Consumers have come to expect brands to entertain them as much as Hollywood does. The best way to accomplish that is to shock them—not for shock value itself but to shock them “in amazement,” says GE’s Chief Creative Officer.

Andy Goldberg believes that when it comes to creating content, nothing is off the table these days. Citing new media versus the heretofore confines of traditional media like TV, print, out-of-home and radio, “I think the cover has been torn off,” he says in an interview with Beet.TV.

In its ongoing bid to brand itself given the nature of its revised corporate holdings, GE has been dipping its toes into various new content opportunities. Hence its co-producer status last year with National Geographic on the podcast called The Message, which Fast Company likened to a sci-fi version of the hit Serial.

“You have the ability to express brands in many different forms and create what I really call branded entertainment again more than just straight content,” Goldberg says. “It’s changed the way you go to market. It’s changed the way you think about creative. Everything’s open.”

Opinions can differ on the best metrics for consumer engagement of digital video, three seconds of viewability being one guide point. But great content has to stem from, well, great content. “You can’t go into a brief and say, ‘Hey, I want a viral hit.’ There’s a reason it’s called viral. It just has to happen,” Goldberg says.

In the end, it’s consumers who decide the meaning of “great.” To Goldberg, it hinges on completion and engagement of video. “It’s not an easy medium to make a hit,” he observes.

In Goldberg’s view, “The expectation truly is to engage and entertain more than anything else. I think brands are expected to entertain as much as Hollywood is expected to entertain.”

In the run-up to the Cannes advertising gathering in France this month, Goldberg says he hopes to see “how people are breaking the mold of what’s expected” from brand marketers.

“If you can really stretch the limit of creativity and shock people not for shock value but in amazement, that’s what captures the imagination,” he says. “More and more the advertising world and content development world should be capturing peoples’ amazement.”

This interview is part of our series “The Road to Cannes”, presented by FreeWheel. Please visit this page for additional segments.

"The Road to Cannes," presented by FreeWheel