Advertisers have found their way into consumers’ lives far beyond the typical 30-second TV spot or full-page ad. Branded entertainment, or branded content, takes product placement to another level. You won’t just see an advertiser’s product sitting on a judge’s table, this is a much more integrated approach that entertains the consumer and aligns with brand attributes. With a highly cluttered ad environment and increasing consumption of content, branded entertainment seems to be the route for advertisers to take to express their brand personality in a cost efficient and customizable way.
The world of interruptive ads may soon be a thing of the past. With the heavy adoption of online video sites like Hulu, and “TV our way” like TiVo and On Demand, advertisers are more concerned than ever with how to actively engage a consumer. So the world of advertising and entertainment merged as a result. But to see the benefits of branded entertainment, advertisers have to tell a compelling story first, more than just telling the story of their product or service. As a consumer, I could watch a 30-second TV spot and get a feel for a brand’s offering, but show me something with a storyline, conflicts and characters, and I am certain to connect and engage and understand the brand’s personality. What needs to be realized when a brand is entering this space is that before the content is “branded,” it needs to be entertaining content. The entire reason for a consumer to engage is for the entertainment factor and to gain a deep emotional connection. Once you’ve established that, brand favorability comes as a result.
It seems that this phenomenon has increased in popularity with everyone from the fashion industry to the automotive industry. A recent NY Times article reported on the deal between Bravo and Chase credit cards. The new series, “Around the World in 80 Plates Presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred,” seemed like a stretch at first. Twelve chefs traveling the world competing for culinary recognition with their trusty Chase card in hand for all of their traveling needs seems to be a less than seamless plug. But it’s more than a product plug, and although there will of course be the standard TV spot woven into the commercial breaks, Chase is tapping into what they believe the passions to be of their cardholders, travel and food. It will be interesting to see how integrated this approach will be when the chefs are cooking in Cambodia.
It all goes back to the emotion and connection. Any brand that reaches consumers in a way that makes them want to engage and see the next episode has done its job. As far a stretch as a credit card and a culinary competition is, the brand is becoming less of an advertiser and more of a personality.