Saturday, June 13, 2009

Entertainment and Advertising: Are You Talking to Each Other?

I had the chance to read Madison & Vine: Why the Entertainment & Advertising Industries Must Converge to Survive by Scott Donaton. The book has been around for a while (2004), so the thesis as the book title captures is not new, but I was just being introduced to it.

I must admit that he makes a strong argument for the alliance of both industries particularly because of the proliferation of new media platforms, the fact that the power of the consumer to bypass advertising is increasing, the increased competition for the attention of the target consumer, the shortened attention span of consumers, and last, and certainly not least is that corporate budgets are many times over able to afford the production of entertainment content, which is great news for those passionate creatives.

My question then is, how do we take advantage of these developments from our spaces in the Caribbean? I'm sure the folks from Frame by Frame and Cinecom can tell me something about how this has worked in Jamaica and where we need to go. There is no doubt though that from what I have seen there is still a lot of ground to cover in terms of making consumers seek out (pull) "advertisement" rather that having it be pushed at them. Donaton's classic example, which is the most cited example by many writers, is BMW's 8-mini films done in 2001-2002. (I must admit that through the viral spread I had seen some of these videos then, but never quite understood the business behind it then as I do now.)

Of its US$15m budget BMW spent 90% on production and 10% on promotion, a complete reverse of the advertising budget formula. In return, BMW had what turned out to be its most successful campaign up to that point, increasing sales 12.5% in the first year and beating this performance in 2002 and 2003.

The artist Sting and Jaguar had another very successful creative alliance. This was not the first music and business alliance, but its considered a seminal moment where the partnerships moved from mere corporate sponsorships, or an advertiser licensing the use of an artist's song for a commercial. This was because the approach from the start was that Jaguar would be promoting Sting's new album while he promotes their cars - a win win for all concerned.

Its about brand integration (not merely product placement, or brand-sponsored programming) and using the media that your audience use, and sad to say its shifting from the TV set and broadcast radio to platforms like the computer/Internet, gaming and mobile devices. How then are we engaging, both as corporations and creatives?

I'd like to hear from you.

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Anonymous said...

Kam-Au! Excellent post...looking forward to more.

I think in Jamaica/Caribbean because our film industry is not as active...the marriage that you speak off is most event in music videos and in the relationship between companies and various channels of music. Think of Smirnoff Ice and the Ice rhythm, and Red Stripe's long term relationship with Renaissance. Which is sad because there are so many untapped channels.

Here in the states this marriage is much more obvious but I find mostly in the car and mobile industy. Have you seen the latest GM Camero ad...go to the movies and check it out. It's married with scenes from the movie and makes me feel the need to run out and buy one. And remember the D&G Motorola RZR?