Branded Entertainment Gets a Measurement System

NextMedium Software Scores Potential Reach of Integration Deals

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NEW YORK -- Branded integrations are many things, but "measurable" is not often a word that can easily be used to describe them. But NextMedium, a branded-entertainment company based in Los Angeles, is bringing accountability and detailed metrics to the art of product placement.

NextMedium's software, called Embed Intelligence, allows marketers to track their integrations through historical, competitive and predictive analysis, including detailed demographics and a comparative view of integrations for similar products. The technology gives each integration a "E-IQ score" to give value to the potential reach an integration could generate. The NextMedium website even details the available audience impressions for brand marketers by category (food and beverage seem to hold a distinct advantage).

More measurability
Hamet Watt, NextMedium's chairman and founder, said brand integration has been notoriously tough for brand managers and CMOs when it comes to determining scale, but having more measurability behind the deals could be what makes integrations a larger part of the media mix.

"If a brand manager wants desired outcomes, or even to influence the trial of his or her product, they can create awareness in some of these target settings or some target demos that they're not able to reach through other media," he said.

Mr. Watt said there's still not enough being spent on brand integrations in the TV marketplace, as the majority of those unspent dollars go to online and in virtual worlds.

"I think folks are starting to think outside the box, thinking, 'How do I do something different to connect with my target market?' There are forms of advertising that are probably more receptive to using the interruptive format to deliver a message," he said.

Consumers more receptive
Recent conversations with consumer psychologists have also confirmed the growing consumer interest in being more receptive to advertising in nontraditional vehicles, he added. "They've found that [consumers] are less likely to respond favorably when being interrupted, but if they're told something very relevant to them, it's a good proxy for how it works in marketing."

Anneli Finn, product manager for Gillette, has been using Embed Intelligence for the P&G razor and said the true value of integration had been "elusive at best" prior to her use of the software. "It is now an important part of our measurement toolbox," she added.

But packaged-goods marketers have long been the biggest spenders and players in branded integration. So Mr. Watt is eyeing key marketers in the restaurant, wireless and technology categories to drive future growth, with a particular value for apparel. The CW is an example of one TV network leveraging its partnerships with clothing companies by creating an online store where viewers can purchase the clothes seen on "Gossip Girl" and "America's Next Top Model." Mr. Watt sees this as a hopeful sign of innovations to come in that space. "The return one gets on the apparel side is pretty phenomenal. Yet arguably all those brands are spending all their money on print."
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