Branded Entertainment Without the Shill

By 06/06/2011
Branded Entertainment Without the Shill

I watched the season premiere of the original web series Leap Year (the branded entertainment program presented by Hiscox Insurance, a Bermuda-incorporated insurance provider looking to make inroads with small businesses on the web and in America) after I contributed a good 90 seconds to the 470 million minutes of online video advertising delivered by Hulu every month by watching a spot for Vimpat (the medication developed for the “adjunctive treatment of partial-onset seizures and diabetic neuropathic pain”). Leap Year was better than the Vimpat commercial.

On paper that looks obvious. Of course a series with a low six-figure production budget designed for purposes of entertainment is going to be more engaging and enjoyable to watch than an advertisement created by a global biopharma company! But if you’ve watched original branded entertainment web series for a while, you know that’s not always the case. Sometimes you may even prefer to catch attractive individuals white water raft in adverts for Valtrex than witness an almost outright shill presented with a thin veil of entertainment.

But I digress. Leap Year not only watches way better than the Vimpat spot, but way better than most other online originals out today. If the quality of the Wilson Cleveland, CJP Digital, and Happy Little Guillotine production doesn’t make you want to click play, and you find Yuri and Vlad Baranovsky’s slick but still relatable script (think of a style somewhere between Alexander Payne and Ted Griffin) to be unenticing, than Rachel Risen’s bat impression and the fact that this branded entertainment web series doesn’t have one single mention of the brand that’s cutting its production checks will make you want to tune in.

Check out new episodes of Leap Year dropping every every Monday for the next nine weeks at