This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Branducers: a case study
Product placement and integration has single-handedly made a place for itself in our favourite TV shows, ﬁlms, and video games. Brands want to be part of TV programming in order to control what its audience (and potential consumers) are...well... consuming. As a producer the brand does not only have control of the products it places and integrates into a show, but what the show is about. Essentially, the brand producing the show can write the entire series to revolve around its brand as well as the product(s) and service(s) it offers. The following three (brief) case studies will illustrate and exemplify the new producer in the entertainment industry.
Composed by: Alina Kulesh @alinakulesh
1 first response
First Response Pregnancy (Church & Dwight co.) and TLC.com teamed up in April 26 2010 with the mission to document the experience of six women attempting to conceive. The series allows all of these women to document their own personal experiences in the form of video. The series main distribution channel is online. A Conception Story on tlc.discovery.com houses each episode--that closely resemble a vlog post--along with proﬁles of the participants and the featured doctor, links to the women’s blogs, and various resourceful links regarding pregnancy and child birth. The message is clear: if you want to be pregnant, tlc.discovery.com is the place to be. Most importantly, the logo and the products of First Response are in multiple locations on the web site. Maybe TLC does view First Response as the leader in at-home pregnancy detection, but the web series’s heavy emphasis on the product has a lot to do with the fact that First Response is the producer of this show. Each webisode begins with an advertisement for First Response Pregnancy and Ovulation tests. The women talk about and endorse the product through out their vlogs. The web site, that is in the same pink hue as the brand’s packaging, is heavily decorated with First Response logos and ads. The webisodes have the look of a home video and are not glossy prime-time TV shows. They are accessible 24/7 and can be paused and rewound whenever and wherever. First Response’s web series A Conception Story, reaches out to their target consumers through the form of “entertainment”. 1
1 Newman, Andrew Adam. "Advertising - Pregnancy Test Maker Finds Opportunity in Personal Stories - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 02 May 2010. Web. 10 June 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/03/business/media/03adco.html>.
2 feet to head
Skechers USA Inc. announced on June 14 2010 that they will be including a free (preview) DVD of their animated TV series, Zevo-3, into one million kids shoe boxes for back-to-school.2 Established in 2009, Sketchers Entertainment has been striving to engage its audience with their product on a deeper level than just through purchase. Zevo-3 is said to air in Fall 2010 on Nicktoon; it is a 2D animated series with 3D CGI effects staring “3 Heroes...2 Cities...1 World”3 . Vice President of Creative Development, Kristen van Cott, is more than comfortable with the idea of participating in branded entertainment: We will leverage the marketing and promotional power of the SKECHERS brand at retail to raise the visibility of Zevo-3 in a truly impactful way...This promotion will generate brand awareness among the exact audience we need to reach. We are conﬁdent this will result in enhanced viewership once the series takes to the airwaves. Besides wearing really ‘cool’ shoes, the Superheroes of Zevo-3 will face adolescent inspired challenges of ‘identity’ and ‘belonging’--in hopes that their consumers will be able to relate. In terms of distribution channels, Skechers Entertainment plans to host its TV show on a network that is accessable only through Television. However, the TV show will also be accompanied by an interactive web site full of games and character proﬁles. Skechers recognizes the importance of having an online presence, as well as extending content beyond the tube and onto the web.
“Zevo-3 Sneak Preview DVDs To Be Distributed In Skechers Shoe Boxes." AWN | Animation World Network. 14 June 2010. Web. 13 June 2010. <http://www.awn.com/news/cartoons/zevo-3-sneak-preview-dvds-be-distributed-skechers-shoe-boxes>.
3 food porn
Unilever Global recently launched a campaign that also involves social media and webisodes. Premiering on Oscars night, Unilever launched their new campaign “Italy is Served”; a major portion of this campaign is a mini webseries titled “Into The Heart of Italy”. Unlike the previous examples in this case study, Unilever decided to feature Blist personalities -- Rocco DiSpirito, Marisa Tomei, and Dan Cortese -- in their web series. The camera follows Rocco, Marisa, and Dan on six adventures across Italy in hopes of ﬁnding the secret to Italian cooking using Bertolli (Unilever’s frozen-food product). Gaston Vaneri, the coordinator behind the show, describes this series as a cross between The The Amazing Race and Top Chef; each episode the trio is given a challenge that they must overcome. “Into the Heart of Italy”, which launched on May 14 2010, strives to fulﬁll a cinematic experience--the ﬁlming is glossy and the locations are carefully chosen. Vaneri points out that the series illustrates the excitement of Italian cooking, but, “The only problem is that Italy is 6,000 miles from where you are and you need to go to work tomorrow. Luckily, you have Bertolli in your freezer and it can replicate that experience for you in 12 minutes.” 4 The three celebrities, food challenges, and Italy aside, the web series is purely about Bertolli. While watching the web series, the viewers’ excitement and hunger increases, by having Bertolli at their ﬁnger tips they are able to satisfy their craving for both food and the experience of Italian cooking. Naturally “Into the Heart of Italy” is hosted on a very interactive web page. It includes photographs from the trip, behind-the-scenes footage, the proﬁle of the three celebrities, and a Travel Guide that marks the numerous featured places in Italy. Unilever is going beyond the standard commercial--they are attempting to engage their audience on a deeper level.
"Why Bertolli Is Using Webisodes to Promote Frozen Dinners." Online Marketing | Branding | CMO | Marketing News | Chief Marketing Ofﬁcer. 4 Mar. 2010. Web. 15 June 2010. <http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/packaged-goods/e3ic70c834af0ab2460d68136e7ec111a49>.
It is exempliﬁed that the preferred channels of Branded Entertainment are those of TV, social media, and web series. Why? These are the distribution channels that are able to reach the target audience the quickest and cheapest. The production for a web series such as “A Conception Story” is a lot cheaper to produce than a feature ﬁlm. Additionally, TV shows, web sites, and social networks are the three mediums that are heavily used by society; these three channels are extremely accessible and promote “connectivity”, “community”, and “engagement”. Therefore, a brand can reach out to its community through a relatively cheap and fast method, while providing some sort of entertainment. The blurring of “sell” and “entertainment” makes the brand campaign seem less threatening, essentially taking a more indirect and perhaps “friendly” approach in selling to the consumer. One major thing to note is the fact that these three case studies deal with: a.) family building, b.) children, c.) cooking. All of which are stereotypically “female” interests. Of course men may (and do) ﬁnd these topics interesting. However, watching and being entertained still heavily relies on TV programming as family time. Brands have realized that although the distribution channels of TV programming have evolved, its viewership environment has not.
*Major Thank you to: Sidney Eve Matrix (@sidneyeve) and Ryan Turner (@ansinanser) for their magniﬁcent resources and encouragement.