The game of Branded Entertainment


-By Scott Williams
Branded entertainment is becoming increasingly important in the modern world where it seems harder than ever to connect and engage with consumers. When done right branded entertainment communicates a brand’s personality/attributes in a way that even cynical, spin savvy consumers enjoy.

A relatively new way that brands are achieving this is through videogames. After all, who doesn’t love games! They’re a great way to escape and relax, but some are designed to do more than just that.

Take American Mexican chain, Chipotle, with its free mobile game that follows a scarecrow’s quest for healthier, less processed food. The main character of the scarecrow immediately aligns Chipotle with farmers and his quest for organic produce reflects Chipotle values. Throughout the game the scarecrow works against big fast food chains, separating Chipotle from its competitors in the mind of players. The game was launched with an animated short film that wouldn’t look out of place on a Pixar DVD. It has already racked up over 12 million views.

Closer to home, the iconic Australian Freddo Frog also starred in an animated series and online game. Cadbury had been losing younger buyers to Kinder Surprise because of the added value of the toy. So Cadbury created a game and animated series where Freddo and his friends go on an adventure. Just like the Chipotle Scarecrow the game had no obvious advertising hidden within it, other than using the well-known and easily associated Freddo as its main character. So the next time a child goes to the supermarket maybe they are going to ask mum to buy their new hero, Freddo.

In many ways this type of branded entertainment seems modern and cutting edge. However, when you think about it, how different are today’s animated stories and games from how Kellogg’s offered games on the back of cereal boxes and branded picture books way back in 1909? Perhaps the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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