After releasing its hockey-themed film The Mighty Ducks, Disney established a National Hockey League expansion team known as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, which was named in reference to the film. Disney subsequently produced two Mighty Ducks film sequels, and an animated series inspired by the team set and in a fictional version of Anaheim. The films and cartoon series also featured cameos by Mighty Ducks players. These works bolstered the Mighty Ducks by placing additional content within its brand, and created synergies between the team and Disney's core entertainment business. The NHL felt that the Mighty Ducks cartoon could help to promote the game of hockey among a younger audience, and counter the stereotype of hockey being associated with Canada and the U.S. northeast. The team's merchandise, which was sold at Disney Parks and Disney Store locations in addition to the NHL's main retail channels, were the best-selling among all teams for a period.
In 2001, automaker BMW began a marketing campaign entitled The Hire, in which it produced a series of short films featuring A-list directors (such as Guy Ritchie) and talent that prominently featured its vehicles. The films were advertised through television, print, and online marketing which directed viewers to a BMW Films website, where they could stream the films, and access ancillary information such as information about their featured vehicles. BMW also distributed the films on DVD with Vanity Fair magazine to increase their distribution among the company's target audience. By the end of the campaign in 2005, the eight-film series had amassed over 100 million views, and several of the films had received both advertising-related and short film awards.
In 2010, Procter & Gamble and Walmart began to fund a series of made for TV films, distributed through the former's Procter & Gamble Productions division, such as The Jensen Project and Secrets of the Mountain. They were all targeted towards family viewing, aired primarily on NBC as time-buys, and featured product placement for P&G brands and Walmart's store brand Great Value. In turn, Walmart erected promotional displays of P&G products related to each film, and sold the films on DVD immediately after their broadcast. Both companies used exclusive advertising time during the films to promote their products. P&G reported that the favorability of the products featured in Secrets of the Mountain increased by 26% among mothers who saw the film. Advertising Age felt that despite lukewarm reception and viewership, "as case studies for successful branded entertainment, they've become the holy grail of how networks and marketers can use entertainment to achieve scalable audiences, measurable product sales and active fan communities."
The Canadian beer brand Kokanee (owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev) partnered with its agency Grip and Alliance Films to produce The Movie Out Here, a feature-length comedy film set in the brand's home province of British Columbia. The film was released in April 2013, after being featured at the 2012 Whistler Film Festival. Kokanee beer, along with characters from its past advertising campaigns, make appearances in the film, and an accompanying campaign allowed bars in Western Canada to compete to be a filming location, and users to vote on the film's soundtrack and have a chance to be listed as a "fan" in the credits. Grip's creative director Randy Stein stated that viewers had become more accepting of branded content, and that there would be a larger focus on the emotional aspects of Kokanee as a brand as opposed to the number of placements.
The energy drink company Red Bull has relied heavily on branded content as part of its marketing strategies. The company operates several Media House studios, which coordinate the production and distribution of original content targeted towards the interests of young adults—particularly music and extreme sports. Alongside digital media content such as online video, and print media such as The Red Bulletin, Red Bull has also organized events and sports competitions which carry its name, such as the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Crashed Ice, and Flugtag competitions, music festivals and events, and a skydive from the Earth's stratosphere by Felix Baumgartner. These ventures are consistent with the company's image, bolster Red Bull as being a lifestyle brand in these categories, and build awareness of Red Bull without necessarily promoting the product itself. An executive for Red Bull Media House North America remarked that the growth of digital media platforms had made it easier for brands to produce and distribute their own content, and stressed that branded content was most effective when it is "authentic" and high-quality.