Branded Entertainment Needs to Become Both Dynamic and Digital
Traditional advertising isn't working.
PQ Media estimates that global branded entertainment revenues grew at twice the rate of overall advertising & marketing revenues in 2017 to surpass $100 billion for the first time ever, as brand marketers shift their investments to media channels that demonstrate the ability to engage target consumers, create emotional connections and increase sales. Brand marketers have become more critical of digital advertising and marketing channels, following issues related to fake news, ad fraud, placement of ads near controversial content, and the growing use of ad blockers. As we near the end of 2018 every indication shows that these numbers will only have grown. Just as surely so have the concerns.
According to the CEO of BEN, the Branded Entertainment Network; Brand integration has become increasingly important as we have seen a shift in how viewers consume content, with audiences doing everything possible to avoid advertising that disrupts the viewing experience. By 2017, according to eMarketer, around 27% of Americans installed online ad-blockers. Google Chrome has implemented code to block certain online advertisements even though digital advertising accounted for more than 86% of the company’s $111bn revenue in 2017. On the television side, Fox recently announced it would reduce ad time to two minutes per hour by 2020, while NBC Universal pledged to cut the number of ads in prime time programming by 20%.
Current brand integration is expensive and agricultural.
But getting brands into film and television is still achieved by placing physical samples of the product onto the set. When we made our first ever demo in April of this year Ryff showed how we could rotate film captured images of champagne and vodka remotely and on demand. It was a break through and still impressive. Until we made this demo no advertising executive had seen that they could switch out one product for another in a film or TV show by themselves, from their own computer or tablet. Yet we had to collect the products and get them on set. Then film them. To us that made no sense.
The more successful branded entertainment becomes the more products have to be stored, kept up to date and driven from one set to another. Bulkier items take up more room and cars have to be stored, washed and maintained. It seems a very laborious, old fashioned and expensive way to integrate a brand into entertainment. Once filmed the product is also fixed into the content and cannot afterwards be changed except by re filming.
Traditional Post Production is too expensive for digital brand integration.
Of course it is possible to use post production digital effects to recreate branded products. But companies that produce high end photo realistic effects take painstaking steps to do so and these are expensive and time consuming. Even today with the latest computers, it still takes up to 24 hours to render a single frame of a modern film. At 24 frames per second and with a movie length of 1h 44m there are 149,760 frames to render.
Paid watchers are not the answer for delivering viewing stats.
What is more branded entertainment agencies have to employ teams of people to afterwards watch the content to ensure that the brand ended up in the scene as desired. Directors and producers concerned with telling their story may not have the brands wishes and concerns as their first priority. Even when the brand determines the content, the art and story will always take precedence to keep the viewers attention. A small camera pan in the wrong direction may obscure or hide the brand at a critical point.
It doesn't have to be this way. It should not be. Ryff is able to deliver photo realistic, accurately lit and rendered objects to make brand integration both digital and dynamic. Since we can make changes to the object in up to and in real time, brands can always ensure that their products are seen and are relevant. Directors and producers retain control of the art and the story through real time determination of the digital implementation. Products are digital and do not need to be physically stored, delivered or maintained.
Here are some great reasons to adopt dynamic digital brand integration.
1. Product Placement Can Make a Lesser Known Brand Skyrocket
Combining a hit film with a product that has never quite made its mark can be extremely beneficial to marketing teams who are struggling to find ways to create traction. Being able to localize them based on desired demographic and region and or time makes that affordable for the first time. You cannot afford to get into a hit film for all of America so why not bid for just your state or your town?
2. It Can Get Audiences to Associate a Product With a Certain Lifestyle
Decades ago, James Bond famously ordered a martini, "shaken not stirred". Because of that line, moviegoers associated the martini with wealth, opulence, adventure and bravado. In one of the newest incarnations of the James Bond franchise, the current blond-haired, blue-eyed Bond turns down the offer of his signature and drink and opts for a Heineken instead.
Does this mean that the intention was to associate the Heineken brand with that same high-class lifestyle? No, it doesn’t. In this case, it was a strategic way to capitalize on the change in direction for the James Bond character. A beer certainly seems to be a better fit for an edgier and more intense Bond, doesn’t it? But that might make sense for some audiences but not others. With dynamic insertion options are available.
3. Brands Can Form a Symbiotic Relationship With Movie Production Companies
In-film product placement and branding often results in a mutually beneficial relationship between productions houses and corporations. In the example of Reese's Pieces and "E.T.", the Hershey company entered into an agreement with Stephen Spielberg’s production company. They would promote the film in their commercials and on their product packaging. In turn, they would be allowed to place their product in the film. By using dynamic digital insertions that can adjusted and edited on both sides this process can be both delivered quickly and efficiently.
4. It Can Make Audience Members Feel Like Insiders
You’re watching a scene in a movie when for some reason a familiar jingle from a product you know begins playing, or one of the prime characters makes a clever reference to that product. If you catch it, it gives you the sense that you are a bit of an insider, that you are in on the reference. Audiences appreciate that feeling of familiarity and even sentimentality. When personalized to appeal to you specifically this effect is dramatically amplified.
5. Filmmakers Can Earn More Money
Most movie production companies do not rely solely on ticket sales for revenue generation. Instead, they seek multiple income streams from a single film. This includes merchandising, branding partnerships, and in film advertising and branding. For example, a film might earn 45 million dollars in ticket sales. If the filmmakers have also made an in-film advertising deal with a major brand, they could possibly earn another 25 percent of that over and above ticket revenues.
6. Indie Filmmakers Can Use Product Placement to Raise Funds
Independent filmmakers often struggle to get the funding together to launch their filmmaking ventures. In many cases, they are left to cobble together investments from individuals and few organizations that are willing to fund indie film projects. In many cases, even if a film gets made, it never sees the light of day as post-production costs are often too much to overcome. Fortunately, Indie film producers can find new funding opportunities by allowing companies to use product placement and other branding methods in the films they are making. Of course, the specifics of each deal will vary. But easier access to funding thru the use of dynamic digital brand integration opens up funding options to more creators.
As we enter 2019 isn't it time that we brought branded entertainment into the modern world?