Direct media advertising in all the forms is already close to reaching the limits of its growth. The reason is the restriction on advertising imposed by the legislation, which has already been taken in most developed countries, as well as the negative reaction from consumers to the increase of the number of commercial.
In 2005, the total amount of indirect integrated advertising grew by 42,2% and made approximately 2.21 billion dollars. Analysts state that there is the general growth of advertising by 27,9% at the annual world market of integrated advertising for the period from 2005 to 2010, while the income from this market makes more than 7.55 billion dollars by 2010. Moreover, the market of integrated is growing much faster than the market of standard advertising and marketing content.
Thus, demand for positioning media content merged with advertising increases and becomes the main one. In this framework, traditional advertising and its effectiveness is now put in doubt by corporations. Today the media content abounds in advertising integrated into it, the main manifestations of which are hidden advertising, product placement and branded content (Galician 2004).
Branded content is the marketing method, the mutual integration of brand and entertaining or informational content, when advertising is not obvious, and thus, the traditional boundaries defining the category of “advertising”ť and “entertainment”ť are blurred. In this way, branded content unites “advertising”ť and “entertainment”ť into a single concept and is represented as entertainment content with high quality sponsorship presentation. Branded content (or branded entertainment) in contrast to the traditional entertainment content (infotainment) is fully or to a great extent funded by brand or corporation.
Branded content is a relatively young advertising technology, first designed as an independent one in 2001, with the release of the film project “The Hire”ť, a series of 8 short films by famous directors (John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro GonzĂˇlez IĂ±Ăˇrritu, John
Woo, Joe Carnahan, and Tony Scott) with Clive Owen and with the involvement of world cinema stars, like Mickey Rourke, Madonna, James Brown, Gary Oldman, Marilyn Manson. The film was specially made in conjunction with BMW Corporation for distribution in the Internet and on DVD. As a form of branded content, each of the 8 series of the project demonstrates the features and advantages of BMW cars, logically and concisely linking the presence of brand to the plot of each episode (Lehu 2009).
Branded content, as well as entertaining one, is designed to educate and entertain the audience, while at the same time, it is gently drawing attention to the represented brands. In the most successful examples of branding entertainment content, the key advertising message is dissolving in the content in the most light and organic manner, while bringing the necessary information about the brand to the consumer.
This technology allows to brand entertainment media products in such areas as cinema, music, games, interactive, and special events using such instruments as sponsorship, product placement, creating original content, live performances (concerts, special events), life placement, interactive campaigns, integration into video games, etc.
According to the study “Improving Ad Performance Online: The Impact of Advertising on Branded Content Sites”ť conducted by the Online Publishers Association, sites with branded content are the best advertisement. According to researchers, the sites equipped with branded content increase the popularity of the brand by 29%, and the desire to buy the product – by 20% (Harker 2000).
Another manifestation of integrated advertising is product placement, which is also an example of the phenomenon known as ad creep, commercialized pop culture increasingly turns into. American companies spend 50 million
dollars annually on product placement. Technically, product placement is advertising positioning of a certain brand or product in an artistic work. These technologies are successfully applied in the production of music videos, computer games, in book publishing, but the film screen surpasses all other media carriers of such advertising by its effectiveness and impact on the audience (Lehu 2009).
One of the first experiments in this field was the cartoon Popeye The Sailor, in which this technique was first applied by the order of the U.S. government to support national healthcare programs. In the cartoon, the hero endowed superhuman strength eating canned spinach. As a result, sales of spinach in the United States grew by several times.
However, the true symbol of product placement has become the famous agent 007. Such companies as BMW, Ericsson, Smirnoff, Omega, Martini, Visa, Catterpillar based their advertising campaigns on the placements in films from James Bond series and invariably achieved impressive results. For instance, after the film “Golden Eye”ť BMW Corporation increased its sales by 10 million dollars, and the demand for Omega watches grew by 9 times (Galician 2004).
From a business perspective, product placement is advantageous for both the client and performer. One way or another, the heroes of shows and movies have to drink something, wear something, and drive something. It is not surprising that today the appearance of products integrated into situation is the result of a commercial agreement between an advertiser and media corporation.
Since consumers have opportunities to avoid media advertising or turn it off, marketers are trying to restore the balance, placing advertising traps so that they cannot be avoided. Integrated advertising does not interrupt programs or shows; therefore, it ensures maximum attention and audience interest to the proposed product. Thus, another obvious advantage of integrated advertising is its positive perception by the viewer, while marketers have always been looking for emotional connection with consumers (Hackley 2008).