BENlabs was a proud sponsor of Morning Brew’s The Brief 2023. Didn’t make it to our workshop? No worries. We’ve got you covered with the most important takeaways from the Making an Unskippable Impact: The Power of Entertainment Marketing presentation by BENlabs’ SVP of Strategy, Research, and Insights, Aaron Frank.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Marketers everywhere face a huge challenge: consumers engage with more content than ever but are harder than ever to reach. How come? Well, consumer behavior has changed dramatically when it comes to marketing and advertising. 47% of the globe uses ad blockers, 46% of consumers use private browsing, 85% of iOS users opt out of tracking, and 90% of people report avoiding advertisers. Not only are consumers doing everything they can to avoid advertisements, but their viewership is also split across multiple platforms and entertainment experiences. In addition, the traditional demographic targeting marketers relied upon for years is not an effective way to reach target audiences aligned more on shared interests than shared demographics. This shift in consumer behavior led us to identify three main issues marketers are facing: (1) consumer ad avoidance and privacy are at an all-time high, (2) decentralization across content and platforms makes it impossible to reach all audiences at once, and (3) a lack of intelligence around shared audience interests makes targeting the right people a challenge. So, how on earth can advertisers effectively reach consumers?
At BENlabs, we believe entertainment marketing is essential to overcoming these problems. Brands need to get inside the content people are watching and consuming in a way that enhances the content instead of disrupting it. Brands can successfully tap into entertainment marketing in three ways: (1) identifying potential audiences with advanced AI tools; (2) leveraging the existing relationship that these audiences already have with the artists, creators, characters, and stories they already love; (3) measuring the success of these efforts across the entire marketing funnel.
In order to identify potential audiences for brands, BENlabs does something unique. Utilizing our in-house AI, we have proactively mapped the social landscape based on audience behavior using comments as our barometer. Perhaps the most exciting part is our tech’s ability to uncover communities for brands that they likely have not considered before. While engaging your tried-and-true audiences is valuable, it is also important to recognize that these audiences often have interests outside of what you would assume. Our technology enables us to tailor conversations to smaller niche audiences in authentic ways, allowing brands to expand their reach effectively and creatively.
For example, when working with Omnilux to craft an influencer-led campaign for their LED therapy light skincare mask, our AI was able to rank creators based on how well they aligned to Omnilux core values and how authentically they could deliver Omnilux’s messaging to their followers. The BENlabs AI helped Omnilux max out the obvious verticals including “beauty,” “health,” “mom lifestyle,” and “healthy lifestyle.” However, our AI also identified some less obvious but super-receptive verticals including “interior design,” “fashion,” and “crafting/DIY.”
Using this analysis, marketers can also benefit from another learning: no matter the brand or service being sold, the people we want to buy our products are already someone else’s audience. In other words, consumers can be reached by leveraging pre-existing emotional connections and communities consumers have already made, know, and love across entertainment platforms. This tactic can be applied by either placing products into tv shows and films that already have a community of viewers or collaborating with an influencer who already has a loyal following. However, it is important to make sure your brand is the right fit for the influencer or content.
One successful example of this marketing technique is Bushmills integration in Peaky Blinders. Hit Netflix drama series, Peaky Blinders, already had a big fan base with an emotional connection to the characters, particularly protagonist Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy. The show takes place in Britain during the prohibition era and Tommy and his gang spend lots of their time in the show in pubs drinking whisky. To leverage the deep emotional connection that people all over the world have with this show, BENlabs secured the rights for Bushmills to create an exclusive Prohibition Whisky recipe whose release aligned with the sixth season of the show dropping on Netflix. The special bottle was accompanied by a promotional campaign that drove fans of the show to purchase the product in-store and at bars around the world.
Lastly, measurement throughout the funnel is essential to every entertainment marketing campaign. At BENlabs we help marketers measure everything from reach to awareness to purchase intent to actual sales. But in order to truly understand whether your efforts are creating cultural relevance marketers need a way to measure it. With this in mind, we are working on a way to measure cultural relevance for our clients with a new metric that includes data across 5 factors: reach, popularity, prominence, affinity, and impact.