A vast majority of entertainment fans have admitted they could not live without their favoured medium, handily 71% also thought that entertainment was the primary medium for brands to reach out to them, according to new research conducted by entertainment agency Frukt.
The ‘Press Play: Brands and the Power of Entertainment’ study looked at the industry, encapsulating everything from “a Rachmaninov concerto to Pokemon Go”, and in doing so touched down with 1,000 music, film and TV, and gaming fans across the USA and UK to explore their thoughts on brand involvement in the space. The research indicates that the sector pays real dividends.
Of those surveyed, 95% said they would share branded music experiences that they enjoy, this sits at 96% for film and TV and 87% for gaming activities. Further to this, 73% believe brand partnerships help said brands break out from the crowd. Entertainment is vital to this audience, 82% went as far to claim they couldn’t live without it, the same volume said these experiences help them connect with other people. In fact, to go deeper, 82% claimed that their favoured music, video games and movies form a core part of their identity
Worth noting is the fact that 71% admitted that entertainment is the most effective medium for brands to connect with them with a slightly lower 70% more likely to trust a brand that helps support the growth of their favoured hobby.
Deconstructing the research for The Drum, Dom Hodge, managing director at Frukt, admitted that the public finds itself ourselves constantly distracted and as such have become really good at avoiding traditional advertising. Naturally then, it is beneficial to be a part of activities where the attention is, entertainment. "When we are entertained our receptiveness to emotional messaging and ability to become fans of a brand is heightened. This has huge potential for any brand in any category," Hodge said.
Authenticity is key to any brand setting up shop in the space, but further to that, there has to be a demonstrable attempt to enrich or improve the space, be it in supporting young artists, subsidising new movie content and more. According to the research authenticity, originality, playfulness and humour were identified as the key qualities people sought from brands activating in and around entertainment.
There have been misfires in a space where a foreign entity has integrated with an IP in a ham-fisted manner displeasing to the loyal fans, to avoid this Hodge advises: "Fans will quickly spot a partnership that feels false, fake or purely about the money. The negative impact of the wrong deal or the wrong message can have very damaging results."
Perhaps controversially the traits the public least wanted in their tie ups was found to be serious or thought-provoking content, or bravery and innovation. On this Hodge theorised: "The first two simply relate to where brands forget that entertainment is meant to be fun, whereas the latter two reflect an over reliance on new tech or stunts to do all the work. Being brave in entertainment is about standing up for something, not just standing out - and this is where authenticity plays a crucial role in the mix."
The results were reportedly rather consistent along all demographics although the gaming community lagged behind slightly on its willingness to accept brands in the space. On this Hodge admitted: "There is a preconception that gamers are a hard nut to crack for brands as a subculture... however, in truth, the notion of what a gamer is has shifted in the last decade, as apps, Twitch and eSports redefine the category. Gamers in our survey did score slightly lower on some of the survey results, but then also indexed much higher on some key points. For example, they may be slightly more hesitant to let brands into their world, but if a brand gets it right the rewards are high."
Backing this up is the finding that 82% of gamers are more likely to trust a brand that helps support the growth of the entertainment they love, compared to 77% in music and 72% in film and TV.
Who can live without entertainment?
Almost a fifth of respondents admitted they could live without entertainment, this drastically falls in the 25-34 year group to only 4%, showing it is completely embedded in that demographic.
"For the vast majority of people we spoke to entertainment is so intrinsically connected to their personal identity (in fact 82% felt this way) that life without it would be very hard."
Enter the fandom
You've got to be true to the culture of entertainment, he said. "Whether its gamers on Twitch, festivalgoers in the heart of the mosh pit, or Marvel fans descending on Comic-Con, each of these avid fan bases is rightly protective of their passion, and they expect brands to approach their beloved entertainment space with respect, honesty and authenticity in everything they do."
Show respect to the culture, have a genuine (and preferably long-term) commitment to it and listen to and learn from fans shows that a brand cares, he advised.
The pop-up of the pop-up
Hodge asserts that the proliferation of mobile devices has made real-world experiential desirable again. "It is this detachment from tangible, real life events that drives people towards one-off, in-the-moment experiences, from boutique music festivals to pop-up cinemas. For brands there is a massive opportunity to not only create exclusive, one-off experiences that appeal to fans in-the-moment, but also to provide unique social capital when they do turn their attention back to their digital lives."
For him, live experiences are the way forward: "The desire for live experiences and moments has never been bigger. There is something fundamentally human about the rawness, the reality and the ritual of being present in a shared, elated moment with others. They make us feel feel alive. Capitalising on a moment where peoples senses and emotions are heighted has real, tangible value for brands that are looking to reach the passionate fan in all of us."
Frukt is an entertainment marketing company founded in 2001.