With the holiday season upon us, its impossible not to feel bombarded with advertising. However, many companies are embracing branded content this year, and taking a less pushy approach to their marketing. Here are the brands who produced the best branded content of the week:

Dumb Ways to Die –  Melbourne Metro

After gaining over 14 million views in just under a week, this adorable video detailing all the stupid ways a person could die, is the definition of a viral video. The song is unbearably catchy – seriously you’ll be humming it all day – and the characters are wonderfully endearing. At first glance, this doesn’t feel like an advertisement at all until the last few moments when we see the Melbourne Metro Logo. The campaign was created to raise awareness and help prevent train related deaths that occur every year on Australia’s public transportation system. The video is a unique way to present a very serious topic and it’s definitely an effective piece of branded content. An excellent example of repurposed content, the song is now available for purchase on iTunes.

Ben and Jerry’s – Instagram Ads

To honor their loyal customers, Ben and Jerry’s announced that they would be kicking off a new campaign featuring on Instagram photos uploaded by fans. Ben & Jerry’s invites people to post photos that show moments of show and then to tag the Instagram photos with #captureeuphoria. Currently, all the photos are being displayed in an online gallery, but Ben & Jerry’s plans to use twenty of the best images for their advertising. Each image will be incorporated into the advertising for the particular area where the photographer lives, thus giving that Instagram-er fifteen minutes in the spotlight. That advertising campaign is impressive enough, but it’s also interesting that the company has managed to get so much press over the mere concept. It’s almost as if it is an ad campaign within an ad campaign.

Microsoft/Windows 8  – Conde Nast Magazine Covers

Readers of fourteen Conde Nast magazines may be surprised when they see the covers of their December issues in the next few weeks. The December covers have all been designed to resemble the Windows 8 start screens. Apparently, Microsoft did not pay anything for the covers. Rather, they are being used by Conde Nast to inform readers of new ways they will be able to access content on the Windows 8 software platform. That’s certainly an amazing amount of free advertising for Microsoft, and it makes this one giant piece of branded content. Below, is the new cover for December’s Glamour Magazine.

Image from Conde Nast

Pinterest – 30 Days of Pinspiration

This week, Pinterest introduced an additional link to their menu that leads pinners to a Pinterest holiday calendar titled 30 Days of Pinspiration. Each day, we will see a new celebrity, non-profit, or brand featured as they show how they utilize Pinterest for inspiration. Fresh off the announcement of the Pinterest for Business pages, the 30 Days of Pinspiration appears to be an effort to show that the social visual platform can be a mainstream way for brands to communicate. Not only is this branded content for Pinterest, but it gives each individual or brand featured a chance to promote themselves as well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the best branded content of this week! I have a feeling that we will begin to see even more branded content campaigns reveal themselves as the holiday season progresses. If you have a suggestion for another branded content campaign that you believe I should cover, please feel free to mention it in the comments!