Why we need sponsored entertainment, not branded content
05 / 17 / 2017
Instead of making short form films and buying likes, more brands should consider investing in sponsored entertainment that people will pay to watch, writes the producer of Werner Herzog’s “Lo and Behold.”
As the advertising world moves away from traditional TV campaigns, more and more brands are turning to branded content to connect with consumers. 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.
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.
Sponsored entertainment is not new. Many of the most successful film franchises—Lego and Marvel for example—are pieces of sponsored entertainment. Their purpose is to guide consumer interest toward related toys and other merchandise. In the words of George Lucas, “all the money is in the action figures.”
The success of films like “The Lego Batman Movie” and “Logan” should have us advertisers asking a question. Why not skip the media buy altogether and put those dollars into entertainment we can sell?
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