The “traditional” market for advertising has evolved. In the early days of radio and television, sponsors and producers–working together–created media experiences that delivered entertainment value to listeners and viewers, while boosting sponsor sales. Audiences were voluntary participants in the marketing message; their engagement in the content transferred directly to engagement with the brand. The J.L. Kraft Company of Chicago sponsored many radio programs from the Kraft Music Hall. Now they sponsor one of my favorite online projects, The Real Women of Philadelphia.
The 21st century market creates similar challenges and opportunities. If today’s media consumer can sidestep or switch off advertising messages at will, the endless chase for captive viewers will end in disappointment. Broadcast spots will yield increasingly poor results.
If brands are to thrive in this new landscape, they will have to offer an opportunity to participate. They must provide consumer engagement. This means creating new experiences which intrigue, provoke and captivate viewers.
Enter the age of branded content. And—StoryTrack. Lisa Constance, VP of Operations, spearheaded a webseries produced for Ford Motor Company’s Transit Connect. Step one included casting expert talent, Mario Armstrong, who is a regular commentator to CNN/HLN, The TODAY Show, NPR Morning Edition, and Sirius/XM. Constance and Dowd created Driven: Business Tips from The Road. If offered business insights while subtly highlighting the benefits of the transit connect for mobile business operators.