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4 ways for brands to be entertaining

May 11, 2007

“People don’t love brands. This is an elemental economic truth. If they did, firms wouldn’t have to pay for advertising.”

Bubble Generation

This comment was made in reference to the latest attempt to create branded entertainment venue.The idea that a brand or brands can build its own TV network and expect people to tune in and drop by to be entertained.

The problem is that most brands haven’t built equity as entertainers, at best, their spots are tolerated as a break between the stuff that really entertains, but they can be considered as entertainment experts. They haven’t earned the right.

When consumers see branded entertainment, they see branded first and entertainment second. They find it hard to get through the idea that at sometime during the entertainment, they are going to be sold something or that the whole thing is really a giant ad. Branded entertainment is starting off with a couple of hands behind its back; it has no track record and it’s perceived to be a giant ad.

What can brands do to compete?

There are a couple of options

1.    Keep Trying-
Entertainers and entertainment companies have more failures than hits. Even in the controlled world of television; entertainment doesn’t work and get cancelled. However, they keep trying to make it work. The more you try, the more likely you are to have some success.

2.    Be Credible- To be an entertainer you need to work with the best. Ad agencies need to learn to collaborate with entertainers with a track record who can bring credibility to their efforts.

3.    Quit the Hard Sell-
To be credible, put the brand and the selling to one side and let the entertaining ideas breathe. They can disguise themselves as entertainment or content- such deception might not be popular.

4.    Do Something Useful- Do more than entertain-The shift to entertain is motivated by the attention challenges of television space. It’s not the only thing a brand can do to communicate. It can do the really important stuff like make better products, introduce better services, provide brand utility and act as a catalyst for its community.

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