Friday, February 7, 2014

The trouble with the law

With the ever increasing amount of brand content being produced in the world today, the fine line between advertising and entertainment needs to be redefined. Advertising traditionally can be easily spotted and separated from entertainment, but what happens when brand starts to behave like a media?

Take Chipotle, which has ventured in brand content before with heartfelt short animations, haunting soundtracks and mobile games, but now they are launching a four episode comedy series on Hulu called "Farmed and dangerous". The series carries on Chipotle´s message of natural farming and will no doubt receive millions of views in the beginning and, depending on the quality of work, millions afterwards.

This brings us to the problem. In many countries, advertising and entertainment has to be clearly separated. In Chipotles case the question is: is this tv-show entertainment or is it advertising? It has all the characteristics of good entertainment. Good actors, director and production value. It also is in the format of entertainment, a TV-show. But, it will eventually advertise Chipotle and it´s products. Making it then, what? Brand content.

The idea of brand content is nothing new. Red Bull has done it for some time and found new sources of income from content and let´s not forget toy industry. Would G.I.Joe and He-Man sold so well if there hadn´t been an animated series for kids for all those years. It would be fair to mention Disney here, but that seems kind of obvious, right?

In all of these previously mentioned cases, the fans get what they want: good entertainment in the form of popular culture. The brands get also what they want. Their message in a form that their customers love and make them spend more. As more brands try their wings in brand content and the line between advertising and entertainment blurs, goverments should rethink their legislation. Not to thighten it, but to create clear rules so that the fans and the brands can both win. It is possible. At least, that´s what I feel watching my old G.I.Joe figures.

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