Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Embracing Branded Content

Getting your brand, product, or service noticed is an elusive business.  And in today's digital world, with so many advertising choices and the credibility from social media, breaking through the clutter becomes harder and harder to do.  Programmatic advertising has come along to aid in the efficiency of purchasing advertising and data is the most important component in driving where, when, how and who in ad placement.  But the challenge remains in breaking through the clutter.

General Electric, a former owner of NBC and its collection of broadcast and cable networks, certainly saw that challenge firsthand.  And as an advertiser, GE has chosen the branded entertainment route to drive home its message.  According to today's New York Times, "G.E. aims to create high-quality branded content that will highlight scientific innovation, some of it involving scientists who work for or with the company."  This six part documentary series will be aired on the Nat Geo channel later this Fall.  The plan it seems is not to overwhelm its audience with the GE brand but make it a cohesive part of the program.  "Marketing experts say this turn to branded entertainment is happening because the traditional methods of advertising are outdated and every piece of content, advertising or not, must compete for viewers’ attention."

That this article has already appeared on social media through Facebook and Twitter and that the NY Times chose to report this program as a bigger story certainly helps drive home the GE message. And the timing, just when GE is selling off its capital finance business from its core industrial business, may not be so coincidental.  Certainly we will have to wait and see if this story is revisited prior to the premiere of the broadcast.  Still, it speaks to a growing trend toward branded entertainment as a means to drive brand engagement and value.