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.
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.
WHY DIRECT TO CONSUMER ADVERTISERS SHOULD CONSIDER SPANISH LANGUAGE ADS
With $2.5 trillion in buying power, the Hispanic market isn’t just an opportunity, it’s a necessity for direct to consumer (DTC) marketers. According to the 2020 Census, Hispanics make up nearly 20% of the U.S. population, and accounted for 51% of all new population growth. Additionally, Spanish is the second most common language spoken after English in the U.S., with over 41 million people speaking the language. This market is huge, but according to the Hispanic Marketing council only 6% of the marketing industry’s investment is spent on the Hispanic community. That leaves a large, untapped market for advertisers to connect and engage with.
In the past, advertisers would often simply “transcreate” their English ads into Spanish. However, over the years advertisers have learned that this can appear disingenuous and may actually offend the target market.
Today, although under invested in advertising, this market has evolved. In recent years advertisers have found success with these tactics.
Bilingual content: Marketers have Integrated Spanish into their primarily-English Hispanic advertising campaigns, by using Spanish words, phrases, and quotes that appeal to a bilingual audience.
Culture: Even more important than the language is culture. According to Refuel’s Hispanic Explorer Series™ 2021, Hispanic audiences respond more to ads that reflect their culture, therefore it is important that the audience can see themselves reflected in advertisements. It is important to ensure that their messages come across as authentic and avoid stereotypes and cliches.
Spanish at all touch points: Instead of just a Spanish language DRTV ad, social media ad, email, or video ad, advertisers have created landing pages in Spanish, so that Hispanic consumers have a consistent experience across channels when they interact with the brand.
Social media: Social media is a powerful way to reach the Hispanic audience. Studies indicate that Hispanic consumers are 30% more likely to use any social media than the general population. Tiktok specifically over indexes for Hispanics with 1 in every 5 regular users being a Spanish speaker.
Influencers: More advertisers are using Spanish speaking influencers on social media who can help promote products and services to their audiences to help conversions and sales.
So in these recessionary times of shrinking budgets, perhaps more consideration can be given to the Hispanic consumers, a neglected yet loyal demographic.
When is the time for DRTV Marketers to Embrace CTV?
Despite the years of headlines screaming about the demise of television, TV is not dead, yet. Instead how and where TV is watched has evolved with the rise of connected TV (CTV), which can help breathe new life into TV and empower viewers to take advantage of offers from DRTV marketers at home or on the go. With this new breath of life comes a highly effective means of directly engaging existing and potential customers for direct-to-consumer brands (DTC). However, at this time, it comes at a high price. And is not always immediately accountable the way terrestrial TV has been. Connected TV advertising was among the fastest growing for any significant sector of the US digital ad spending market with advertisers spending over $13 billion on CTV ads in 2021, a nearly 50% increase from the previous year according to Conviva’s research. It is expected to grow to $19 billion in 2022. But, were most of those ads for brand advertisers just looking for reach and frequency? Because of shorter formats on CTV and the higher cost, many direct response TV (DRTV) marketers overlook CTV advertising as a viable advertising medium. These marketers may be missing a significant opportunity to run ads that are highly targeted, unskippable, trackable, and brand-safe. The CTV spend in combination with terrestrial television can deliver a one-two punch in ways either can not do alone. It just may require experimentation and ability to look at the complete picture rather than individual silos.
So why should DRTV marketers embrace CTV advertising? 1) Advertising Reach: 87% of US homes have at least one connected TV, including a smart TV, phone, video game system or standalone streaming device, such as Apple TV or an Amazon fire stick and at least 40% of them watch content daily. 2) Measure success with real-time reporting:, CTV advertising provides real-time metrics such as impressions, completed view rate and reach enabling advertisers to adjust campaigns in real-time. 3) Higher completion rates: Unlike traditional TV where viewers can change the channel to avoid a commercial, CTV ads are unskippable, meaning the viewer needs to watch the entire ad in order to continue viewing their show. 4) More precise targeting at a lower cost: Programmatic advertising uses automated bids software to buy and sell ad inventory in real-time, instead of traditional manual negotiations. This allows advertisers to spend their ad budgets more efficiently based on data and insights specific to their brand resulting in delivering the right ad to the right audience at the right time. With the explosion of CTV it is inevitable that DRTV marketers will need to shift some of their advertising to CTV advertising as consumers shift their focus to on-demand programs. So it is not a question of it, but more a question of when.
How DTC brands can benefit from in-game video advertising
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and DRTV and Infomercial advertisers need to be looking for new mediums to promote their products and services, especially as TV continues a decline. In recent years, many DTC brands have diversified their video advertising efforts to include social ads, but as social media ad costs rise is there another medium that DTC advertisers could benefit from?
The global in-game advertising market is on track to grow by $3.54 billion by 2025 and it is a medium that DTC brands should explore. At first glance, advertisers might assume that the demographics of gamers are mostly teen males who do not fit their target market. However, mobile gamers actually skew more female. Overall the mobile game market is 60% female and 40% male. In terms of age demographic more than 20% of mobile gamers are over 50 and 39% are between 21 and 35. This provides an enormous potential for DTC brands.
There are a few types of video ads that can DTC marketers can take advantage of within mobile games:
Interstitial video ads are full-screen ads that typically appear in-between game level and allow players to skip the ad after about five seconds depending on the game. Since these ads don’t interrupt the player’s gaming experience, they typically generate high impressions and conversions.
Reward-based video ads follow a “prompt, opt-in, reward” structure in which players choose to play the ad in order to receive a reward. After watching the ad the player is rewarded with another life or some form of in-game currency to help them continue playing the game. Most gamers prefer this ad format and find it the least disruptive.
Both player and advertiser benefit from reward-based ads. The player is rewarded and the advertiser only pays for the ad if the player watches the entire ad. Additionally, since the ads are generally watched to the end in order to receive the reward DTC brand advertisers have increased brand awareness and recall. Reward based ads receive higher user engagement than interstitial ad formats, resulting in a higher return on ad spent.
Ads can be purchased on a CPA, CPM or CPC basis and the costs rival more expensive platforms like Facebook.
Although not top of mind for DTC marketers, in-game video advertising is definitely a channel that should be considered because it holds enormous potential to reach their target market affordably, increase brand reach, and get conversions.