Sunday, October 19, 2008

Give your category a shot in the arm

One of the simple (and often overlooked) virtues of brand entertainment is its ability to influence category growth. Brand entertainment can be very effective in stimulating consumer demand and giving the category a leg up.

A good example of this is The Block, 'the original' Aussie renovation show. Crass and gratuitous product placement eventually sent its ratings into freefall (who could forget the chocolate cameos) but at its peak The Block was delivering 3million + viewers.

The program tapped into our burgeoning obsession with home renovation and spawned a bunch of copycat formats. It picked us up off the couch and sent us rushing off to purchase matching tablewares. It inspired bathroom makeovers and kitchen refreshers. Not to mention our greedy appetite for home lifestyle magazines.

Similarly, UK hardware retailer B&Q invested a million pounds several years back in a DIY show for ITV. Due to the UK's hefty restrictions on in-program advertising, its association was limited to run of the mill sponsorship benefits. However B&Q's primary purpose was to drive growth in a flat category. The company knew they would directly benefit from the flow on effect in sales.

The deteriorating economic situation means some categories are already under pressure. This is the ideal time for brands to explore entertainment opportunities which might give their category that much needed shot in the arm.

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