Incorporating brands into entertainment content is the latest mode of brand promotion. Some believe it is the sure-shot way to connect with the modern day consumers who skip channels when a break comes. By intelligently integrating brands into the product content, the chances of consumers missing it are quite low. With brand incorporations happening all around in all forms of entertainment vehicles, it raises the question of accountability, quality and reliability of content. The accountability aspect was discussed in the first panel discussion of the evening at the BE Summit 2006, held in Mumbai recently, while the second panel discussion dwelled on the latter topics.
The evening started with a presentation by Neelo Faruqi, Senior VP-USA, IAG Research, describing the development of a unique system by IAG for measuring audience impact of brand placements in entertainment content. The system, useful for TV stations as well advertisers, uses a comprehensive online survey to record the measurements. She concluded her presentation by quoting some key findings on branded entertainment, which the company had collected over the years.
The first panel discussion was on ‘Brass Tacks – Accountability in Branded Entertainment’. Moderated by Meenakshi Madhvani, founder of Spatial Access, the panel included Neelo Faruqi, Navin Shah from P9 Integrated, Sanjay Bhutiani of BR Films, Darshana Bhalla from MATES, and Pavan Chawla, Editor of ‘Impact’ magazine.
The panelists’ introduction revolved loosely around the aspect of accountability in branded entertainment, but moved further to discuss the various aspects of good and bad branded entertainment products.
In his introduction, Shah maintained that “Good programming content will get good advertisements and brand integrations.” Bhutiani cited the brand association of Coca-Cola and ‘Yaadein’ as a benchmark in ‘What not to do in In-Program advertising’ and also said, “Seamless integration of brands in the entertainment content is required for them to be successful”. While Faruqi added that a personal and emotional theory is important in ‘in-program’ advertisements.
Talking on the accountability factor of measurement products, like the one developed by IAG Research, which relies on the Internet for data collection, Chawla said, “They will not be suited in India as most of the target group is housewives and they do not have access to the Internet.” The panelists ended the discussion on a consensus that branded entertainment should be embedded in a positive and diligent manner as the reverse rarely succeeds.
The next panel comprised Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison India; Paritosh Joshi from STAR India; Rahul Welde of HLL; Hemant Malik from ITC; Julie Petersen of Media e2e, while moderator for the discussion was Pradeep Guha, CEO of Zee Telefilms.
Guha opened the discussion with his explanation of ‘Implicit’ and ‘Explicit’ advertising in Pure News, Infotainment and Pure Entertainment. He stressed on the point that advertising should never be camouflaged, as then the credibility of the content went down. Coming on next, Joshi explained, “Brands with rich meaning or vocabulary succeed. Brands are just about character and character is how a brand builds vocabulary for itself.” He referred to the example of ‘Bournvita Quiz Contest’, which built the character of the brand through its association with the programme that started as a radio quiz show.
Balsara mentioned a branded entertainment example which was used in some old Hindi feature film, where a character asks specifically for a ‘501 Soap Bar’ using hand gestures. He feels that in those days, close and intimate relationships with film industry people did the trick. But these days, branded entertainment has gone on to a level where commercial value is attached to every form of branded entertainment. According to him, “Branded Entertainment is not about brand exposure, but about brand building.”
Countering this, Bhalla argued, “In this age, only brand building will not do the trick, but brand exposure is equally required to get the desired results. And, a good media plan is vital in brand building.” Taking this further, Malik added that creating entertainment content especially for the brand would help in brand building, and it would make the consumer want to buy the brand.
The BE Summit 2006 was presented by Media e2e and Rizvi Management Institute.