MediaWorks: How do you measure whether branded entertainment is working?
Mr. Pincus: We're working on something right now for a brand, and we've been asking ourselves a lot of those questions. It falls into a couple of different categories: How are you resonating with the consumer and changing their perception overall? Are you creating some sort of closeness or interaction with the brand that's positive? And with the media itself, how much value can you ascribe to the content and to the promotion around the content? You have to look at branded entertainment the way you would look at an entertainment property. You know, there are ratings, reviews, etc., but at some level, what we are doing has to function as entertainment. It should be evaluated from that standpoint as well. You could put something on the air once because it was a good deal for everybody, but if it doesn't work as entertainment, nobody's going to want to do that again.
MediaWorks: What's working in branded entertainment?
Mr. Pincus: There has been some terrific entertainment content that has worked and become the basis of 30-second spots. Multiplatform entertainment content that has a community element as well [also has worked]. So it's not just about watching a show online and interacting with the show, but about taking advantage of what the internet does really well, which is creating a formula around an area of interest.
MediaWorks: Are there specific campaigns you've found effective?
Mr. Pincus: The "Hammer and Coop" [ film series], which was done for Mini, was really well-executed. I don't know how well it functions as branded entertainment, but I thought as entertainment it worked really well, because I saw an insert in a magazine and out of home for it as well, then went to look at it. They are supporting it in a range of ways.
MediaWorks: Can you talk about some of the ways MediaCom is trying to make branded entertainment work?
Mr. Pincus: One way is to look at what [our clients] are already doing and think about ways we can build on that -- whether that's sponsorship of an event, or a relationship they have with talent, or an experiential platform that they have out in the world. We find ways to make that resonate more, reach more people -- just basically be more effective.
MediaWorks: Do you think consumers are wary of marketing being woven into entertainment? Are they at a point where they expect to be marketed to while being entertained?
Mr. Pincus: I don't think there is a universal answer to that. At some level consumers are more familiar with the idea that brands are going to be woven into content, and if it's done well, it's fine. But if it's done in a really overt and forced way, it's not fine.