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.
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.
Why does so much D2C advertising drive consumers to Amazon?
When a DTC marketer spends money on TV, audio, social or any other channel, why does Amazon receive a huge piece of that pie?
The answer is simple. 60% of consumers start their product research on Amazon. A large portion of consumers search various channels in search of the right product, and many eventually turn to Amazon due to its reliability. It is important to build a trustworthy relationship with your consumers, which is something Amazon has been successful at. Many brands also turn to Amazon advertising, although not happy about giving away a larger share of their profits.
If a consumer sees an ad anywhere, they are more likely to check Amazon before checking your website or calling your phone number. Whether we like it or not, that is what the consumer feels most comfortable with. Thus, many brands are actually driving directly to Amazon. And when brands do that, Amazon rewards them with discounted fees and retargeting.
As digital advertising continues to increase, regardless of where the ads are viewed, consumer preferences become more understood. As customers are getting more selective with their purchases, marketing products on a platform like Amazon that almost guarantees recognition, loyalty, and sales not only seems like the right idea but a necessity. As marketers, we must understand that regardless of what we want, we must be where the consumers are.
No matter where you advertise, Amazon has remained consistent as a tool to provide a substantial lift for advertisers and brands. They continued to provide new opportunities and sales for smaller brands and businesses and can be a successful partner. If you can’t beat them, join them.
In 2012 94% of teens had a Facebook account. Now ten years later only 27% of the teenage demographic say they are on the platform. Where have they gone and will Meta owners of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp be able to evolve the platforms to stay relevant and survive? How will this affect digital advertising for direct to consumer (DTC) brands? Even though Facebook is the largest social media platform with 2.9 billion monthly users, they have faced tough competition from TikTok. TikTok’s user base continues to grow as does the time spent on their platform, and they have seen increased ad revenues. TikTok also dominates the audience once owned by Facebook. TikTok’s 1 billion monthly users they spend 90+ minutes a day on the platform. Facebook and Instagram demographics skew considerably older and use the platform about 29 minutes a day. And best of all, 46% of TikTok users report that they have made a purchasing decision based on reviewing something on the platform. In the past when Facebook found that people were spending more time on other social platforms, they purchased their competition: i Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014.
Today, instead of purchasing their most dangerous threats, Facebook has decided to be more like them. Two years ago, to compete with TikTok, Facebook released its own TikTok-like short form video known as Reels. Reels can be seen on both Facebook and Instagram. However, people have reported that many Reels are just reposted TikTok videos. Recently Facebook added a new viewing feed with a “TikTok-like feel” that displays content from people who aren’t your friends. This “Feeds” feature uses algorithm-curated content and accounts for a fifth of the content viewed. Even with the views, it doesn’t appear that Reels has done what Facebook had hoped: having users create and share more content on their platform. What does this mean for advertisers? The social media advertising landscape is shifting, and DTC brands need to adapt to meet their customers where they are on each platform. For DTC brands this means the power of TikTok can not be underestimated, especially for reaching the Gen Z and millennial demographics. Even with competition from TikTik and others Facebook is still bulldozing along. Despite ongoing controversies and emerging competition, Facebook still remains the largest social platform among consumers and marketers. But let’s face it, their user base is aging and their CPMs rising. People of all ages now gravitate to video-sharing platforms like TikTok and brands will need to invest in TikTok advertising to meet them where they are. It is unlikely that Facebook can maintain its total dominance over social networking forever.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) and performance marketers have been steadily shifting budgets away from Direct Response Television (DRTV) to social media such as Facebook, Tiktok, and Snapchat to create awareness and grow their customer base. These platforms have been effective for DTC brands because of their consumer scale and focused reach via targeting and measurement. However, just like the DRTV landscape shifts, so does the social media landscape causing DTC companies to diversify among them.
Social media giants Facebook and Tiktok continue to lead the digital advertising world while others like Instagram and Snapchat have fallen behind.
Facebook (Meta) the largest platform has proven successful through several rebranding efforts, including the recent “Meta” shift, however, they have faced backlash from DTC companies on the rising cost of their ad prices. The rising cost of Facebook advertising has opened the door for TikTok. The platform has paved the way for many DTC brands with its massive reach and engagement. They continue to stay on top of innovation and attract advertising dollars. In fact, TikTok is on track to surpass the advertising revenue of Twitter and Snapchat combined this year. Move over…. Facebook!
Snapchat, despite its initial success, has similar audiences, and better retargeting abilities than Tiktok has fallen behind. This year, Snapchat’s CEO warned employees that the company would underperform in targets for revenue and adjusted earnings in this current quarter. So why is Snapchat failing while other companies succeed?
Aside from recent macroeconomic issues plaguing the industry, Snapchat’s primary focus through the years has been on changes to the interface and making the app more user-friendly. These changes reverberated negatively and prompted outrage at the app’s creators as well. Snapchat has also failed to attract older users.
Video content has maintained its position as the top-performing ad content of late, and yet Snapchat continues to be unappealing to advertisers. We will see what the future has in store for Snapchat and other social media platforms, but it’s easy to see how fast-paced and ever-changing the digital advertising landscape can be.
DTC and performance marketers need to be ahead of the curve on these trends to reach out to consumers at the right time on the right platform with the right offer and the right content.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Importance of Omni Channel Marketing for DRTV products
The pandemic and its economic impact have entirely changed the way businesses is done. With many consumers and working professionals working remotely and spending so much time online, it’s clear how important digital channels are becoming and how critical it is for marketers to reach consumers where the eyeballs are.
For DRTV, Direct-Response, Infomercial, and Direct-to-Consumer Marketers, this change proves just as meaningful. It is vital to be mindful of what happens within each platform and utilize as many channels as possible. By using omnichannel marketing and tracking ads, you can successfully create high-converting campaigns, and all can work with the halo effect of reinforcing ads seen on other platforms.
DRTV can bring you excellent results when used as part of an omnichannel strategy and can be among the highest converting platform.
Creating Ads on Google or Bing that build on your DRTV ads can yield great results and help conversion rates. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok can yield extremely high results as well, especially when geo targeted. Both lead generation and product specific ads can work well on these platforms.
When considering DRTV, be sure to maximize your results by having all digital tactics in place.