Call it whatever you want – ‘native advertising’, ‘content marketing’, ‘branded entertainment’, or ‘sponsored content’ – I am delighted that finally marketers seem to be waking up to the logical premise that if you create original content of interest in its own right, consumers will engage with it because they get value from it.
Why marketers thought it was a good idea to interrupt consumers in the middle of their entertainment for so many decades baffles me. Why marketers still spend money on banner ads that only my dad clicks on (by mistake), baffles me.
As a consumer/viewer/user I appreciate it if someone has gone to the effort to produce and create some original content that I find relevant or inspiring. I don’t mind if that content has been created by the BBC, a fizzy drink brand, or a 15 year old kid in New Zealand. If it is relevant, well crafted and authentic I will engage with it and be grateful for it in equal measure.
For decades we have put up with disruptive advertising in order to watch and access content because we didn’t have a choice. There was an implicit understanding that without this the media owner wouldn’t be able to afford to make the content, and that was ok. But now every person, every brand, every organisation can be a media owner. The lines have blurred and the rules have changed.
Luckily for traditional broadcasters most brands haven’t figured out how to make good TV yet, but when brands start bringing programme-making expertise into their businesses and as their content marketing budgets rise, they better watch out.
Marks & Spencer already have an app on connected TV’s. How big a leap of imagination is it that one day they could create the next Coronation Street? Achieve that and they won’t be spending money on airtime with ITV anymore.
A word of warning to marketers heading down this path: don’t even think of trying to dress up your existing ad campaigns into original content, think of the consumer first and put your objectives second and only then will you be able to start producing truly authentic original content.