5 marvelous marketing takeaways from entertainment campaigns

To turn consumers into fans, try playing on emotion, and titillating instead of purely selling.

Entertainment marketing lessons

For anyone in marketing, fan obsession is the holy grail.

Entertainment campaigns excel at gaining this level of brand love, with fans regularly tracking the release of advertising and passionately sharing and deconstructing it online.

Though it doesn’t hurt to have a great movie or TV show to promote, your team can tap into these five key principles from entertainment marketing to elicit such devotion:

1. Make entertainment, not advertising. The best film and TV ads focus on emotion over information, because audiences don’t just want to know something, they want to feel FX makes campaigns on this emotional level, aiming for conversation and shareability over narrative clarity, as in this teaser for “Atlanta” season 2.

2. Tease, don’t tell. Great campaigns practice the art of the tease, withholding information to elicit curiosity. Tease a key story element, and audiences will scour the internet for more. Netflix’s teaser for “13 Reasons Why” season 2 shows how saying as little as possible can create big buzz, with over 14 million views across social media channels.

3. Embrace cinema. In the age of mobile phones, “cinema” doesn’t just mean “big screen.” It’s telling stories through imagery, sound and music, and the artful juxtaposition of all three. Cinematic stories aren’t told in words, but are created in the viewer’s mind. As Alfred Hitchcock said, “I make movies where they don’t have to read the subtitles in Japan.” So should you. HBO’s final “Game Of Thrones” teaser is a prime example.

4. Find strategy in the creative. Strategy is key to reaching the right people, but dwelling on spending months on it before making anything keeps you from being nimble in today’s lightning-fast media landscape. Entertainment marketers create relevant work fast without traditional strategists by building creative teams of bingers, gamers, audiophiles, comic-book collectors, sports fans and film nerds. When a team like this asks, “What do I love about this?” instead of, “What’s the positioning?,” the strategy naturally emerges. What better way to position a new take on Spider-Man than with creatives who grew up on comic books and have the action figures in their edit bays?

5. Think like a fan. To reach today’s media-savvy consumers, you have to listen. That means learning what they like and speaking to them authentically. In essence, brand managers must become fans themselves. For example, Netflix’s social media campaigns feel created by a fellow fanatic, sharing the audience’s enthusiasm for its shows and engaging in conversations via entertaining, UGC-style posts on its Instagram feed that respond to what its community cares about.

These principles of entertainment marketing are a roadmap for non-entertainment marketers looking to navigate changes in the way consumers interact with their brands. If you aspire to build brand love and cultural relevance, thinking of your consumers as fans is a great start.

A version of this post first appeared on MediaPost.

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