Has your Business Mastered the Art of Advertainment?

Has your Business Mastered the Art of Advertainment?


The term Advertainment was coined over a decade ago by an Italian professor of marketing. Back then, before the dawn of social media, YouTube, or even blogging, brands needed big budgets to promote their products in an entertaining way.

Even today, advertainment can blow the budget of even the biggest marketing department. Think of Red Bull’s sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s skydive from space, which was the culmination of a partnership lasting nearly a quarter of a century.

Not every business has such deep pockets.

In this article, we’ll discover how small businesses, eCommerce traders and start-ups can make the most of advertainment.

What’s the Point of Advertainment?

Consumers are increasingly bombarded by advertising messages. Because of that, they’re shutting their ears. With millions of brands clamouring for attention, you’ve got to stand head and shoulders above the rest if you want to get ahead.

What does this mean in practice? Providing something your target audience wants, for free. This can be:

  • Tips and advice on how to do something;
  • Inspiration or an opportunity for reflection;
  • Entertainment.

Advertainment involves promoting your brand through entertainment. It can involve anything from paid product placement in a movie to creating a lighthearted blog simply to promote a product.

Could You Sell Your Ads?

How good does your advertainment offering need to be? There’s a simple litmus test you can do to check if you’re on the right track.

Would people pay to access what you’re offering?

That might sound extreme, but you do have to be that good. After all, if you’re advertising anything, people are paying you with their time and attention, two of the most valuable things they can give your brand.

As Chris Arnold, creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, and part-time marketing lecturer explains:

“How differently would we approach advertising if we actually had to sell it? It’s a brief I often set students, to produce an ad, using any medium, that the public will pay for. Which means they have to like it – there’s a novel concept! Forget ‘intrusive’ or ‘disruptive’ techniques, try entertainment.”

You Can Be An Advertainer

Whatever your brand, whatever your budget, you have the opportunity to entertain your target audience.

Whether you set up a blog, make videos, get out there on Facebook, or set up an Instagram feed (as our friends over at Insta Animal have done, amassing nearly 1.5 million followers), technology puts creating entertainment easily within your reach. If you’ve got a smartphone, chances are there’s a high definition camcorder in your pocket. All you need to add is a hefty dose of creativity.

When you’re creating advertainment, ask yourself the following:

  • Is it targeted at your ideal customers?
  • Is your brand name or logo clearly displayed as part of the project?
  • Does it reflect your brand values?
  • Does it create an emotional investment in your brand?
  • Does it provide an opportunity for people to find out more? (this can be as simple as a link to your website)

If you really want to know what works, get out there and look at what other brands are doing. Get familiar with what goes viral and what flops. It’s all out in the open for you to see. Just add a sprinkle of your brand into the mix, and you’re ready to roll.

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