Archive for creative

The Intersection of Advertising and Entertainment

The Intersection of Advertising and Entertainment

In today’s dynamic landscape, the intersection of advertising and entertainment offers opportunities for brands to connect with audiences while monetizing creative content. This relationship between advertising and entertainment has become increasingly prevalent, with brands seamlessly integrating promotional messaging into engaging content to captivate audiences and drive revenue. At the heart of this intersection lies the concept of branded entertainment, where brands leverage the power of storytelling and engaging experiences to promote their products or services. From product placements in movies and TV shows to branded content on digital platforms, advertisers are finding innovative ways to align their messaging with entertainment content, creating mutually beneficial partnerships that resonate with consumers. This type of partnership can be seen in the new “Mean Girls” musical movie, where the audience can clearly tell that the film was sponsored by e.l.f. cosmetics. Though there was a lot of online discourse about the partnership being too obvious, both the movie and the brand gained traction from it being heavily talked about. 

One of the key drivers of this trend is the changing consumer landscape, where traditional advertising methods are met with skepticism and ad fatigue. Audiences are turning to ad-free streaming services and ad blockers to avoid interruptive advertising, forcing brands to explore alternative avenues for reaching consumers. When utilizing branded entertainment, advertisers can embed their messaging into entertainment content in a way that feels natural and seamless. By integrating products, logos, or brand references into movies, TV shows, or digital content, brands can increase visibility and exposure while enhancing the overall viewing experience for audiences. In addition, the rise of digital platforms and social media marketing has democratized content creation, allowing brands to become publishers in their own right. From sponsored influencer content to branded web series and podcasts, advertisers are leveraging digital channels to create and distribute content that entertains, educates, and inspires consumers. A brand that does an incredible job at this is Duolingo, an app that teaches language. Instead of paying content creators to promote their app, they became the content creators themselves, posting entertaining video advertisements that promotes their business as a whole, yet doesn’t feel forced. 

The intersection of advertising and entertainment represents a compelling opportunity for brands to connect with audiences, drive revenue, and stay relevant in an increasingly competitive landscape. As brand advertisers are becoming savvy with these options, it is time that direct to consumer advertisers start to do the same. By embracing branded entertainment and monetizing creative content, brands can unlock new avenues for growth, return on investment (ROI),  and innovation while delivering meaningful experiences that resonate with consumers. 

Is the Barbie movie an infomercial or entertainment?

Is the Barbie movie an infomercial or entertainment?

The lines can blur between advertising and entertainment and none more visible than the recent
blockbuster Barbie movie, based on the popular Barbie franchise. The Barbie movie attracted
much attention and hype worldwide, with Instagram advertising, Tiktok advertising, Facebook
advertising, and other forms of advertising on social media. Because of the widespread
popularity of the movie, Mattel is also working with other companies in collaboration, such as
Burger King’s Barbie meal, Crocs’s Barbie products, Gap’s Barbie wardrobe, and other widely
known corporations in cooperation with the launch of the movie. In addition to selling dolls,
there is additional merchandise with the Barbie brand that can be sold thus extending the brand
beyond just movie tickets and into retail and online sales.


As a matter of fact, an article on The 1014 states, “The marketing efforts have been estimated to
cost $150 million, surpassing the film’s production budget.” From a marketing perspective, this
would definitely make the Barbie movie seem like a huge infomercial and a gateway to other
Mattel products. This move did in fact turn out well, as Mattel’s stock prices are “seeing a 20
percent increase.”


Product placement in films and TV has been prevalent for decades. This is where companies pay
producers to hold that particular can of soda in a scene or use that particular luggage or beauty
product, but Barbie has taken this way beyond product placement and into a whole new echelon
of infomercial entertainment or infotainment.


Recent TV shows such as Ted Lasso and Yellowstone have manufactured merchandise to be sold
with the show themes. In fact in the Yellowstone series, actors from the series appeared in
commercials on set and in character pitching brands that align with the demographic of the
audience. Is Yellowstone then a giant infomercial as well?


Is this the beginning of a greater trend toward blending marketing and entertainment? The public
has embraced the movie with over 1 billion in box office sales, so that would indicate yes. So
now it is up to all of us in marketing and advertising to find new ways to blend advertising and
entertainment.

Is less more in video advertising?

Is less more in video advertising?

Video advertising is one of the most effective forms of digital advertising, and has been an
increasingly larger portion of digital advertising. And lately the trend has been to shorter
videos.


Previously, digital video advertisements were generally 30 seconds to a minute long. There are
longer advertisements too, such as direct response tv (DRTV) and infomercials, which can last
two minutes up to 28:30 minutes. But with the recent trends, ads are getting shorter, and can
perform even better than longer video ads. According to Mountain Research, “Six-second ads
delivered 60% of the impact of a traditional 30-second ad” and “15-second ad spots yielded 80%
of the effectiveness of a 30-second ad.”


TV advertising is able to reach a wide demographic of audiences, and performs well in bringing
attention to the brand. Research shows that 15 second ads are about 75% as effective as 30
second ads. In addition, an article from Lever states, “A study from 2020 shows that interactive
CTV ads help marketers achieve a 237% jump in time spent with viewers for 30-second ads.
Moreover, for a 15-second ad, you get a 447% increase in total time with a viewer.” While the
cost for CTV has not yet stabilized and the ROI is not there yet for most DRTV advertisers, the
bridge is being built and early adopters are using this format to communicate messaging and
offers.


TikTok, Facebook and Instagram all cater to specific audiences of certain niches and are used
widely by both small and large direct to consumer marketers leading users to their websites to
purchase products or services directly from them. They take advantage of their social media
algorithms by keeping the users hooked on their video ads in multiple ways. For example, one
way may be to start off with a hook to grab the viewer’s attention, then putting a splash of
condensed information in a short time frame so the viewer has to keep watching the video over
and over again, thus feeding the algorithm and sending more users of that certain audience to be
engaged in the same way and the cycle continues (this is one of the most popular methods of
advertising done through Tiktok). Other forms of social media ads can cater to their audience in
a more formal way, giving a small amount of helpful information about a certain service,
product, or topic to hook the viewer, then dropping the advertisement at the end to follow up
with to buy the product or service.

Advertising products or brands online using short video can be more efficient and reliable to
attract audiences and engagements from them, greatly boosting performance marketing. So
whether it is on TV or in digital, remember when it comes to video, less can be more.

Shifting the Direct to Consumer View of Social Media

Shifting the Direct to Consumer View of Social Media

Social media is widely seen as an online platform to communicate with friends and family, along
with taking in news or sharing moments of one’s personal life. Many people around the world
use these social media apps and websites for such personal purposes, but excessive use can lead
to addictions of the media, causing problems such as “Zombie Scrolling Syndrome” (mindless
scrolling on platforms), depression among younger users due to comparing themselves to people
others who they think are “above them”, taking in misinformation, and even leading to physical
problems such as back pains and eye problems. But this can be a tool rather than a burden and
this engaged audience can be open to positive advertising messaging from direct to consumer
marketers who offer products and services which solve problems.


Mindless scrolling and irrelevant information intake are a huge contrast to what can be achieved
when taking advantage of social media and its power. Instead of worrying about Tom Holland’s
thoughts on becoming Spiderman, think about teaching and learning and entertaining by
advertising properly to certain audiences, creating d2c relevant outreach, forming connections
with people of similar interests/passion, and working with positive promotions for people. All of
these things can be done on social media, and the tools and information necessary are there.
Insights, analytics, campaigns, collaboration are incredibly useful tools which are provided by
social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc.


Using Social media advertising to enhance people’s lives rather than contributing to the zombie
scrolling can contribute beneficially to the consumer in addition to hopefully turning them on to
products and services which can help make their lives better.
Many direct to consumer marketers realize the value of these tools and concepts, and utilize them
to the fullest extent, while also conducting their own research on things relevant to them (e.g.
hashtags, platform algorithms, etc.). Smaller companies can compete with companies many
times their size in social media by simply keeping consistency with things like posting at the
right time, advertising their products to the right audience, collaborating with other business
owners, etc.


In the end, it is the user who chooses how they use social media, whether it’s to benefit
themselves in a variety of ways, or to be swallowed by the media. The tools to enable good
outcomes for all can benefit both consumers and marketers alike.

How Will Streaming Ads Benefit DTC Campaigns?

How Will Streaming Ads Benefit DTC Campaigns?

As the economy worsens and inflation rises, the relationship between audiences and the media they consume has begun to erode and continues to change. Despite the success and growth achieved by some streaming services, US consumers remain unsatisfied when it comes to the perceived value of the services.

A new report from Tivo reveals that 65% of the US public is willing to tolerate commercials on streaming platforms in exchange for free TV services. This number has risen from a previous 43% in 2020 and provides a valuable insight into the consumers’ relationships with video advertising. This increase contradicts the previous actions of many streaming services, such as creating new platforms altogether or adding a ‘premium,’ ad-free service subscription at a higher price. Statistics show that customers are less interested in paying a premium price for ad-free entertainment and would rather pay lower costs with commercials.

What does this mean for advertisers? Well, it’s good news for those utilizing video ad content or those looking to expand their marketing mediums, as the increase in ad space could mean lower costs and higher accessibility and more eyeballs viewing the direct to consumer video advertising. DRTV and infomercial marketers have yet to leap in with both feet on the streaming side, but the more platforms offer advertising options, the higher the chances that the still-high average CPM of $40 to $50 will drop.

This drop would provide direct to consumer marketers with much-needed TV reach that has been continuously eroding on linear TV networks. OTT allows for individualized advertising content on different viewers’ TVs while they watch the same content, ensuring targeted ad delivery and much more efficient ad spend. OTT advertising accounts for 51% of OTT marketing revenues already, and any advancements could contribute to more revenue for both the streaming platforms and advertisers.

Video content consumption is rising in all age ranges and target markets, and streaming platforms are more able to adjust their advertising capabilities to meet the changing needs and trends. The most significant projected increase in streaming video consumption is predicted to be among the 45-54 age group, a prime demographic especially for the DRTV products and services.

Netflix seems to remain in the loop with the ever-changing needs of its audience and has announced that it plans on running ads soon, confirming what many media and TV analysts have been predicting for some time now. This addition could open the doors to many innovations and opportunities for advertisers and streaming platforms alike and continue to shape the direct to consumer advertising industry.

Authenticity Reigns in Production

Authenticity Reigns in Production

One crucial marketing lesson learned during the pandemic was that flashy, glitzy, big-budget production did not necessarily win over the consumer. Another lesson learned was the power of video in all direct-to-consumer, DRTV, and social media outreach.

Authenticity in video communication is a critical factor in earning the customer’s trust and making conversions and sales.

Research has shown that what consumers value above all else are authenticity, transparency, and humanity. This is good news for marketers, especially in the DRTV and direct-to-consumer worlds, as tactics they’ve used for years, including testimonials, are scoring big digital ads. Additionally, it can be kinder to budgets as well. User-generated content, or even content that appears to be user-generated, can also reap huge rewards.

Authenticity will capture peoples’ attention and keep it. People want to watch videos that feel genuine, where it doesn’t feel like a company is immediately trying to sell you something.

The quality of the product and the message behind the ad are most important to consumers, rather than the latest equipment or massive sets. They value integrity and look for shared values between brands and the companies behind them. Avalanche has actually created top-performing ads on multiple platforms this year shot on an iPhone.

According to HubSpot Research, consumers prefer lower quality, “authentic” video over high-quality video that seems artificial and inauthentic.

So the next time you are gearing up for ads, think about content over fluff, authenticity over slickness, and humanity above all.

Boomers: Overlooked by Advertising for Too Long

Boomers: Overlooked by Advertising for Too Long

With the advertising world gravitating to more and more digital plays, many marketers put their focus on Millennials and Gen Z to take center stage as the most valuable consumer groups, but they could not be more wrong.

Although apps like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram have pushed spend for advertising targeting younger age groups, undervaluing Boomers and their potential spending power is a huge mistake.

According to new research from the Federal Reserve, people aged 55+ control 70% of all personal wealth in the US. This often makes them the underdogs of potential target audiences, as they can get overlooked by advertisers wanting to age down their brands in hopes of staying trendy. Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that 56% of new cars are being purchased by older adults, 55% for personal care products, 65% for healthcare, and 68% for home maintenance.

So why are advertiser dollars to Boomers so misappropriated? And how can advertisers leverage their preferences and insights to engage this demographic?

Folks aged 55 plus are also quite digitally savvy. In fact, research has shown that Boomers spend just as much time online as Gen Z. They are also spending more and more of their money online, making them a valuable focus for digital advertisers. In fact, during the pandemic, consumers aged 65 and over became the fastest group of online shoppers, citing data from the NPD Group’s checkout tracking. These consumers spent an average of $1,615 online from January to October 2020, rising by 49% in that year alone. Today, 90% of Boomers shop online, versus 89% in-store, outnumbering Gen Z by almost 20%.

Not only does this very appealing age group purchase online, but they also watch TV, and they actually read. Thus, DRTV offers, print, and direct mail are also very viable advertising vehicles to capture the discretionary spending of this important demographic.

Advertisers have neglected Boomers for far too long. With their collective wealth and vastly underestimated online presence, marketers should allocate appropriate spending to address and engage this hugely valuable consumer segment in all available media outlets.

DTC Marketers: Don’t Ignore TikTok ROI

DTC Marketers: Don’t Ignore TikTok ROI

Hand holding iphone with TikTok opened

Tiktok has been named the fastest-growing social media platform of all time, by Forbes. And no, it’s not just for teens. The app has over 1 billion users of all ages across the globe, making it the most explosive social media app to use and advertise on. 

In fact, according to Backlinko, 31.3 % of TikTok users are over 40.

(Source: Backlinko.com)

Tiktok works using a personalized algorithm, which updates as you view, like, and save content. The app learns your preferences and feeds them directly into your “For You” or home page.

Like Instagram and Facebook, paid content is placed within your feed based on its relevance to you and how the advertisers refine their audience.

TikTok trends can be followed, allowing the potential for advertisers to connect with this massive potential audience in a way that feels authentic to users. Smart use of creative as well as hashtags allow for targeting both behavioral and geographic.

The difference between paid and organic content can be difficult to determine, which is especially great for advertisers. And with less competition than Facebook, clicks can cost up to a third of what they are on other platforms.

This makes TikTok an excellent vehicle for DTC advertisers. Because of Tiktok’s massive reach, ads utilizing lead generation for high ticket items or services allows clients marketing those products or services huge ROI. 

Avalanche CEO Ava Seavey says, “The huge return on TikTok advertising for our clients (one is seeing a 30 to 1 return) are stats I have not seen since 1980’s infomercials. It is the most exciting platform for DTC ROI I’ve seen.”

Here are some helpful tips to consider before utilizing TikTok to advertise:

Don’t only make ads. Make TikToks – This is crucial. If you’re going to make the leap into TikTok, you must be ready to produce content that feels native to the platform. Don’t just use existing content from Facebook and Instagram Stories. Slideshows, static images, and slick content are automatically detected as advertising and decrease viewer interest.

Song/sound selection – The use of songs and sounds matters more on TikTok than on any other platform. Another great benefit as opposed to Facebook/Instagram where most users view with the sound off. TikTok users watch with sound.

(Source: Backlinko.com)

Regarding influencer culture on the app, TikTok has an engagement rate of 5.30% on accounts with over 100,000 followers, compared to 1.10% for Instagram and 0.30% for Twitter. It has quickly become one of the main avenues for influencers and micro-influencers to recommend products through testimonial-style videos, Amazon Marketplace affiliate link programs, as well as trendy, creative, or niche videos of any kind.

(Source: Backlinko.com)

The app’s fast-paced nature keeps its users engaged for relatively long periods. With an average session length of 10.85 minutes, it has become the most engaging social media app out today. (Source: Backlinko.com)

For DTC marketers who may be experiencing declining ROI on Facebook, TV, radio, Amazon or other avenues, TikTok can bring you immediate sales and leads and if you get out there before your competition does, you will have even better results.

Buy Now, Pay Later Levels Playing Field

What BNPL is, and how it affects DRTV and DTC

BNPL Buy now pay later online shopping concept.Hands holding mobile phone

The explosion of e-commerce has not only changed the way we buy but how we pay. When the pandemic hit and millions of users flooded to online retailers, several already-existing businesses and ideas were thrown into full gear as they gained popularity. Buy Now, Pay Later, or BNPL, is an installment loan utilized by many online retailers today. With Klarna, Afterpay, Affirm, or simply retailers offering their own plan, BNPL allows consumers to make a purchase and receive it immediately while paying for it over time through a series of installments.

Some plans can come with interest and late fees, but some charge neither. Pricing and plan information varies from company to company.

Allowing a consumer to pay over time can dramatically alter the consumer landscape for marketers. It will give those with poor credit or lack of credit card funds an opportunity to purchase impulse products advertised to them. It also gives marketers a chance to close more sales at minimal risk.

Data shows that consumers buy more when they can pay over time. BNPL gives companies a much wider reach and the ability to expand their target audiences further.

BNPL Buy Now, Pay Later Written on Green Key of Metallic Keyboard. Finger pressing key.

A recent survey found that 1 in 5 U.S. consumers used a BNPL service in the 12 months ended Aug. 20, 2021, and only 1 in 6 of them regretted doing so. 

While this is a boon for marketers with higher price point items, full disclosure of terms is mandatory. In December 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced an inquiry into BNPL, expressing concern about “debt accumulation, lack of regulation, and data harvesting.” The regulator is concerned that borrowers are accumulating too much debt and that consumers’ personal data could be misused.

Last month, the agency demanded information from a handful of the industry’s most prominent players, including Klarna and Afterpay. 

This inquiry notwithstanding, the BNPL option has opened up an excellent opportunity for higher price point items and allows credit-challenged consumers to have an equal playing field for products that otherwise may have been out of reach.

Is Social Media the New Infomercial?

Beauty blogger demonstrating how to make up and review products on live broadcast use smartphone, life of an influencer

“Coming out of brand advertising, I was mesmerized by achieving instant sales when I started doing infomercials over 20 years ago. Now with some of the new social platforms, I am even more excited by the metrics, measurements, and immediacy in creating leads and sales. And that is why I believe that these digital platforms are transforming to become the new infomercial, especially for Gen Z and Millennials, which has been a tougher market to reach on traditional TV.” Ava Seavey, Avalanche

When it comes to creating compelling ads that inspire immediate consumer response, sometimes tried and true methods reveal themselves, amongst new trends and technologies, to be the real champions in selling. As plethoras of new platforms, products, brands, and trends pave the way for changes in the effectiveness of digital ad types, new research has shown that aspects of the traditional infomercial are working their way into social media ads, and they’re working!

With apps like TikTok and Instagram that feature predominantly visual content, consumers are turning to spokesperson videos, product demos, influencer content-creation, unboxing, and social proof videos to inform their buying decisions. Out of the top seven social media advertising formats, these six are all classified as Infomercial formats. What does this tell us?

Consumers want information. Recent studies show that the #1 thing consumers want from online advertising is product info, across all age groups. Many buyers prefer the demonstrative aspect to infomercial-style ads, feeling more comfortable trusting them because they provide adequate information and thus purchase motivation. 

It will be interesting for advertisers everywhere to see in what other ways traditional advertising bleeds its way into the new digital age, and sometimes, as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”