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.
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.
How might the SAG-AFTRA Actors Strike affect advertising?
The SAG-AFTRA Actors Strike began on July 14, 2023. They joined the WGA writers, who went on strike on May 2, 2023. Both guilds are striking against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which cover film and TV, including streaming.
Central to the SAG-AFTRA, 160,000 members are demanding increases in pay, revising compensation for residuals primarily on streaming, as well as the major concern of AI replacing their jobs and responsibilities.
Ron Currie, a striking screenwriter, sums up the mood felt by all with his statement, “I don’t need a cut of Netflix executives’ stock compensation. What I need — what I demand — is that they treat me and the people I love as though our lives and labor are every bit as significant as theirs.” The strike has effectively shut down Hollywood productions as well as theatrical and TV production in other cities.
While the contracts do not affect advertising, there could potentially potentially be a positive impact on advertising on both TV and digital advertising in which actors would participate. To start, more actors would be available for ads as they are not tied up on movies or TV, and they might be able to work at more competitive rates. Smaller marketers, DRTV marketers and others that perhaps could not afford celebrity or high priced talent could find those doors opened. The availability of top crew is also a bonus for smaller projects.
DRTV, CTV, infomercials, direct response TV, etc. could have more ease in negotiating with these actors. It’s could be a win-win for both the advertising/digital industries and the actors on strike, as well as the crews and other vendors who normally service the TV and Film industry.
It also may create a more favorable climate for TV rates as many brand marketers may not want to pay top dollar to run ads on re-runs and reality TV shows only. Thus, the lower rates could also help performance marketers and DRTV products to achieve better ROI on TV buys.
With the thorny issues of AI and streaming royalties being complex hurdles to overcome, the predictions are for a long strike and thus time for DRTV and other direct to consumer marketers to take advantage when they can of wider pool or actors, more depth to crews and potentially lower media rates. Turning lemons into lemonade is something all can get behind.
Everybody knows the social media platforms Instagram and Twitter. For most people, everybody that knows these apps also know their owners Mark Zuckerberg (Instagram) and Elon Musk (Twitter). Recently, a new app developed by the Instagram team has been brought to light, called Threads, which functions exactly like Twitter, but obviously with its own differences to avoid copyright. The reason for its creation is due to the “fall of Twitter”, as Elon Musk has made many huge changes to Twitter since he purchased it including restrictions on certain things (e.g the Tweet View Limit) and additions of widely unwanted or controversial features such as the ability to purchase verification marks. From the purchase of Twitter until now, Twitter has lost 66% of its value, meaning Twitter has gone from being worth $44 billion to $15 billion. Many people say that Twitter was “ruined” because of Elon, causing hate and controversy surrounding him. This negative change in Twitter heavily impacted its users, especially the users that use Twitter for business or growth. With the decline of active users on Twitter, digital advertising, digital marketing, and even things like TikTok advertising and Facebook advertising on the Twitter platform is much more challenging. Users required an alternative for this dwindling app, and that’s where Threads comes in.
Threads was developed as an alternative for Twitter, gaining immense attention and popularity in the media, in fact, 100 million Threads users joined the app in less than a week of its release, and there isn’t even any CTV advertisements or infomercials to advertise this app, the only advertisements that exists for Threads is by users encouraging other users to join it or from notifications and features about Threads on the Instagram app. Because of the rising number of users on this app, there is an extremely large potential for business such as new forms of social media marketing or video advertising. Since this Twitter-like app was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, it has brought Elon’s attention, which sparked tension between the two social media leaders. Elon called out Zuckerberg for his new app and threw shade at him, saying vile things like “Zuck is a cuck” and even filing a lawsuit against Meta for “poaching ex-Twitter employees to create the ‘copycat’ app.” Zuckerberg is aware of this as well, and even agreed to participate in a cage fight proposed by Elon.
The Threads app grows more and more popular by the day, and so does the tension between Elon and Zuckerberg. The competition between these two big leaders is certainly something the media is unable to ignore.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The global pandemic sent some advertising categories soaring while bringing others to a screeching halt. OTC (Over-the-counter) healthcare spending has surged after increased demand for healthier practices and health awareness brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumers are more aware and concerned about their health than ever before. The disruption of traditional OTC distribution channels has opened up countless possibilities for DRTV, infomercial, and digital advertising to promote health products.
Dietary supplements and nutraceuticals are enjoying steady market growth. This market was worth $353 billion in 2019 according to Grand View Research. There were over 70,000 published articles in PubMed between 2010 and 2020, further validating the benefits of highly studied, powerful ingredients contained in dietary supplements.
To illustrate consumer demand for nutritional supplements, sales increased 5% in 2019 and over 44% in 2020. Consumers are, more than ever, becoming proactive about their health, both from a preventative and restorative standpoint.
Direct-to-consumer advertising of benefits for clinically studied nutritional supplements could be huge for marketers in 2022 and beyond.
The OTC game has changed entirely, and consumers today are more comfortable purchasing OTC products online than ever before, creating new opportunities for growth in advertising, brand awareness, and performance. Pharmacies and supermarkets also face added competition from these online retailers, as they can provide personalized, meaningful content and real-time information, making for a better user experience altogether.
After two years of double-digit rating declines, many in the industry are questioning the longevity of traditional television advertising in all lengths, both long and short form DRTV. If there’s one thing everyone in the DRTV industry can agree on: 2020 changed everything. During the pandemic’s first waves, advertisers, like so many others worldwide, were uncertain or scared about the future. The pandemic may have led to unprecedented change, but many underlying trends began long before COVID-19.
Today, the gap between those who view streaming services as an addition rather than a replacement and those who only use streaming services is quickly closing. According to an MRI-Simmons study, the two percentages went from 55% and 45%, respectively, to 51% and 49%. 5.5 million households also canceled pay-TV services offered by the top five providers last year, compared to 5.8 million in 2019. More than 4 in 5 households subscribe to at least one video-on-demand service. Respondents who made the switch to streaming only or plan to do so report that their main reason for doing so is to watch streaming services instead. A quarter of the respondents said that their TV packages are too costly and blamed prices. More than 43% of respondents claim streaming is the more cost-effective option.
These shifts are causing similar waves within advertiser spending, with companies beginning to allocate more to streaming. For the time being, traditional tv remains, along with many questions surrounding its future within the media world that remain unanswered, for now.