The Top 10 Sponsored Content Campaigns of April

At Pressboard, we’re invested in growing the sponsored content industry. Whether that involves connecting advertisers and publishers through our own platform or celebrating the incredible work of our peers, we’re dedicated to building up the industry as a whole. That’s why we write about our favorite sponsored content campaigns every month. So without further ado, here are 10 incredible pieces of sponsored content that publishers and advertisers created together in April, 2018.

“Peter and Jamie’s Unretirement Party” – Fast Company + John Hancock

This sharp, modern piece of branded content is the fifth installment in a video series by business publisher Fast Company and insurance provider John Hancock Financial. The series focuses on two neighbors, played by comedians Pete Holmes and Jamie Lee (who both star in the HBO sitcom, Crashing), who are forced to think about their retirement at a young age in a variety of funny ways. The videos live on a page that includes quizzes, activities and tips for the user to interact with — all of which encourage them to start planning for their financial future. As a business-oriented publisher, Fast Company has an interest in things like retirement savings plans, and John Hancock benefits by portraying retirement as a topic that’s worthy of joyful anticipation, not stress.

Kids Today Are Getting Less Sleep, But One Simple Thing Might Help – Upworthy + Westin Hotels and Resorts

By tackling a subject that is relevant to any age demographic (not getting enough sleep), Upworthy and Westin have created sponsored content that is as relatable as it is effective. By shedding light on the negative effect that sleeplessness has on children, this piece encourages the reader to reconsider both their own bedtime routine and those of their kids. Though it includes an informative video that outlines Westin’s ThreadForward project — which collects, processes and reweaves bed linens into pajamas that are then donated to children in need — this collaboration is structured as a traditional news article. This format is a smart delivery device as it captures the seriousness of the issue at hand and positions both Upworthy and Westin as authorities on a problem that affects everyone.

Live Boldly Road Trip – Refinery29 + Revlon

This living piece of sponsored content is downright, well, bold. Using a mixture of videos and interactive illustrations, this vibrant collaboration connects the viewer with Instagram influencers from across all 50 U.S. states. Refinery29 publishes lifestyle content that speaks directly to young women, making them a great partner for Revlon. But this piece of content is about so much more than makeup — it’s a reflection on self esteem, female empowerment and living in America. By creating such a thoughtful piece of content, Revlon establishes itself as a company whose concerns go much further than skin deep.

Live in the Moment – National Geographic + ACE

Once again, National Geographic succeeds in creating beautiful and emotionally resonant sponsored content. This video partnership with ACE elastic bandages is a fun take on travel preparedness that combines safety tips (such as packing bandages) with practical advice like setting up a temporary handwashing station and creating a headlamp lantern. The success of this video is due to both its emotional quality, achieved by the focus on family travel, and its well-produced videos and photographs. In this collaboration, both National Geographic and ACE reveal themselves to be companies invested in safety and a passion for the great outdoors.

The Rising Voices of Black Girls Code – WIRED + HP

This collaboration between WIRED and Hewlett-Packard promotes the non-profit organization, Black Girls CODE: an education initiative which has brought state-of-the-art technology to over 8,000 African American, Latina and Indigenous girls in the United States. The initiative began as a way to increase the percentage of female minorities working in industries like tech and programming, particularly in California’s Silicon Valley. This branded article is a triumphant, no-nonsense look at the organization and how it seeks to empower young women. By aligning themselves with Black Girls CODE, WIRED and HP present themselves as inclusive and forward-thinking companies with a commitment to youth education.

Visit Las Vegas – Multiple Publishers + Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

The debut of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights created a new opportunity for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority to attract visitors. This story, published on Hockey News, targeted Canadian hockey fans and featured an interview with Kerry Bubolz, president of the Golden Knights. Bubolz described the raucous fan experience visitors can expect at a game (including a 15-minute rock concert, jousting Zambonis and a full-size drumline), encouraging NHL fans to watch their favourite team while visiting the famous Strip. A total of 14 stories were written for this four-month-long campaign, including publishers such as Elle Canada, Daily Hive and the Toronto Star.

(Disclosure: This sponsored content was created through Pressboard’s platform)

Uncap the Possibilities – The Players’ Tribune + Sharpie

The unlikely pairing of a sports publication and a stationary company reaps rewards in this inspiring branded video. Part of a series that includes interviews with a variety of professional athletes, this video features basketball star Chris Paul, who comments on both his family’s education foundation and his continuing commitment to encouraging creativity and ambition in kids. This content positions the Sharpie as the perfect tool for creative expression and draws on The Players’ Tribune’s audience to craft a message that resonates with sports enthusiasts and creative types alike.

Home Inspo Coast to Coast – Apartment Therapy + REALTOR

This “home inspo” map takes the reader into homes across America, allowing them to see what the real estate market is like in specific cities and states. This collaboration is a success because it gives the reader an in-depth, personal look at home ownership in many different American cities. It allows Apartment Therapy to flex their creative muscles by showcasing the interior design of the homes, and REALTOR to reinforce their expertise by providing readers with helpful statistics like the average cost of living and median home price in various regions across the country.

The Secret to Wearing Spring’s Boldest Looks – Elle + Saks Fifth Avenue

This beautifully shot fashion feature by Elle USA and Saks Fifth Avenue showcases fashionista and hospitality heiress Alessandra Balazs decked out in the most popular evening looks of the season. Both Elle and Saks are fashion-forward companies, making this partnership a natural choice. Rather than being just about the clothes themselves, however, the piece integrates quotes from Balazs in which she shares her advice for both creating chic spring looks and summoning up the confidence to pull them off. The eye-catching photography takes this collaboration to even greater heights, perfectly capturing the luxurious quality of Saks’ brands.

Zatarain’s Rice Mixes – Multiple Publishers + Zatarain’s

This sponsored content series from Zatarain’s, a food and spice company based out of New Orleans, sought to promote the versatility (and deliciousness) of their rice mixes. The campaign was published on multiple sites — such as Taste of the South, Louisiana Cookin’ and Chicago Magazine — in the form of traditional and recipe-based articles that highlighted the flavor profile and heartiness of southern cooking. While each piece offered something unique and hyperlocal to readers, this Baltimore Magazine piece stands out because it includes interviews from chefs in the Baltimore area, which infuses the content with personality and culture.

(Disclosure: This sponsored content was created through Pressboard’s platform)

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