In an industry where professionals are still divided over the issue of divorcing creative from media planning for advertising effectiveness, Optimum Media Solutions (OMS) appears to be of the opinion that in this very fiercely fragmented media environment, if brands desire to further a relationship with consumers and aspire for longevity, it can only happen by yoking creative with media together. Not in the traditional advertising sense, however. OMS is defining a way of advertising brands where the brand is integrated with content - with 'entertainment content', to be more specific. And to this end, the specialist media entity has created a division called Brandcast.
Elaborating on the concept of integration, Sandeep Vij, president, OMS, says, "Brandcasting allows marketers to leverage a brand's personality in a way that consumers find it entertaining and enjoyable, so that when the consumer views the content, it does not appear to be a piece of advertising. Engaging the consumers is what is important. With fragmentation of media and viewership, where simultaneous consumption of media is a reality, advertising audiences are dwindling. People are watching less advertising compared to say, five years ago. To create the same impact for an ad, the media person has to buy three to four times the number of spots. Advertising is getting less effective, therefore, marketers need to connect with consumers in different ways. Branded content allows for relating to consumer in different ways."
Brandcasting has its genesis in in-film placement. Vij cites the 'Bobby bike' from the seventies romantic hit, Bobby, as a good example of brand integration with content. "GTS, a medium-height bike, was targeted at the youth and was launched in Bobby, but nowhere in the movie was the bike advertised," Vij points out. "The impact on the youth was such that the GTS came to be known as 'Bobby'. A recent instance of good integration happened in the movie, Road. The only car you see in the entire movie is the Tata Safari, but there is no attempt to highlight the fact."
While there are a handful of such examples, the point that Vij stresses is that brands can no longer be 'placed' as idle props, with no relation to the content. Brands have to leap to the next level, where the brand and its values have a cerebral function in the content, and don't stick out like advertising signboard. More importantly, 'content' need not stay within the confines of what is traditionally defined as entertainment. Any branding opportunity that provides the right connect for brand integration can fit the bill.
Vij cites Electrolux Femme Force as an example of branded content Brandcast created for client Electrolux. Electrolux Femme Force is a unique self-defense programme for women in Delhi and the NCR. The training programme, spread over four weeks (four Sundays), trains women on Krav Maga, a self-defense system employed by the Israeli Defense Forces. "By branding such content, which is a corporate social responsibility initiative focusing on safety of women and their empowerment, the brand values augment manifold, and enhances the relationship with the consumer," Vij points out. In fact, the division is creating films for Sony TV in association with Electrolux.
It follows that creativity assumes a central role in providing different ways of exploring brand integration. "Traditionally, the function of media has been to create awareness for the brand through a quantum of exposure," says Vij. "But in this cluttered media space, where the consumer's time is at a premium, media planning for effective advertising has to focus on the quality of the exposure. And that quality comes through the creative application of that idea." The OMS Brandcast division has a team of creative content ideation specialists who, in conjunction with strategic planners, craft Brandcast initiatives. The first to come on board, in the capacity as a creative consultant, is Siddharth Rao (partner of Webchutney).
Vij is of the opinion that the opportunities for branded content advertising are immense. "The media and entertainment industry is truly emerging as the sunrise industry," he explains his cause for optimism. "ICICI Ventures is hugely proactive in investing in this space. Bollywood is getting corporatized. This time, the broadband market is for real. The gaming content market is growing… Suddenly, valuations in this sector are getting real. Consultancies are springing up, verticals are being set up… So the need will only grow." Â© 2004 agencyfaqs!