When you look at the recent past, it’s hard not to imagine that there wasn’t always a division between the “church and state” of advertising and entertainment content: banner ads, 30 second commercial spots, sponsorship banners on a football field. The perceived agreement with an audience of any sort of entertainment is that you get to watch entertainment for free or for a set price (like a movie or a concert) and you sign up to be bombarded with advertising to either off-set the costs of producing the entertainment or just simply giving more money to the creators of said entertainment.
Although seemingly diametrically opposed, advertising and entertainment have a codependent relationship that requires each other’s existence—entertainment needs money to pay for the creation of the entertainment (pay back investors or to be reinvested in making more entertainment) and the advertisers need the attention of potential customers of their product or service. The fact of the matter is that advertisers and creators of content have always been involved in a seductive, teasing dance with each other trying to figure out better ways of working together to attract and keep people’s attention and ultimately grabbing money of customer’s pockets in a strange, indirect manner. Because advertising and entertainment is in this codependent, at times unhealthy relationship, they seem to rarely work in concert with each other effectively.
Entertainment creators don’t want to be told what to do by an advertiser, they’re creative folks with great ideas and besides, isn’t content king? Whoever has the best (or sometimes just best marketed) content attracts the eyes and ears that advertisers want to have audience with. At least that was the proposition before the birth of Tivo, the internet, options, options, and more options.
Families don’t sit together in front of the radio after dinner listening to the same entertainment like they used to in the early part of the 20th Century. In the 21st Century, people live in homes with the number of TVs sometimes outnumbering the people, PCs, game consoles, you name it, the
When your audience is as jaded and sophisticated as today’s audience—especially the tweens and teens of Generation Y—both advertisers and entertainment creators need to be smart and not overly full of themselves to capture the audience they used to take for granted. The content not only has to be entertaining, it also has to be appropriate to the people the content is put in front of.
Disney was a pioneer of “advertainment” and today they continue to dominate with content where it’s almost impossible to distinguish the entertainment from advertisement of a brand. The “Hannah Montana” TV show pushes sales of “Hannah Montana” CDs, DVDs, dolls, and clothing lines which all combined makes a ticket to a “Hannah Montana” live concert the hottest commodity in live music. As you can see, advertainment done effectively can have a rippling effect that a 30 second commercial plopped in the middle of a TV show would never have.
In my blog, I’m going to be examining the ways in which advertising and entertainment combine (“advertainment”) in order to capture audience attention and convert them into potential customers. The worlds of Madison Avenue and