Can Branded Entertainment be as fun as television and not feel like an ad?
Wait, maybe I should say be more fun than television, as television seems to be going a bit downhill these days…
The answer: Yes, yes it can!
I recently came across the web series, “Dating Rules from My Future Self.”
It claims to be branded entertainment, but I would argue that we could simply call it entertainment. Yes, it’s sponsored by brands, but no I don’t feel that it’s one long commercial for biore or ford the way that the original branded entertainment felt like a fancy celebrity and action packed commercial for a car.
I decided to do a google search for branded entertainment. It yielded results that ranged from a terrible show with huge hollywood backing to a decent show with network backing, but with a minute and a half ad roll to a celebrity scavenger hunt / cooking show.
These series lack the quality in storytelling that Dating Rules has. The other branded series that I’ve come across are mainly broad comedy and over the top acting or reality tv. And there is way more than enough of reality tv and awful sitcoms on television for me already.
Dating Rules is the exact opposite of these shows and the reason why I love it so much.
It’s quality filmmaking, storytelling and acting and they accomplished this in a limited amount of time and on a small budget. Yes it still has a modicum of celebrity – these are not unknown actors – and it does have a budget, but it’s not a tv budget even though the producers come from a tv background.
I think networks, web content providers and brands should take a long hard look at Dating Rules and if they want eyeballs and dollars, start making and investing in content that looks and feels like that series.
People are using DVR, netflix, hulu, youtube and other internet channels much more to watch their shows and can can just zip past commercials.
Is branded entertainment the way to go?
I think yes, if it’s done the new and innovative way that Dating Rules has accomplished.
Dating Rutes is a great series, better than any recent sitcom I’ve seen. The characters are all unique and lovable, the story is high concept and fun and I couldn’t stop watching it.
The product placement was not intrusive at all and I only really noticed it when I was looking for it. I was drawn to the show, the plot, the characters and would watch season after season of this. There is a 5 second ad pre roll incorporated in the beginning of each episode, but it has been art directed and looks like part of the show as opposed to just another pre roll. Someone took the time to make it go with the show and work with it instead of standing out against it.
So yes, I noticed that each episode was sponsored by a brand and I can tell you the products that are featured in the shows. I also have a bit more respect for these brands and now think they are more innovative than others.
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t tell you all the brands that have ads during an episode of Grey’s Anatomy — I fast forward through all that.
Watch the first episode and just try not to love it. I bet you won’t be able to!