Like Janet Jackson proclaiming her independence 20 years
ago, brand marketers are
seemingly shaking off the talent agencies and branded
entertainment specialists who’ve cropped up to guide them through Hollywood over the last few years. Advertising Age (subscription required) released
the results of a survey on branded entertainment it conducted among
senior-level executives from blue chip companies.

Some responses:

  • 41% believe that it will be brand marketers—not talent agencies or
         media-buying firms—that drive growth in the branded entertainment
  • 53% reported that “their own internal groups will direct the projects”
  • 53% indicated “they want to create their own content and are willing to
         finance branded entertainment.”
  • Nearly 60% said they will reallocate money towards branded entertainment, while
      nearly 20% will commit additional dollars
  • Reasons for getting involved in branded entertainment:
    • Boosting sales
    • Improving brand image among key consumers
  • 80% indicated a high interested in branded entertainment for the Web
  • 16% have a low interest in deals involving feature films, since they’re not
         convinced that film tie-ins impact consumer behavior
  • 78% indicated the biggest challenge was finding the right content to connect
         with their brands
  • Cost effectiveness still isn’t clear, since most deals remain expensive, as was
         indicated in an earlier study by the ANA.
  • Respondents noted an “increasingly diverse media mix,” and “are spending more on  MySpace.com, mobisodes, blogging, podcasts, in-store media, video games,
         viral campaigns, interactive TV and, of course, product integration.”

Some takeaways:

  1. There is potentially less work for outside dealmakers. We may see branded entertainment shops closing and key people absorbed within brands. I’ve always wondered when brand marketers were going to wake up and realize that, because they have the money, they’ll be able to get content creator on the phone. Of course, t’s taken a few years for them to become savvier in terms of detecting
  2. That said, a big area of opportunity is for those representing/creating projects with a Web—and by extension, I think—mobile component.
  3. As with many things, it’s better to own than rent. Once you control the underlying intellectual property, it’s much easier to exploit.
  4. Tracking and measurement are critical. However, it’s good to see that marketers are gaining comfort with “softer” metrics and that they are understand that their brands have to be part of consumer conversations.

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Posted by Rob Fields