Why brands are the new studios
As more and more brands produce content, learning the power of entertainment rather than the sell, we get closer to the age of brand storytellers.
Red Bull are the pioneers. Their global production and distribution division is almost as big as the product they sell. Around the world people actively choose to watch their programs and their online channel. If it wasn’t for Red Bull, we wouldn’t have seen the guy jumping from space.
Most brands will say ‘yeah, but we’re not Red Bull’. It’s true, they stand for adventure, which works perfectly in the entertainment space. However, there are hundreds of brands out there who stand for something that works as entertainment. Those who pay big money to be associated with sport could be producing their own product and have sport wanting to be associated with them. Comedy, information, fashion, beauty, gaming, travel, business… there are so many entertainment genres that are there for the taking.
One surprising brand doing a great job of producing their own content is DuPont. Their Horizons program is the second most popular program on BBC World News and is now in its third season. DuPont successfully uses the power of content to work beyond the TV show, maximising the value via their YouTube channel, major touring events turning the content into a major sales tool.
In the US, Ikea funds an A&E Network show Fix This Kitchen. After two seasons viewers have an 86 per cent improved perception of the brand, are 30 per cent more likely to visit the store and 75 per cent more likely to purchase. With this kind of success, why stop at kitchens? Ikea could easily own home and lifestyle entertainment.
Recently Netflix announced it was going to start creating their own content instead of just distributing the content of others. HBO did it, producing some of the finest entertainment in the world. There’s no reason brands can’t do the same thing.
This is where we are heading – the end of traditional ads, traditional studios and production houses where brands create content designed to entertain and engage first, selling second.
Instead of brands sponsoring a show like X Factor or The Voice, they could be creating their own singing competition content for around the same money. The benefit to the audience is ad-free entertainment with just one integrated brand or product message.
Soon there will be no differentiation between ‘internet’ and ‘TV’. Traditional TV advertising will no longer exist and video ads as we know them will die. Brands and companies will become a studio or publisher, and publishers will become brands. Very soon everyone in business will be making original video content. But the time to start is now. In a few years, online video will be exploding at levels that we cannot imagine, and those who have done the hard work, who have worked out what works and what doesn’t, will be producing the entertainment people will turn to.
And they will be turning to you. For human beings are addicted to stories, and need brands – whether they’re Disney, Red Bull or OMO – to tell them good tales.
Greg Logan is co-founder and managing director, Hatch Entertainment.
This feature first appeared in the tablet edition of Encore. To download click on the links below.