A brief history of branded content marketing – part 2/2 Unbranded Content #2 then and now

Restless legs and Danny Macaskill.

While working with DBM creative duo Lee and Dan had a brief from GSK.

In case you don’t know drug companies aren’t allowed to advertise drugs but they can make people aware of issues or ailments or in this case Syndromes, for which they obviously have a product to cure it.

In this case Restless Legs Syndrome no less.

I can’t lie we all raised an eyebrow when we first heard it.

It is however quite a debilitating issue and something that apparently is commonly miss diagnosed by GP’s as insomnia ( I think) hence why they wanted to raise awareness.

Of course in those days, some years ago, people or clients didn’t ask for Branded Content.
What they actually asked for was a viral?

We want to make a viral!

We explained that you can’t make a viral and that viral was just the process with which your content was shared if it was good enough or warranted being shared but we can make you a great piece of content and with the correct seeding it should generate that required viral spread.

At the time The Honda Accord Rude Goldberg commercial was getting critical acclaim and so Lee and Dan created an ‘homage’ to this and so “My Dad’s got Restless Legs” was born.

Unbranded all bar the tiny text payoff at the end sponsored by.



You Tube was relatively new at the time and the client insisted we put the content on Youtube.

We explained that no one would find it because no one knew what they were looking for.

Also the common insiders quote at the time was ‘if you want to hide a piece of content upload it to Youtube.’

However for them, and to prove a point, we uploaded it to Youtube as well as our seed sites.


The clip achieve 1 million views in 4 weeks and had lots of repostings across the web.

The client was very happy.

The Youtube clip we uploaded for the client got 7 views.

Another great result came about when one person made a quote on one of the seeded clips.

“Oh really” they said “Restless Legs GSK? What ever next Restless Penis Syndrome”

You had to laugh!

But then people who suffered from the issue/syndrome or knew someone who did started replying.

“I suffer from this and it’s debilitating” and other similar quotes.

The thread created exactly the dialogue and online buzz GSK wanted and everyone concerned was happy with the outcome of the activity.

Fast forward to today and Danny Macaskill. Unbranded content 2014.

I can’t watch this between 3 minutes and about 5 minutes but I love it.

Slightly slicker but I suspect slightly different budgets!

This is Honda Cog by Rude Goldberg if you haven’t seen it.



About commonsenseandadvertising

English male. Still with all my own hair intact and full set of teeth. Not sure about full set of marbles though.
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