Entertainment Marketing: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

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What was the last television show you watched? Maybe it was an early morning news program where the anchor conveniently placed their Starbucks coffee on the desk for millions of viewers to see. Marketing, at least when we think about entertainment usually refers to ads or commercials interrupting our television series or perhaps distracting us during a game-but entertainment marketing incorporates the use of entertainment mediums to market a product, combining content with advertisements.

Entertainment marketing is really the art of consumer suggestion, a byproduct that flows in line with both advertising and public relations. There are differences that distinguish these marketing practices.

Tom Fishburne, marketing expert, speaker and cartoonist is quoted as saying, "The best marketing doesn't feel like marketing." THAT is exactly what entertainment marketing does for a brand. When done correctly, it makes the brand feel organic to the viewer or consumer. This more passive form of marketing is easier to relate to (and buy in to) with an already engaged audience.

Entertainment marketing broken down into two types.

  • Celebrity endorsements for the marketing of products. This also includes sponsorship or endorsement of events for the express purpose of marketing of the brand as well as their latest products. Think George Clooney and Nespresso, and you are on the right track.
  • Product placement in movies and TV sitcoms. TV show and movie producers are highly selective of what actors and actresses wear, what they drive and what message is coming across from the products that are showcased on camera. These decisions are made for the purpose of creating subtle brand awareness in addition to exposing their latest product to an already engaged audience. Remember Tom Cruise in “Top Gun” in 1986. His iconic Ray-Ban Aviators, of course the quintessential eyewear for any pilot, increased Ray-Ban’s sales by 40% and has managed to keep the Aviators as one of their best selling products. Or think about a car chase that passes by a McDonalds or BP gas station. This is no coincidence; there is big money to be earned by this discrete form of advertising and everyone knows it.

The Importance of Entertainment Marketing

Everyone wins. Entertainment marketing serves a dual purpose, both the brand and the icon get exposure in addition to film and TV getting vital funding to help finance their project. There is a lot of money in showcasing a Coca Cola bottle in the hands of one of a TV sitcom’s leading actors or having a movie star drive off in a Toyota Hybrid. Many movies and TV shows have relied on entertainment marketing for capital. In the popular series, now airing reruns, “Sex and the City,” the producers, including Sarah Jessica Parker, have admitted that without appropriate product placement they would not have been able to attain the longevity they did, having launched six evocative seasons.

As students delve into marketing and communications, this is one of the many themes that will be recurrent in their learning. Looking at various ways businesses use market strategies that implement entertainment marketing as another avenue for gaining exposure, capturing an audience, and increasing revenues.

GBSB Global Business School prepares students to be highly effective and competitive in international business, able to navigate culture, trends, innovation and technology. These are all a point of focus in our Master in Communications and Future Marketing program. Instructed by an esteemed faculty with real life experience in marketing and communications, as directors and business owners themselves, students are equipped with the insight and wisdom to be successful in an ever evolving industry.

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