Advertainment or, as you might call it, branded entertainment is a wonderful thing. I thought I came up with this ingenious word. Turns out someone a lot smarter than me did way back in 2013, Chet Gulland
, (ex-head of digital strategy at Droga5).
So sadly I can’t take credit for the word (damn it.) but I can take credit for working on Channel 4’s first-of-its-kind short form drama series Fracture
in collaboration with Balmain and Sunshine agency, (pops collar smugly) and this is the foundation of what I think will become the future of advertising in the next few years.
The series was fabulous, the clothes were fabulous, the cast were also very fabulous, and whilst it certainly did its job of securing a new way of promoting products via a traditional platform like C4, it did it with style and without too much interference with what the audience saw as a compelling series to watch.
There’s so much to say about what value advertainment can bring to both brands and platforms. Not only is it fucking cool to seamlessly integrate brands into much-loved series and films (cue Stranger Things, Back to the Future, Wayne’s World), but it also allows creativity to shine instead of being compromised due to rigid deliverables. The brands become integrated into the narrative, and if anything embellish the cultural context of a moment, everyone gains kudos through the affiliation and it’s been proven.
Branded Entertainment can boost brand perceptions +29% versus a traditional spot advertisement
. Not to mention the longevity of fans watching it over and over again. Why pay for media for six months when you can embed yourself into a platform for good?
Did I mention Fracture is still available on All 4?
Our audiences are growing more discerning and more aware when they’re being sold to, subliminal advertising was and is amazing. I mean Nike and Pepsi smashed it back in the day.
Heineken beers appeared four or five times within one minute of the film.
As scary as that sounds, platforms don’t need to just worry about subscriptions, they also need to retain their audience with amazing content.
I’ve gone on a bit of a deep dive here but in short, coming back to what the Contagious article said so eloquently, if we (as marketeers) want to survive and ensure consumers stay engaged with both platforms AND brands the two worlds of creativity must join forces (kind of like The Avengers).
Relevance: social and cultural impact will continue to be at the forefront of what drives consumers to watch content so encouraging brands to do more, think bigger, whilst convincing the big five platforms to take on new content feels like the next step in the evolution of this industry. We’ve already done it massively within the non scripted / docu space so bringing the film, TV and commercial spheres closer together than they ever have been before feels only natural surely?
As this shift begins to take place, media platforms will have the upper hand, leveraging huge sales to place products into high ranking series, but the real power move will come when more brands start to create their own IP and narratives which the platforms will then want to buy.
Little daunting, but change is good. All I can say is, I’m excited for my next advertainment project.