Twenty years ago it was hard to avoid commercials. As technology has made it easier to skip commercials, advertisers have found new ways to reach consumers. One of these strategies is the hybrid of an advertisement and entertainment – advertainment.
Definition of Advertainment
Advertainment is an advertising strategy that appeals to the audience by engaging them using entertaining mediums, such as songs, movies, television, games, and electronic communication. Advertainment was first developed in the mid-1990s as a response to technology that recorded television shows, allowing the watchers to skip the commercials.
Advertisers were paying for air time, but were reaching a smaller audience.Advertainment can be something relatively simple, such as when a company hires a popular artist to sing a jingle, or it can be very complex, such as the ABC television show Push, Nevada. In Push, Nevada, the audience would look for clues alongside the protagonist, often associated with products or services that sponsored the show, that would send them to websites, direct them to call phone numbers, or instruct them to watch other shows for more clues. The audience member that was able to solve the clues won a prize of $1 million.
The line between advertainment and traditional advertisements is not clear or distinct. Some advertisers consider product placement, the strategic use of products in movies or TV, as a form of entertainment. Most advertisers, however, believe that advertainment requires more than just a casual reference or appearance; they expect whatever is being advertised to be discussed repetitively and be a central part of the entertainment.
Examples of Advertainment
In October 2012, stuntman Felix Baumgartner had the attention of the news and millions of people as he attempted to set a world record by skydiving from space. From almost 128,000 feet above sea level, Baumgartner jumped from a balloon. He was in freefall for over 4 minutes and reached speeds of over 800 mph. It was entertainment for anyone that watched it and a worldwide news story for everyone else.But, it wasn’t just entertainment.
The entire production was sponsored by Red Bull, the energy drink that often sponsors extreme sport productions. It wasn’t just sponsored by Red Bull: the analysts that announced the event were hired by Red Bull and much of the discussion between Baumgartner and the announcers focused on how much Red Bull helped Baumgartner train and perform.Another popular example of advertainment occurs each season during the popular reality television show American Idol. Ford produces a music video about one of their vehicles sung by the final six or eight contestants. The music is written by a popular songwriter and directed by someone who produces videos for mainstream artists.American Idol also provides an example of product placement advertising: each of the judges sips from a Coke cup the entire show.
Advertising is all about presenting a product or service to existing and potential consumers and leaving them with a positive impression of whatever is being advertised. That used to be possible by taking 30 seconds during a television show break and explaining the benefits of the product – perhaps in some entertaining way, but not necessarily. Like their consumers, advertisers had to become more sophisticated, which they have done by giving consumers a reason to look forward to their advertisements – by making them entertainment. More and more, traditional advertising is giving way to the new normal, advertainment.
- advertainment: an advertising strategy that appeals to the audience by engaging them using entertaining mediums, such as songs, movies, television, games, and electronic communication
- product placement: the strategic use of products in movies or TV, as a form of entertainment
After completing this lesson, you should be able to
- Define advertainment and provide examples
- Contrast between advertainment and product placement