Friday, October 31, 2008

why brands are the new entertainers

Back in the 1880s, the industrial revolution meant at least two things for Americans. They had cash and they had time. This in turn meant they wanted a little entertainment. And regular like. Vaudeville evolved from the old variety show format to meet this need for good wholesome entertainment. The kind you could afford, and take your family to.

These days we've got more cash, less time and we're more entertainment-addicted than ever. Brands, take your places please.

At last week's L21 conference I talked about why brands must become the new entertainers (alongside those other maestros of the time, audiences). The new vaudevillians if you like. And why marketers need to be both masters of conversation and mistresses of entertainment.

In the spirit of a good list, here are 5 reasons to support this:

1. We expect to be entertained. All the time. And in a way that's convenient, relevant and personal.

2. We don't forgive interruptions to our entertainment experiences in the way we once did simply because we don't have to. We can go elsewhere.

3. Our lives are becoming more defined by entertainment. This is reflected in the increasingly social and experiential nature of our entertainment consumption.

4. We're in the age of conversation and entertainment is at the heart of most conversations that happen online. Not to mention at the watercooler.

5. In the 'content cesspool' that is the internet, it's trusted brands and people that can help us both wade through the muck and amplify our entertainment experience.

This isn't an exhaustive list so feel free to add your own No. 6.

If I were Jane McGonigal, I would also talk about the way that brands can engineer happiness by creating an alternate branded reality that's better than our unbranded reality. But I'll leave that to the brilliant lady herself.


Gavin Heaton said...

I do like "masters of conversation and mistresses of entertainment"!

Years ago I read a book called The Experience Economy ... and much of what it said still applies today.

A lot of what is missing from discussions of brands, social media and our changing consumer landscape is around the element of performance. These days it is easy to perform our "selves" ... plenty of channels, opportunities and audiences. If only we were all as polished as the Vaudevillians ;)

Kate Richardson said...

Now you mention it, it's got a kind of sado-masochistic ring to it!

That's a really interesting thought about great to see you post something more on it.

I'm just thinking about the influence this 'performance' element has on our 'real' selves...and the line between what is genuine and what becomes genuine as a result of our performances

the threebillion project said...

6. Advertising is lazy. Imagine if there were no TV shows, no magazines, no films, no billboards. no online publishers. Nothing. Nothing to double-sidey-sticky-tape your sales pitch to. What would you do with your brand?

Simple, go out and create something great.