’s marketplace of handmade sellers. On top of audience alignment, the content is focused, visually appealing, and fun.


Journey of the Hop –  The Weather Channel + Goose Island

If you’re surprised to learn that The Weather Channel creates branded content, you’re in for another treat when you see how good it is! This campaign with Chicago brewery Goose Island was created by the publisher’s branded content team, Icebreaker Studios, who did a great job telling the story of one of beer’s most important ingredients, the hop.


7 of the Ultimate Canadian Cheese and Wine Pairings – Notable + Dairy Farmers of Canada

Because Notable creates content to engage and educate young professionals, we liked that this guide paired simple, well-known wine genres with more refined cheeses. The goal was to create an easy reference point for an audience that might be new to professional networking events, arming them with simple wine and cheese pairings to impress even the biggest critics in the room.

(Full Disclosure: This story was created through the Pressboard Story Marketplace)


The Local’s Guide to California – PureWow + California Avocado

This campaign is a great reminder that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to outshine others. While it’s amazing to see partnerships push the limits of branded storytelling, reader friendliness and shareability often get compromised in the process. Using the tried and true format of the “local’s guide”, PureWow and California Avocado were able to create something their readers enjoyed. At the end of the day, that’s what we should all be striving for.

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