Branded Entertainment: Past, Present, and Future

Branded Entertainment: Past, Present, and Future

José Martí-Parreño (European University of Valencia, Spain), Carla Ruiz-Mafé (University of Valencia, Spain) and Lisa L. Scribner (University of North Carolina, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8342-6.ch001
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Abstract

Branded entertainment is the insertion of a brand within an entertainment property in such a way that the line between entertainment and advertising becomes blurred (Moore, 2006). This hybrid message develops in an increasingly convergent environment in which editorial content and advertising content are blended (Shrum, 2004). This indirect approach to deliver brand messages is gaining momentum as a marketing communications tool to engage consumers with brand messages in a non-interruptive and entertainment context. By using branded films, advergames, and other advertainment-type genres, advertisers aim to enhance consumers´ brand perceptions, brand awareness, brand recall, and brand recognition, along with increasing consumers´ brand attitudes and purchase intentions while providing value to consumers through brand communications. This chapter gives an overview to branded entertainment from an historical approach, analyzing the origins, conceptualization, and genres of branded entertainment. Ethical concerns and legal issues related to branded entertainment are discussed. New trends in branded entertainment are also analyzed.
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1. Introduction

Branded entertainment is the insertion of a brand within an entertainment property in such a way that the line between entertainment and advertising becomes blurred (Moore, 2006). Branded entertainment is gaining momentum as a promising marketing communications tool in an increasingly convergent media environment in which editorial content and advertising content are blended (Shrum, 2004). Through branded entertainment brands aim to engage consumers with their brand messages in a more compelling and effective way. Brands are using branded entertainment strategies to achieve their marketing communication goals within an entertaining experience in a new media context where both media changes and consumer behavior changes are transforming in a radical way how brands communicate with their audiences. Advertising clutter, consumer empowerment (Denegri-Knott, Zwick, & Schroeder, 2006), information technologies, and new technological developments (e.g., smartphones and tablets) are not only changing the way consumers access and interact with brand information but also the way they want to engage with brand communications. In this context, the need for value is a must have in today´s marketing communications and branded entertainment is a good way to provide value to consumers within brand communications.

Despite an increasing interest in branded entertainment by both marketers and consumers, branded entertainment is not new and its roots can be found in the very beginning of mass media such as cinema, radio, and television. Branded entertainment includes a wide range of formats such as advertainment, branded events, branded films, or branded video games –advergames- (Russell, 2007; van Reijmersdal, Rozendaal, & Buijzen, 2012; Waiguny, Nelson, & Terlutter, 2012; Martí, Aldás, Currás, & Sánchez, 2013). By providing entertainment value, advertisers aim to engage consumers in richer and more meaningful brand communications that will improve outcomes such as brand recall, brand preference, or brand engagement (Martí, Bigné, & Hyder, 2014).

Despite an increasing interest by academia on branded entertainment a few theoretical research has been done in order to better understand what branded entertainment is; in which way branded entertainment differs from related marketing communications tool such as product placement; or which ones are the main benefits and hazards that branded entertainment can imply for brands and their marketing communications. In order to gain a better understanding of thess key issues, this chapter aims to present a conceptualization and historical perspective of branded entertainment highlighting the key elements that made the rise of branded entertainment as a marketing communications tool possible. In doing so, we provide a definition of branded entertainment, we then analyze the historical presence and evolution of branded entertainment in different media such as cinema, radio, and television; and we present new trends and opportunities for branded entertainment in the future –such as transmedia branding and user-generated-content. Finally, we provide an analysis of the legal framework and the ethical concerns that are challenging the development of branded entertainment as a marketing communications tool in the future.

The chapter’s specific goals are to:

  • (i)

    Provide a conceptual approach to branded entertainment.

  • (ii)

    Provide an historical analysis of the evolution and formats of branded entertainment across different media.

  • (iii)

    Provide trends and future opportunities to develop brand communications through branded entertainment.

  • (iv)

    Provide an analysis of the legal framework and the ethical concerns related to branded entertainment.

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