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Advertainment – the new frontier of marketing to Gen Z

Advertainment is the fusion of advertising and entertainment and the perfect way to engage with Gen Z, the generation coming up behind millennials. Snapchat, due to its creative and playful nature, is the perfect platform for this and marketers will need to take advantage or get left behind.

Indeed, entertainment is what makes this generation tick. As Maude Standish, vice president of programming strategy at Fullscreen, says: "[Gen Z] has grown up with the internet and are not only demanding that all brands entertain them, but also that entertainment shifts to behave like a friend."

This shift represents a new era of marketing opportunities for brands. Standish adds: “In an era of increased media fragmentation, brands are finding that the best way to market their products is to create entertainment that consumers actively seek out."

The effectiveness of advertainment is clear. Research by Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at Wharton Business School, states that viewers are 20 times more likely to share articles, ads or information with their friends and family if they evoke the right emotions.

Step forward, Snapchat.

Snapchat is the ideal platform for brands to capitalise on advertainment. Moreover, the ad formatting it offers brands, such as personalised lenses, geo-filters and in-app games, are inherently shareable and entertaining.

This, combined with its young demographic and the fact that users spend on average between 25 to 30 minutes a day on the app, means brands have an ideal platform for effective advertainment.

Pepsi is an excellent case study of a brand realising this potential.

To promote its limited-edition cinnamon flavoured Pepsi Fire, Pepsi has printed its Snapcode on millions of cans and bottles.

Snapcodes are 2-D barcodes that the Snapchat mobile app can read using a smartphone camera. All the user needs to do is open Snapchat and take a photo of the barcode, and instantly they connect.

By photographing these Snapcodes on Pepsi bottles, users can unlock exclusive branded geofilters, sponsored lenses with floated 3-D objects, as well as an immersive, multi-level mobile game within the app.

“This is our attempt to move from brand as advertiser to brand as entertainer,” said Lauren Cohen, Pepsi’s director of marketing. “We feel that this is such a big opportunity to serve consumers in a way that they want, with something they’re already opting into.”

This is the key reason Snapchat can be so valuable to brands: the opportunity to connect with consumers through engaging and entertaining content, in a totally non-intrusive manner. Snapchat, as Cohen says, is opt-in.

Printing Snapcodes on products and enabling consumers to unlock a world of in-app immersion, in a way that doesn’t feel like branded advertising, is a perfect example of a brand nailing advertainment.

Snapchat and advertainment is a match made in heaven, and brands are increasingly beginning to realise its power.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon, or you might get left behind.

Timothy Armoo is the co-founder of Fanbytes

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