Companies increasingly look to films for a branding boost

Branded entertainment has seen a surge from companies looking to increase brand and product awareness.

In the news

Branded entertainment has seen a surge from companies looking to increase brand and product awareness. Navistar International recently sponsored Drive and Deliver (shown below), a documentary to promote one of its new trucks, the LoneStar. Aside from an August 22 premiere, the film will be aired at more than 50 truck stops around the US and released on DVD. The documentary aims to elevate the Navistar brand, as well as the truck-driving profession, explains Jon Harmon, VP of communications at Navistar.

In addition, Lifetime Networks this fall plans to incorporate a movie into its “Stop Breast Cancer For Life” campaign. Living Proof is a true story of a doctor who helped develop a breast cancer drug, and the film will be a central element in Lifetime's initiative to raise awareness of breast cancer, says Toby Graff, SVP of public affairs and corporate communications at Lifetime Networks.

Why does it matter?

Graff says the network often looks to tie in a movie or some other type of programming into campaigns because it is an effective way to raise awareness for a cause while entertaining the audience.

“I think [consumers] really do take advantage of the information, as well as the entertainment,” Graff explains.

Harmon notes that Drive and Deliver “really fit that twin aim of being a driver advocate and also using the Lodestar as this really aspirational, cool-looking truck that we've never had before to establish our company in a different light.”

While the product should be present in a branded entertainment video to drive the brand's message, the product's presence shouldn't interrupt the story, he adds.

Five facts:

1 Kleenex created a documentary featuring Olympic athletes and hopefuls, which fit its “Let It Out” campaign's focus on encouraging consumers to release emotions.

2 In 2006, Unilever co-produced a TV series called City Hunters, which incorporated its Axe brand into the story line. The show aired on Fox in Latin America.

3 The Food Network formed a partnership with Paramount in 2006 in which the network was integrated into the film Last Holiday, starring Queen Latifah.

4 Olympic-related video content distributed through this year was ten times more than during the 2004 Games, the company reported.

5 The NewsMarket reported that within 48 hours at the Olympics, 194 clips were ordered by 69 media outlets in 29 countries.

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