Op-ed by Saville’s Executive Producer Rupert Maconick.
With DVRs, binge-watching, and other commercial-free viewing opportunities, consumers aren’t watching traditional ads like they used to.
In response, many brands are starting new in-house agencies to produce fresh, innovative work in the form of branded content. But for all the supposed difference between branded content and traditional ads, most brands approach both in the exact same way.
Too many brands see branded content as an excuse to make long, dull advertisements. Then, stuck as they are with a boring product, brands spend substantial amounts of money on a media buy to support these long ads. Success is measured by likes and shares. But that’s not real success; the likes have simply been bought.
Supporting branded content with a media buy is a deeply flawed approach. It’s the equivalent of a movie studio buying tickets to its own film to prove box office success.
Worse than that, branded content doesn’t even solve the issue we’ve asked it to solve. Fewer and fewer people are watching ads. So why are we spending time and money making even longer ones? The advertising world’s preoccupation with branded content is a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Fortunately, there is a much more effective way to engage consumers and make an impact. For brands interested in a distribution strategy that does not require a prohibitively expensive media buy, there is sponsored entertainment.
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