'Branded entertainment' has been an age-old phenomenon in the entertainment industry though it may seem like an emerging concept, said Ashutosh Srivastava, CEO, GroupM. "While we have seen this in the 60's in the soap operas, in the film industry it has always existed as an organised business of supplying props although today we have only complicated the concept," said Srivastava in the 'Branded Entertainment' session at FICCI FRAMES.
Explaining that irrespective of the term used, whether it was integrated product placement or in-programme product placement - the benefits accrued are the same. "The association with a top rated show is positive brand advantage along with breaking through the clutter. For the broadcaster, too, it brings the advantage of not just additional revenue stream but also helps beat traditional commercial restrictions."
He added that unlike other countries where the legalities on branding content is clear like in the US where it is allowed and forbidden in the UK, in Asia there are no rules. Throwing more light on the Indian experience, he said, "Product placement has proved to be more effective. The Indian viewer hasn't shown irritation on brand placement and the results of any such initiative has shown higher brand recall. Of course, all said, the content has to be compelling in its own right."
Srivastava showed four case studies for the benefit of the audience with different approaches to brand placement, ranging from American Express, Sears to Lux. The bottomline: Without engaging content, one wouldn't be selling anything. This is where the next speaker, Rajat Jain, MD, Disney took the session forward.
Moving from the example of Korea's telecom player S K Group's 'Be The Red' campaign to Joe Boxer and bringing out Disney's initiatives with Kellogg's, computers and finally the BMW films, Jain demonstrated the various ways where the key was to have an entertaining idea.
"We are steadily moving to an age where the 30 second ads days are gone and we have to move from ways where the audience interrupted to the audience being engaged," said Jain.
Jain concluded his session with establishing that the media industry was fast moving from the 4 P's to the 4E's- engage, experience, enhance and emotion. "It is all about involving the target in the message," he said.
Branded entertainment is definitely one subject where advertisers bring in 'intelligent' conversations. While even in the Indian context, the phenomenon is gaining momentum, whether this will be the mode of the future is still too early to see.