Brands are realizing that they must connect with their audience in a deeper way through the power of storytelling. These stories are not about the brand, but about people, conflict and drama — all the elements the audience is looking for in entertainment.
Branded Entertainment is about telling these stories through the prism of the brand’s DNA. Not only has it has become an essential piece of a modern brand’s ever more complex marketing puzzle, but it has become a core competency that brands must embrace. Here are four reasons why we think Branded Entertainment is the future.
1. Streaming has raised the bar
Led by titans Netflix and Hulu, in 2018 streaming video subscriptions eclipsed traditional pay TV. Alongside a lower barrier to entry for Hollywood caliber production, the ascendance of episodic binge watching has unleashed a tsunami of creativity. Never before has so much content of such high quality been available so ubiquitously. Competition for the viewer’s attention has never been more intense.
As a result, the bar for sophisticated storytelling and cinematic production is rising at a meteoric pace, led by such iconic juggernauts as Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. The average consumer’s expectations for quality entertainment has risen too, and brands are realizing that they need to tell their story with the same gusto and dedication to quality.
2. Nobody likes being interrupted
You’d be hard pressed to find a single soul who has welcomed a preroll ad with anything but annoyance. The interruptive model for advertising is not working. We’ve all become experts at using available technologies for skipping commercials, and blocking ads. Indeed 90% of people click on the ‘skip ad’ option when it is offered. It might not be stretch to purport that consumers see brands that continue to push these kinds of ads as lazy, while smart brands are embracing Branded Entertainment to create a genuine connection.
3. The rise of short form
With the mobile service providers offering all-day free streaming of data, consumers are binging on more content in shorter bursts. On the way to work, at lunch time, while cooking. Amazon Prime & Netflix are creating more and more short form series to catch these consumers. Katzenberg (ex-Disney and Dreamworks) and Meg Witmen (ex. Ebay and HP) are launching a new platform with 1 billion in investment money to focus only on short form content on their platform called Quibi. (Quick Bites) launching in April 2020.
4. New revenue streams
Branded Entertainment can be a significant revenue stream for brands willing to invest the resources necessary to make the content truly great.
Take the example of Uncle Drew, a full length feature film that emerged from Kyrie Irving’s character in his Pepsi Max advertisements that began airing in 2012, along with former NBA players Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, and Nate Robinson, as well as former WNBA player Lisa Leslie.
The comedy received positive reviews from critics and grossed $46.5 million worldwide. With a budget of $9 million, this film shines a light on the outright profitability of a well-told story.
There may be a more important reason…
A brand should know how to tell its story, and tell it well. But essentially, this must come from a place of genuinely wanting to connect with their audience. If a brand can find its voice as a storyteller, its reason for being and therefore the relevance of its products in its audiences’ lives will organically become evident.