Say you are watching a movie on your day off. The protagonist returns from her morning run and reaches for a bag of cereals for her breakfast. You instantly recognize the cereal brand that you often see lined up on supermarket shelves. This is what entertainment marketing is.
During the entire scene, the protagonist never mentions the cereal brand. The product is just placed in a scene from a movie that millions watch across the globe. But those who are even minutely aware of that cereal brand will remember it featured in the movie.
So, it is a form of marketing that isn’t direct. Yes, it is advertising, but it does not seem like advertising in any shape or form. This is just an example of this form of marketing. In some cases, it can be quite direct and in the viewer’s face, as well. Celebrity endorsements on YouTube are also a method that brands today resort to.
In this article, we will get in-depth with entertainment marketing. From its importance to different ways of doing it, let’s cover everything one by one.
What is Entertainment Marketing?
We get entertainment marketing when brands collaborate with content creation and entertainment industry folks. It is like a partnership where the brand and the celebrity co-promote one another. To borrow a leaf from Eminem’s book, the parties involved just “swap fans and followers” with a targeted campaign. Which Eminem song was this? Keep guessing. Keep guessing.
Anyways, it is a unique method that brands use to communicate with their customers. As this form of marketing has progressed with the advent of social media, some brands seem to have chucked subtlety out the window. Influencer marketing campaigns are a good example that is as direct as things can get with advertising.
On the other hand, campaigns within a movie or popular video game are a lot more subtle. This type of marketing uses entertainment to drive their message home. They’re a lot more creative than the commercial ad campaigns that we see on TV.
The endgame of entertainment marketing is the same as any other technique. It is to drive sales and generate brand awareness among your target audience. The investment in this form of marketing is relatively high, so it is natural for brands to expect quick results. And luckily, it delivers.
Benefits of Entertainment Marketing
1. More natural than commercial ads
Commercial ads can be pretty annoying for audiences. Be the TV ads or YouTube ads that you can’t skip, there are a few things audiences hate more than ads. Why? Because they seem forced and come at a time when the viewer would instead be watching a game or a movie.
Entertainment marketing, on the other hand, feels a lot more natural. Take product placements, for example. A brand cleverly places its products in a movie scene; if done with subtlety, it just won’t look like advertising. But that little box of cereals we discussed earlier will stay with viewers for quite a long time.
And the next time that viewer is out to stock up on breakfast cereals, they might pick up the one they saw in the movie. That’s how entertainment marketing can boost sales without even once urging the viewer to buy the product.
2. Great return on Investment
Those who spend much time on social media usually follow many influencers. And if your brand’s target market is teens, we’ve got some numbers for you. Today, 70% of teens have more trust in social media influencers they follow than they have in traditional world-renowned celebrities.
Another thing that makes entertainment marketing different is that it is much more targeted. With this technique, brands do not go to influencers with a significant following and ask them to shoot a video featuring their product.
Instead, it includes celebrity endorsements on YouTube that are much more engaging. And when the focus is on entertainment, it becomes much more interesting than an influencer spelling out features of a product and asking viewers to make the purchase.
3. Studies and Numbers back it up
Brands across the globe have woken up to how effective entertainment marketing can be. And fortunately, there is quite a bit of research to back it up. For instance, a study at the University of Wisconsin found that movie product placements often prove to be much more effective than commercial ad campaigns.
Furthermore, social media users today go to any lengths to avoid ads. They’re even ready to buy subscriptions, just not to be bothered by ads. That’s where entertainment marketing comes in. In this form of marketing, promotional content is part of the content itself. Just like the cereal box example, we gave you earlier.
In addition, the entertainment industry can greatly affect the younger audience’s purchase decision. Especially when it comes to cord-cutters, they’re more likely to be influenced by a product placement or brand integration on their favorite TV show. In fact, 33% of consumers worldwide believe that techniques like product placement are quite effective.
Effective Entertainment Marketing Methods
1. Product Placement
We have already talked about this one. To understand this, just recall our breakfast cereal example. Or you can just recall how Nike did it in the blockbuster Tom Hanks starrer “Forrest Gump”. In fact, that was the perfect example of product placement done right.
But that’s not it. Brands often try a deeper integration rather than just a few seconds of screen time for their products. Let’s take a look at what these brand integrations are.
2. Brand Integration
Brand integrations are a lot more thorough than product placements. In this form of entertainment marketing, the brand gets more than just screen time. It becomes a part of the movie’s plot or the video game it is featuring.
Furthermore, this is done in such a way that it doesn’t adversely affect the entertainment quotient or seem unnatural. Examples of seamless brand integration have been seen several times over the last few years.
Here are some real-life examples of brand integration:
- Coca-Cola sponsored the American Idol TV show, featuring its products prominently in commercials and on the set.
- Nike partnered with the NBA to create branded uniforms and footwear for all teams.
- McDonald’s incorporated popular movie characters like Hello Kitty, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Simpsons into their marketing campaigns and merchandise offerings.
3. Celebrity Endorsements
We live in an age where influencers can expand a brand’s consumer base by millions with just a few posts. And celebrity endorsements on social media are the latest form that entertainment marketing has taken in this day and age.
From micro-influencers to those with millions of followers, finding a brand willing to collaborate is quite common among influencers. The key to these campaigns is that they must be authentic and in line with the celebrity’s field of experience.
For instance, if your product is gaming equipment, you should reach out to a popular gamer who commands a good following and respect in the scene. Remember, the person endorsing your products should be someone your target audience considers to be like themselves.
How to Create a Stellar Campaign?
When devising a marketing campaign in the entertainment context, you must be aware of the exact positioning of your product. Be it a thorough brand integration or just a “verbal” product placement, you should know if it will make sense for your brand to feature there.
Remember, relevance is the keyword here. The mood of the movie should match your brand’s voice, and the campaign shouldn’t look incongruent. Furthermore, you must also analyze the costs involved. After all, product placements can sometimes cost too much.
Ask yourself, is the opportunity appealing enough for you to pump in large amounts of money? If yes, don’t hesitate. But if you’re not too sure, take your time to review other opportunities in the market. Remember, as long as billions of social media users, and binge-watchers are out there, your brand will have many opportunities to generate interest via entertainment marketing.
Go ahead with the campaign only when you’re 100% satisfied and have your goals laid out clearly.
Yes, entertainment marketing can prove to be expensive at times. At the same time, it also holds immense potential for your brand to reach millions of customers worldwide. But most importantly, it is an indirect marketing strategy and offers lots of room for creativity. It is almost like that perfect marketing method that doesn’t look like marketing.
Furthermore, ads will not do the trick anymore in the age of annoyed social media users. That’s why your brand needs to expand its horizons and adapt. And what better way to do that than a highly engaging and authentic entertainment marketing campaign?
Get started today and tap into the global audience waiting to be entertained before it gets ready to make the purchase.
Christian has over ten years of experience in marketing agencies. Currently, he has been dedicating his time to a tech startup and also writing for major publications. He loves podcasts and reading to keep up with the latest trends in marketing.