Entertainment. Information. Content. Advertising.
As marketers and public relations practitioners, those are our wares. They swirl around in our world to varying degrees. We draw on strategy and creativity and, at the end of the day, use all these things to influence consumers to make choices that result in sales for our clients.
I read an interesting article from AdvertisingAge titled, “How HSN and ‘Eat Pray Love’ Turn Content Into Commerce.” Home Shopping Network is apparently going to capitalize on the popularity of the upcoming film and New York Times bestselling book it’s based on, and create ties between their products and the film’s themes/content.
The article is an interesting case study on how media companies are partnering with advertisers to use branded entertainment across multiple channels to make money. But it falls short, in my opinion, by keeping advertisers and media companies in their own separate boxes.
As communication channels open up and multiply, I think businesses and their agencies must take on the role of both advertiser and media producer for their brands. We’ve already seen Old Spice do this with their “Old Spice Guy” campaign. In the case of HSN, they are creating a sort of hybrid of infotainment, advertising, and sales/marketing, which is an interesting model, but one not all companies and their brands can pull off.
The point to draw between the Old Spice, Brand-as-content-producer model and the HNS/Eat Pray Love model is this: audiences are no longer impressed by pretty pictures and witty messaging. Countless outlets are demanding their attention and, as a result, their purchasing discretion is only growing. These audiences do, however, access a multitude of communication channels and consume diverse content. And that’s where I believe opportunities await for companies/agencies/brands to create engaging content that not only informs and entertains consumers, but motivates them to make purchases as well.
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