Towards a definition for branded entertainment: An exploratory study

Van Loggerenberg, Marthinus JC ; Enslin, Carla ; Terblanche-Smit, Marlize (2019-07-22)

CITATION: Marthinus JC van Loggerenberg, Carla Enslin & Marlize Terblanche-Smit (2021) Towards a definition for branded entertainment: An exploratory study, Journal of Marketing Communications, 27:3, 322-342, doi: 10.1080/13527266.2019.1643395

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Branded entertainment seemingly holds varied meanings. This is of concern as the discipline is growing in importance as a means to disrupt conventional brand communication practice. One can compare this problem to an industry that for argument’s sake does not understand or agree on the fundamental principles of advertising or public relations, resulting in ineffective communication efforts. The lack of a cohesive understanding and application of branded entertainment erodes its core value, which is to breakthrough clutter and connect with audiences through authentic narrative; thus, the potential for branded entertainment to achieve resonance is depleted. Brand resonance builds brands strategically. This exploratory study engaged the perceptions of globally recognized brand communication decision makers across six continents on defining branded entertainment. We conducted interviews with planners and creators of award-winning branded entertainment campaigns that were recognized by multiple Grand Prix and Gold wins at the world’s most respected advertising award shows. The research delivers a proposed definition: Branded entertainment is a communication effort that employs a compelling authentic narrative to achieve brand resonance. This definition can guide academics and practitioners on branded entertainment practice for strategic brand-building success.

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