First Published 20th April 2011, updated 2013 and 2019.
Who would have thought, Branded Entertainment is just exploding, but what has been the driving factor to create this rapid incline.
Take a search on Google for ‘Branded Entertainment’ and you get this response ‘About 2,530,000 results (0.05 seconds)’, what would it have been 1 year ago, 1/2 this amount or less I would imagine.
As I republished this blog in 2013 I conducted another search on Google for Branded Entertainment and the results are now a staggering 38.9m results in 0.021 seconds, now that’s growth in any language.
But wait, there is more.
Four days before Xmas Day in 2019, another search of the search term ‘branded entertainment’ returned a whapping 260m search result which is a staggering 7X increase in just six years.
Captain Obvious could spell out a couple of theories:
1. We are nomadic in our quest to outwit, outsmart and outmaneuver our competitors and as such we will jump onto the ‘next best thing’ in the marketing world before they do.
2. The market is simply being bombarded with so much communication that it makes any marketer’s job a continuous nightmare to be able to stand out above the clutter & crowded marketplace, hence we need something different. A type of marketing rebellion 3.0, where people, are genuinely tired of blatant low-value, annoying marketing.
And, adding a third in 2019;
3. The world has gone mad with personal branding, not a bad thing, but certainly, a driver when it comes to branded content in the modern age.
So that was Capt Obvious speaking, and we trust you enjoyed your standard rhetoric flight with us and we hope to see you fly with us again and share in absolutely no creative imagination or insights whatsoever, please enjoy your day.
Or try this one instead; I believe Branded Entertainment has an alluring yet deceitful Venus flytrap like persona. You see most can see the benefits of entertaining their market as they pitch their wares and now they also see, quite mistakenly, that the many platforms available to deliver this entertaining communication are all within reach and a lot more affordable than ever before.
Thus luring the marketers into this seemingly ‘riches within reach’ landscape, only to find that they have entered the maze and have started to wear down the energy of their brand & themselves with every deeper step they take.
So back in 2011, out of the 2.5m search returns in a microsecond how many of these are connected to the toe-dipping masses believing that Branded Entertainment could be good for business and as such, they have a half-hearted swing at it only to find it wasn’t really for them…
Just because 2.5m search results is an impressive number it has no connection to the success or otherwise of this old ‘new thing’. Unfortunately, Google is so good in its search it picks up all the skerricks of the topic making it difficult to see the truly relevant and engaging mentions of the subject. Sure Google ranks them to help us find the most active and to a degree the most relevant but passed page 2 or 3 in the search results is like crossing over the oceans pre-Christopher Columbus times, why would you?
But in the last few days of 2019, the 260m SERPs tells a vastly different story. With multiple core updates to its search engine since 2011, Google search results are now a lot more refined and even when you go to page 10 of these results, there is a lot of good information in and around the topic of Branded Entertainment.
Funnily enough, a large number of these search results from subject matter commentators, yes just like me, all having something to say about this method of marketing, and how it’s one of THE key parts to any marketing strategy.
Strangely, there are also commentators still trying to justify Branded entertainment as a viable option, still this hesitation after so many years.
Of course, Branded Entertainment cannot exist alone, it needs the support of many marketing legs to help it stand out from the masses, without this support it is just another part of the background marketing noise.
Here’s a start: Branded Entertainment + Social Media + total strategy. Simply put you have to have a clear strategy that will deliver on your overall objectives of the campaign.
It’s not simple and a well-designed campaign with an excellent strategy is not guaranteed to work, but then again what is?
There are a lot of so-called experts rising from obscurity on this subject but I for one am not claiming any heights of grandeur, I am merely a commentator on the subject with a bit of experience to offer. Even when these experts quote marketing speak ad nauseam it doesn’t mean they know what the market will respond to or if any given campaign will work or not.
The trick to this is to give the strategy the appropriate amount of time, trust your instincts, match your brands’ personality and let it fly. There are no rights nor wrongs just results and learning’s, called successes & failures.
A couple of outstanding successes:
Look at Blendtec and their CEO Tom Dickson with the ‘Will it Blend’ YouTube videos where he blends all sorts of household items to prove the superior quality of their blenders. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC8Zvl-8ziA&NR=1 This all started when a new marketing manager came across Tom ‘testing’ his blenders then picking up a camera to capture the moment. They went from selling 40m blenders per annum to over 160m in a very short space of time. Luckily the CEO, Tom Dickson, already believed in his testing methods to take it viral but do you think most CEO’s would have seen this opportunity and let the Marketing Manager run with this, probably be a bit of a tough sell?
The #quicksilver ‘Original Thinking’ campaign viewed by over 20m on YouTube but more importantly making it to 95% of all surfing websites around the world, quite an audience for this iconic surf brand showing off their edgier side! Video no longer available.
Or more recently, an epic one from Tourism Australia in 2018. Here Tourism Australia created a Superbowl ad featuring Aussie acting luminaries such as Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Margot Robbie, and the list goes on, along with US comedian Danny McBride, in a feature film trailer for another Crocodile Dundee sequel. When it was all revealed to be a well-crafted ad for Australia Tourism. Incidentally, it worked phenomenally, you can see the results here: http://www.tourism.australia.com/en/about/our-campaigns/dundee.html
Great ideas in any arena have a way of achieving outstanding success but many have been born from the strangest of thoughts, let’s look at a couple of pitches that would have raised some eyebrows of total disbelief and have a few investors kicking themselves now…
So the pitch; well what I want to do is have this social network platform just so we can comment on the mundane things in our lives, connect with other people and build a network of followers all over the world. The comment/updates etc of no more than 140 characters, out into Twitterland, will be called Tweets and all these other dudes will start following all these other dudes, it’s going to be huge, trust me, no no it’s different from Facebook its Twitter!
Don’t like that one Mr & Mrs. potential investor, I think you might regret passing on it but it’s your call.
OK, I have another, so what I want to do is have this game right that goes through various levels of difficulty with birds flung out of a slingshot into crates and things to destroy pigs, free other birds, etc, it’s called Angry Birds, how’s that sound to you Mr & Mrs. Investor, bet you can’t wait to get a piece of it eh?
You get the picture. These last two may not be examples of actual Branded Entertainment but hopefully, they illustrate the point that no one really knows if something is a good idea until you float it into the market, but only after you are convinced it reflects your brand and matches your strategy.
But again proceed with caution it may look pretty, smell nice and have kind eyes but it could be a kiss of death to your brand if you get it wrong.
The world is already littered with Branded Entertainment failures, such as the Splinter Cell gunman in a kiwi bar, not the smartest play for awareness, the NZ cops nearly shot the actor. Or the Aqua Teen Hunger Force attaching small robotic looking devices all over central Boston, on buildings, under bridges, parks, etc. Boston Police took the battery devices to be some sort of terrorist bomb plot and virtually shut the city down, costing Turner Broadcasting a cool $2m to clean up its mess. Other giants of industry have experienced Branded Entertainment disasters, Microsoft, Chrysler, and the list go on.
Don’t be one of them.
First, be clear on what your brand represents and what you want to achieve, make sure your marketing strategy can flex to the market because it will control where your Branded Entertainment communication goes, not you, you just start it the ball rolling. Be sure you have an overriding strategy that you, your team and your brand can manage and have a contingency should the idea tank.
Then & only then do you start creating your entertaining communication. Just start throwing ideas at the wall, some will stick and some won’t just start the process, you never know what you’re going to get!
Good luck & keep creating until next time.