Thursday, September 17, 2015

An Advertiser's New Approach

With less and less people watching live television, advertisers are straining to reach an audience. As long as Netflix is around, we can expect commercials to have diminishing effects on viewers, simply because more and more people are binge watching this commercial-free medium. DVR is also last fault for letting viewers completely skip over commercial breaks. As an avid television viewer, I love the technological advancements that have let me cheat advertisements, but as a future employee of the television world, I know advertisements will keep my job afloat. Our careers run on the finances of advertisers so we have to acknowledge the problem that less people are watching them. So how to fix this issue....

Concepts like product placement and branded entertainment have not been getting the credit they deserve. While not necessarily the most glorious options, these two concepts have found a way to link entertainment with advertising, sometimes without the viewer even noticing. Product placement puts a company's logo or product seamlessly into a scene with an organic touch. Perhaps there is a Coke can sitting in front of Ted Mosby in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. This is great exposure for the brand, and viewers may subconsciously notice it but it doesn't take away from the scene. This could be done during the filming process or even thrown in during post production. Episodes of Friends have been edited to show a box of Oreos on the table while the characters are sitting around it carrying on conversations. This could be much more beneficial for Coke and Oreos rather than a commercial that may never been seen by the viewer. With the reruns of How I Met Your Mother and Friends on Netflix, those are the products you will still see today versus whatever advertisements were played during the commercial break when they aired.

Branded entertainment is a similar concept except that it has much more control than product placement. In branded entertainment, a company will pay a production studio to create the show they desire and will obviously include their brand in a beneficial way. IKEA created a web series, "Easy to Assemble", that generated a lot of buzz and many guest stars, flag shipping this new way of advertising. The main character was an employee for IKEA, so the brand was included but there was a storyline with the characters that was separate from the furniture store. Branded entertainment can be a subtle way to advertise your company while still allowing a lot of creative control with plots and characters, without being overbearing.

If company's can find a way to integrate advertising without distracting the viewers from the content, it could be a win-win for everyone.

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