Here We are Now, Entertain Us!

Content, content, content. It’s all we marketing people seem to talk about these days. But “content” is such a cold word, and it doesn’t say anything about how the human beings consuming the “content” feel afterwards. In fact, content can be used to describe “any information published (and for most parts online, but it certainly doesn’t have to be)”. So using the word content to describe marketing activities is not really helpful. But most importantly, content means nothing to the consumers. Who has ever heard anyone say “that was some great content, I really enjoyed it”? No one, right?

So then what? How do we talk about marketing platforms that engage, inform and connect with audiences? There are only two ways to effectively connect with people, be useful to them or entertain them. I will address being useful in an upcoming post, this one will entirely focus on entertainment. Because there are some truths in marketing (actually in life in general); people will always want to be entertained. Show them something funny, interesting, engaging, relevant, dramatic, action-filled or romantic, and they lean back a bit, smile, tear up, get angry or show some other form of real human emotion. So instead of talking about “content marketing” we should be talking about “entertainment marketing” or just “entertainment”. Right?

There are brands out there doing this well. Starting from one of the very first online video series, the BMW film series “The Hire”, through the Seinfeld/AmEx collaboration and DoCoMo’s Wooden Xylophone ,up to newer work like Volvo Truck’s Epic Spilt/Hamster/Slackline/Look Who’s Driving videos, Always #likeagirl from P&GHigh Speed Cooking from DoCoMo and Honda’s “The Other Side”. There are also some great specialised content out there, for doctors, lawyers, bankers, model car builders, guitar players and pretty much any profession, community, hobby or interest out there.

Unfortunately, most brands get it wrong. They are too desperate to cram their logo or product into the videos, too focused on “what’s in it for us”, rather than “what’s in it for them?”. And therein lies the problem. Entertainment is about stories and emotions, not about brands. It is crucial to find that brand role in the work, obviously it is the goal of the brand to benefit from this. But if you don’t get the balance right, it becomes counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve. When brand dominance is so strong that you can’t follow the story, it is not working. When logos are slapped everywhere, the credibility of the marketing activity is next to nothing – and you’ve wasted all the money producing the content, and end up just turning people away.

Despite all of this, entertainment marketing is a huge opportunity that very few brands in South-East Asia have managed to capitalise on. It offers such a possibility to be creative and relevant – without being flippant or, worse; boring. Most importantly, it gives an opportunity to connect with human beings over something they enjoy. It gives the brand a reason to be present in people’s lives. And it increases the brand credibility, relatability and memorability. So the next time you are thinking about what to do next, maybe ditch that app idea or the 30 second TVC and create something that truly drives engagement. And if you have to see your logo every five seconds, then, oh well, whatever, never mind…

Erik Ingvoldstad is the Founder & CEO of Acoustic.
Follow Erik on Twitter @ingvoldSTAR, follow Acoustic at @AcousticGroupSG
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[Main photo by J3SSL33, under CC]



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