Creating Branded Entertainment Campaigns
Because Traditional Advertising Is Boring As Shit
Branded Entertainment vs. Sponsored Content
Sponsored content has been a much more established discipline in modern marketing, as it has roots in traditional “advertorials,” which are editorial articles or pieces of content that are sponsored by a brand. These tactics provide brands a way to interact with their customers. By providing value through the editorial component, the brand is infusing themselves in the daily lives of their customers in a way
You’ve seen sponsored content on YouTube too. Brands often will pay for placement on the top right or bottom bar of a media content channel’s videos. YouTube does not allow brands to directly target pieces of content, choosing to focus on the users, which means that by sponsoring content, brands can approach their outreach in a different way.
Branded entertainment goes beyond this. With branded entertainment, a brand is not simply slapping their logo on something, they are taking a vested interest (often equity or investment) in the project and the content has to have a natural and meaningful connection to the mission and message of the brand. In its most effective form, branded entertainment itself becomes a revenue stream, and has a direct connection to sales or the base business.
Lego Killed It
Licensing Champions & Really Great Content
Lego is now the biggest toy manufacturer on the planet. Their movies are also incredibly lucrative and keep audiences engaged with the brand. This is a perfect example of branded entertainment, where Lego essentially created such a quality campaign that they were able to get audiences to pay to sit through a 2 hour commercial for their products.
And guess what? It works!
Right now there are not strict regulations surrounding branded entertainment. Advertising in general has regulations that govern what you can say/can’t say to protect against unfair competition among other things. In digital advertising, there are symbols or prompts that alert the audience to the fact that they are being advertised to.
In feature films, there is no such warning. When you see Coca Cola, Chevy, Apple, or other major brands in your favorite movie, know that that’s a product placement deal. This happens on television as well, to infuse a brand more in the story world of the program. However, these days brands are investing in feature film production, television shows, and other forms of media like live events.
Right now the landscape for brands to produce entertainment is wide open. While this may not be an appropriate strategy for every brand or every year it certainly is effective when executed properly. For every agency, brand, and media producer, branded entertainment is definitely something to study in order to provide ultimate value to the market.
Thanks for reading,