Monday, September 2, 2013

All brands should be Lost

The idea of broadcasting is deteriorating as more entertainment is distributed online and that is making an impact on advertising too. TiVo and other digital recording services offer viewers the option to skip the commercials and watch the content they want at whatever time suits them the best. Netflix has started to created their own content and are releasing it all at once to indulge binge-watching, without commercial breaks. And the experience doesn´t stop anymore to television. Shows like `Lost` let the viewers explore the islands twisted history in an online game, making the engagement more deeper. Creative storytelling has evolved into transmedia engagement where every channel takes the story forward in a way that best suits the media as well as consumers mindset.

So what happens to advertising in the middle of all this? Unfortunately brands still rely on the strategy of disturbing. Instead of continuous flow of entertainment, we get steady stream of bland commercial breaks that keep us from the conclusion of the season finale. None of the brands seem to bring anything more to my TV-experience or deepen the engagement. They just want to ram their message down my throat instead of adding value to the content. The same can been seen in almost every channel. Take in-game advertising for example. Ever so often we see brands trying to engage the fans by painting their logo inside the game or better yet, showing static banner ads while i´m trying to make a high score. Brands have a lot to learn from shows like `Lost`.

A part of the blame seems to be the advertising industry. Instead of creating engaging brand content worth the consumers time, the toolbox seems to have the same tools that were used in the 50´s (yes, there is a thing called internet, but all the banner ads are just animated prints). Same formats, same messages, none of the engagement. No connection to the consumers current mindset, motives or the media they are consuming.

But a change is coming. Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry is forced to find new revenue streams because of the declining DVD markets and the ever growing piracy. The same time brands need to start creating relevant content that engages the consumers, not just in the traditional media and not just in a traditional format. The entertainment industry has the tool box needed for deeper engagement. The IP´s, writers, directors, producers, channels, game studios and so forth. The only thing keeping them from devouring the advertising industry is their lack of knowledge and experience in traditional brand managing, but that is changing too. Couple of good recruitments will do the job. First indications can be seen in collaboration between Ridley Scott and Coca-Cola or the whole media business of Red Bull. I know, it´s easy to refer to Red Bull and yes, there are no other benchmarks, but that also tells us something. It´s possible to make money with brand content and few brands are doing it.

But it doesn´t have to be a match between Hollywood and brands, since most of the local brands can´t afford it and they already produce content - just not in a way that engages consumers. Take food industry for example. Every food brand produces hundreds of recipes every year, have their chefs, web sites and YouTube channels and appear in TV almost every night. To me, that sound like a framework for a hit cooking show and this would also have the products to back it up.

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