Home » FIR #274: Is Unbranded Unethical?

FIR #274: Is Unbranded Unethical?

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According to one definition, unbranded content “isn’t specifically about your company but is relevant to your industry or product in some way.” There are unbranded videos like this one from WREN, an online clothing retailer. Released in 2014, it’s a film in which the filmmakers asked 20 couples who had never met to kiss. The only reference to WREN is at the very beginning of the video, “WREN Presents.” There isn’t even a link to the retailer in the film or on its YouTube page.

And there are entire unbranded websites. We even interviewed Ike Pigott from Alabama Power about Alabama News Center, where Alabama Power’s involvement is barely noticeable.

There are sound reasons for brands to produce unbranded content. From the perspective of the audience reading or viewing the content, is it underhanded? A failure to disclose? Does it matter? Neville and Shel have differing points of view in this short mid-week episode of For Immediate Release.


The next monthly, long-form episode of FIR will drop on Monday, August 15. FIR “shorts” — episodes under 15 minutes — will appear once or twice weekly.

We host a Communicators Zoom Chat each Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. For credentials needed to participate, contact Shel or Neville directly, request the credentials in our Facebook group, or email fircomments@gmail.com.

Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music.

You can find the stories from which Shel’s FIR content is selected at Shel’s Link Blog. Shel has started a metaverse-focused Flipboard magazine. Neville’s “asides” blog, Outbox, is also available.

Links from this episode:

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