Branded entertainment is a valuable form of content marketing to engage your audience. But like viral marketing, branded entertainment is not always easy to create and execute well. Some companies seem to just “get” branded entertainment, and have created lasting, popular entertainment franchises that support their successful businesses. Here are some examples of branded entertainment done right:
In 2014, the classic toy brand LEGO released The LEGO Movie, which has been a hit. The LEGO Movie succeeds where others have failed for several reasons – it is well-made, has a meaningful, exciting plot, and it has “heart.” And, of course, the movie has enjoyed natural appeal because so many children enjoy the classic toy, and it has nostalgic value to adults.
My Little Pony
My Little Pony started out as a toy brand, but its branded entertainment has been so successful that the company has become as focused on the entertainment aspect of its company as on the toy itself. The recent My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic television revival has been wildly popular, even gaining a cult following among young adults. Like LEGO, My Little Pony has achieved an impressive amount of longevity, becoming a mainstay toy for two generations – even after a period of hibernation.
The Vans Warped Tour, a music and extreme sports festival, has been a mainstay of the summer music scene for decades. It bills many of the biggest bands each year, as well as dozens of up-and-coming artists. One thing Vans does quite well with its Warped Tour is targeting its primary audience with its branded entertainment.
Procter & Gamble
Procter &Gamble Entertainment, the entertainment branch of Procter & Gamble, puts on the People’s Choice Awards each year, a voting entertainment awards show that allows audiences to vote for their favorite actors and musicians. The People’s Choice Awards gets a great deal of viewership and media attention each year.
These companies all go different directions with their branded entertainment, but they all have a few things in common:
- Targeting their primary audience – The LEGO Movie targets families and children. The target audience of My Little Pony’s Friendship Is Magic is young girls. The Vans Warped Tour targets young people interested in alternative music and extreme sports. The People’s Choice Awards targets the average consumer. These companies don’t waste time making branded entertainment for groups outside their primary audience.
- Consistent messaging – Each of the pieces of branded entertainment explored here has consistent, distinctive messaging that sets it apart from the crowd.
- Not self-serving – No matter how much you want your branded entertainment to have an impact on your marketing efforts, it’s important to avoid being self-serving with your efforts. Each of the companies above knows that when you’re providing entertainment, your main role is to act as an entertainer – not a salesperson.
Not every company should or can start a multi-million dollar branded entertainment franchise, but any company looking to use multi-platform marketing can learn from these important lessons.
This post was originally published on the One Smooth Stone blog on April 8, 2014. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing email@example.com