In the beginning, there were sponsors.

That’s how TV and radio got their initial push. “Program X, brought to you by Company Y.”

Or, commercials featuring the stars of everyone’s favorite programs would be planned to run during those same shows.  For example:

These days, we’re more used to hearing and seeing commercials segmented to run between the entertainment itself.  But the advent of view-on-demand devices like TiVo (not to mention mobile devices and the Internet) have made it quite easy for viewers to circumvent (or block out) traditional ads.

Now, enter (or, more accurately, re-enter) sponsorships, under the guise of branded entertainment.  In fact, web content creators are seeing increasingly robust payouts as advertisers begin to embrace video embedded ads and branded entertainment as a new opportunity for increased brand awareness.

And while the future of branded entertainment looks rosy, it also presents a new set of questions that your company should be investigating to find a good fit for your brand.  For example…

  • Are your customers regular consumers of mobile entertainment?
  • Which content creators have a track record of generating serious buzz?
  • Which YouTube videos are most popular with your target demographic?
  • How easily could your existing messaging be converted to video-ready advertising?
  • Is your competition creating branded entertainment?
  • If so, is it successful?  If it isn’t, why not?
  • Are certain types of content (comedy, horror, sci-fi, documentary, etc.) proper or improper fits for your company’s culture?

As laptops, iPads and cell phones continue to gain critical mass (and more eyeballs every day), your opportunities to connect with those same consumers will continue to grow just as quickly.