Verdict on Nutella’s content series

Nutella has created a series of films on its YouTube channel. ‘Spread the Happy’ aims to show real people and tell real stories. The thing is: is it content marketing or an ad?

As a bit of backstory, Nutella is producing four films in the run-up to Christmas. These have been produced by Brand Programming Studios in the US.

The first film, titled Brooklyn and Delvar, takes as its theme a girl making a local binman feel special even though it’s her birthday.

Nicely shot, it’s a mixture of recreated action and interview featuring the real people.


So what is it exactly?

There is a saying that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and paddles like a duck, then it is probably a duck.

And this Nutella content quacks like an ad.

Agreed, there’s hardly any branding and it does use real people. But overall, at just over three minutes, it fits nicely into an ad break. Furthermore, it is shot like an ad. In the way that you watch it and wonder what product the girl is going to grab.

Also, these might be real people. Yet the location feels familiar from any number of ad shoots.

But this is nothing. Watch to the end. Nothing says ‘this is an ad’ like a full-screen ident with a logo and pack shot.


Perhaps it’s pointless trying to differentiate between the two. Content is content, right? Well not really.

If this story was really content marketing then it would have been longer and offer more depth. It is a mini-story, which is something that advertising pioneered when it was first offered 30-second breaks.

Nutella’s ‘Spread the Happy’ campaign is just a long ad. Shame. More than that, it’s a half-measure. Imagine how powerful it would have been if it was 10 minutes longer and contained an actual story.

The verdict on Nutella’s content series is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.