Branded entertainment is the process of combining a brand’s marketing strategy with entertainment, and is also known in the marketing world as "advertainment". This new marketing has been used again and again in movies, to the point where it began to look something like this:
Parodies aside, consumers don’t like being marketed to in such obvious ways, taking away from the object of their actual attention: a movie, video clip or even a live event. It can inadvertently drive customer engagement down, turning consumers off your brand.
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Here are some tweets about product placement to elaborate on why customers dislike poorly done branded entertainment:
The below clips are the best examples of branded entertainment that will increase customer engagement without appearing as ‘blatant’ advertising. So, to avoid doing this:
@justinbieber such blatant product placement is bound to deter readers. Unless... It's a statement about consumerism?— Guy In Your MFA (@GuyInYourMFA) September 19, 2014
Try to do something more like this:
Taylor Swift & Amex
In these sorts of situations, it can be hard to see who is promoting whom. This marriage of brands is so seamless that consumers will appreciate the exclusive information that has been shared with them. If the purpose of your branded entertainment is to build value and connections, your brand will see an increase in customer engagement.
Vogue Magazine & Celebrities
Vogue’s “73 Questions with...” series takes a humourous look at how celebrities we love live and breathe. The team at Vogue host a series of “Behind the Scenes” and “Interview with...” videos that promote the magazine effortlessly. Not only do they increase customer engagement with the brand, but they barely mention the product.
Fiat & Paramount Pictures
Ben Stiller could have easily been himself for this ad, however in promoting the film Zoolander 2, Fiat has done well to use Stiller’s character to blend comedy with commercial. The end result is still an advertisement, but it’s far less jarring than the Subway snippet from Hawaii 5.0 - and that was meant to be subtle.
Rovio Animation & Sony Pictures Imageworks
The Lego Group & Warner Bros. Pictures
Less like brand placement and more like a movie, Lego and Rovio have achieved at taking their brand to the next level by enhancing the purpose and scope of their product. While this is still very much advertising, it also functions as a form of entertainment that doesn’t blatantly say “buy this product”.
OK Go & Honda
OK Go have blended well with Honda, staying within their interactive, choreography-heavy performance style of video that they are loved for. Honda has also humbly not allowed their product to take over the vision of the music video. Music naturally connects the customer with the brand as it evokes emotions. This is a very innovative clip that gives creativity to both OK Go and Honda for positive consumer engagement.
In each of the above videos, you can see how easy it is to use your brand as part of a larger message that adds value to the lives of your customers. If you are able to get consumers to appreciate your brand for it’s ability to give them insight into something larger than what you are selling, you have applied branded entertainment to your strategy the correct way.