Product Placement Opportunities In Your Consumers Favored Media Content
Many moons ago, branded content popped onto the scene with the quest to revitalize collaboration between editorial and advertising. This has led to both traditional and digital publishers launching full-service content studios including the New York Times’ T Brand Studios, Refiner29’s Brand Experiences, and CNN’s Courageous Studios.
This move has installed attention-grabbing content that seeks awards and praise from all. The overall idea is that brand marketers looking for more creative flexibility, total message control, and cheaper pricing will be arriving at these content studios’ front doors. And the media outlets are banking on brands interest in being able to provide quickly consumable content versus boring old ads. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses how media outlets are becoming production content producers, and what brands need to know to navigate the space.
The Larger Shifts In Branded Entertainment
According to Jen Cohen, Senior Vice President of entertainment content partnerships at Turner Ignite, the focus of content marketing for the network was originally on the initiation of co-branded spots and brand integration into the show. In other words, the mission was to fit brands into the show’s story. Something our agency knows a tremendous amount about.
Writers at Turner would attempt to write content that
was super brand friendly, while the agency and network points would attempt to review whether or not their clients were receiving adequate attention and care. Controlling a brand’s message during the production process can often prove challenging without constant - and daily - communication and the presence of marketers on set day after day. Something productions never really like to have happen as it totally disrupts production. An unwitting marketer may even get in the way of grips, production hands, and other studio ready employees. These implications have forced advertisers to adapt.
And content is after all supposedly created to allow creativity... and making sure all the angles that the brand is looking to have covered can be difficult and less easily achieved than in a true commercial.
So a new form of branded content has been created - commercial like, but still relating to the content that they are wrapped around.
What Advertisers Are Looking For
Times are different now. Mark Zuckerberg has given us the book of faces, unlocking a brand new frontier known as social media. Digital marketing has become a primetime event, as well as Overt The Top (OTT) and Video On Demand (VOD). These new advertising platforms only lead advertisers to even more so thirst for quickly consumable content that is relevant, budget-friendly, and allows for their voice to be heard throughout the creation process.
We live in a world that is much for saturated in audio/visual stimulation, so marketers enjoy being able to craft the tone, feel, and look of Branded Content; at least, they make sure to align their brand with programming that they themselves are fans of. Marketers are now more easily able to seek out the programming that they find the most appealing for their brands. Social media has made this ever more apparent - just follow feeds to see who likes what show.
The development of dedicated in-house social agencies and optimization tools have influenced the industry to develop content with a massive shelf life. What is the context? What is the voice? What is the appropriate character? In order to create branded content in this current market, these questions must be asked. One time spots are simply ideas of the past, far less coveted than shareable and virally ambitious content pieces that typically are only breathed into life once - and then live on in re-airs and syndication.
Producing The Content
So who is in charge of producing this content? Is it the savvy brand marketers and their agencies, or is it solely up to the production company and distribution channel? Brands like Turner have created the solution: building teams of talented entertainment creators who double as advertising whisperers.
Teams of storytellers who are also capable of producing high-quality entertainment will be responsible for painting the ethos of their respective networks, while also adapting the key performance index (KPI) wishes of the clients that they are working for. It is critical for these studios to both maintain the reputation of the networks that they are associated with while also respecting the brands they are integrating.
What Should Brand Marketers Focus On
The purpose of creating these dedicated in house studios is to have a “content first” mentality. You don’t necessarily have to have a studio arm in order to do this, however. First, figure out what it is that you want to produce?
For Turner, their main goal was to focus on video. Specifically, video that can be shared both linearly and digitally. Considering social media’s driving force behind video content, this is a smart move. Studying different social media platforms is a must, as you’ll most likely find teams developing content of varying lengths distributed across multiple streams of social. The generation of new ideas is pinnacle to the success of branded content. Try leveraging the voice of brands with the audience of clients to form original intellectual properties.
Brands have a phenomenal opportunity right now to become part of TV and film content, as well as developing hand in hand with the production teams, unique stand alone content that has the feel of the production and cast (sometimes with celebrity endorsement fees added) but that can still live outside the actual programming. Which means that the time has come to innovate branded content through innovative means.
The entertainment industry is one that offers many possibilities for different styles of integration. If you're a brand seeking to be integrated in new and interesting ways, it's important to align yourself with agencies that are both experienced and excited to to work with you.
At Hollywood Branded, we've had the chance to facilitate brand partnerships that are truly stand alone. We've also written hundreds of blogs explaining the method behind our excellent marketing madness. To learn about other case studies and examinations of Branded Partnerships in film and television, check out some other blog posts we've written on the subject:
- An Inside Look At Indie Films And Brand Partnerships
- How Entertainment Marketing Is Different Than Advertising... or PR
- How To #29: How Much Does Product Placement Cost
- How To #27: 10 Surprising Reasons Why Brands Do Product Placement
- How To #3: Create A Product Placement Measurement Plan