Table of Content
What is an Entertainment Brand?
An entertainment brand is a brand that goes beyond value propositions and product features to plant itself firmly in the hearts and minds of the public.
They blur the lines between business and culture, being talked about for the way they entertain people perhaps more so than the products they actually sell.
We’ve managed to distil everything that makes them entertaining into 8 distinct characteristics and over the next few months we're tracking a set of brands that display
these characteristics across metrics like revenue performance and share of search to prove entertainment wins.
Some if not all of the brands have elements that mean they assume the identity of a few of the 8 - but they all clearly star in at least one.
Ultimately, they realize that in a world moving at hyper-speed where competition for attention is a fight for a knife in the mud, it’s either entertain or die.
Why is the stage set for Entertainment Brands to kill their competition?
Over the last decade, we’ve been bored to death by purpose preachers claiming brands will save the world.
We’ve finally reached peak-purpose fatigue. A GfK study into purpose-driven advertising revealed that purpose ads and brands were falling short. Pitting mainstream ads against purposeful ads they found that 74% of mainstream ads retained audience attention v 65% of purposeful ads. Interestingly these ineffective ads were the very same ones that gained the plaudits of the industry at Cannes. Turns out a Chipotle's Burritos can change the world but they can’t make me buy a Burrito.
Ultimately they concluded that brands need to focus on ‘me’, the consumer, first and ‘we’, the planet, second. What does this brand offer the individual? In the case of some of the brands in our report, they offer entertainment first (me) which earns them the right to clue the world up on their brand mission (we). Purpose alone is no longer enough.
In the 2000s we had ‘Reality TV’, and in the 2010s we had the rise of the ‘influencer’ but it feels as though the 2020s is the real age of authenticity. Be Real and TikTok seem to be symptoms of our yearning for authenticity, both being platforms which prioritise unpolished ‘real’ content.
Normal people are the celebrities of today. Take Khaby Lame, a factory worker turned internet sensation, who has amassed the largest TikTok following in the world with 155.8M followers and 2.3B likes. There isn’t anything special about his content, or rather its lack of veneer is what makes it special. He’s relatable, charming and doesn’t take life seriously.
It’s a far cry from the manufactured drama we called reality in the 2000s. We’re finally awarding authenticity.
Blockbusters: Everywhere by Everyone All at Once
Where we watch, how we watch and what we think of certain forms of media have changed dramatically over the last decade. Our relationship with media has never been more blurred and everyone has the ability to make blockbuster entertainment.
In 2020 more than 100 million people in the US were watching YouTube on their TV screens. During the Oscars in 2021, streaming platforms went toe to toe with movie studios securing 9 Oscar wins. In 2022 Gen Z was spending 57 minutes a day on TikTok, capturing 4 minutes more of their attention a day than a TV screen.
Anyone can produce blockbuster entertainment and people are lapping it up anywhere they can. It’s an exciting time for brands that recognise that trend. Just look at the slew of brands investing in documentary filmmaking (Nike, Airbnb, Sephora) which are being recognised with their very own category at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s a daunting time for brands that rely on traditional forms of advertising as there has never been more entertaining content to distract us from it.
The age of the Entertainment Brand is upon us. A curious cocktail of cultural phenomenon that includes, but also stretches beyond, the three factors in this article have resulted in a perfectly poised battle field. The brands that step onto that battle field equipped with a trident, armour and pride of lions on a leash are the Liquid Death's of this world - the brands that know how to entertain and steal an unfair advantage in the attention economy. The brands on the other side? The ones wearing nothing but a loin cloth and shaking in fear for their lack of personality? Well you don't want to be one of those. Let's have a chat and help you dodge that bullet.
P.S. Our full research report Entertain or Die: How to Win in the Attention Economy will be launching in September so keep your eyes peeled.