Branded entertainment is nothing new. Honestly, if you look back to the 1950s you can find product placement at its truest (and earliest) forms, in film. However, things are changing. Yes, still have the subtle Budweiser placement, but the mediums are changing. First advertisers followed consumers from print to radio, then from radio to television. Now, we’re entering a time where digital is where the magic happens.
Advertainment started with Soap Operas (too bad they’re all slowly being lost with time.) However, once viewers started to shy away from being sold to so blatantly, the 30-sec commercial was born. Then in the 1990’s it all started to come back. With the invention of tools like TiVO, Advertainment was forced to make a comeback. Otherwise, there would be not time for products to be sold.
If you think about it branded entertainment is not just advertising products or placing items on a table top, it’s much more than that. It’s finding products that actually feed into the theme of a show and/or movie. The movie business embraces this fact like it’s their job (side note: it is their job). Think about the frenzy car markers went into when Michael Bay announced he was creating the Transformers movies. That was too easy; try this one. Think about all office supply companies that are biting their nails over the fact that “The Office” may close its doors for good.
However, when one door closes, simply kick down the door. That is what is happening with the birth of digital content. The branded entertainment is limited to just drinking a different beer every episode, like “Two and a Half Men.” Now companies can simply leave banner placed graphics around the show. Oh, you want to watch a show about cars? Well you’re going to have to spend the entire 30 minutes starting at the BMW skin take over. Apparently, blatant is relative to the viewer. Did we learn nothing from Guiding Light?
With all the mediums being used to absorb content, it is up to the brand how they show off their product. You can go the traditional route and make a commercial or you can go the somewhat non-traditional route and make sure The Donald brushes his teeth with your toothpaste. Either way, make sure you choose a show that everyone is watching. Get the best bang for your buck.