Branded Entertainment

Nice Work Productions sprang from the realization that broadcast marketing can no longer happen thirty seconds at a time. Audience fragmentation and advertising clutter have eroded the effectiveness of TV commercials for years. Now add newer technologies to the list—timeshifted viewing on DVRs, computers and mobile devices, and three-screen viewers who simply tune the commercials out while they surf, text and tweet between the content – and you start to appreciate the challenges of making an impact.

That’s why Nice Work has developed a model that puts high-quality television programs at the center of multi-faceted marketing campaigns.  On-air value is derived from a menu of marketing assets:  program entitlement, executive on-air appearances, and original, program-specific advertising and product placements that connect content with brands without ever commiting the cardinal sin of sounding like an infomercial.

Here’s How It Works:

It’s always good to see concepts in action so, to illustrate our take on branded entertainment, we’ll walk you through our project design for FIRST in Michigan Robotics State Championship Powered by Chevrolet.

1. Come Up With The Idea

FIRST Robotics reframes math, science and engineering for students by making them part of a competitive sport.  The results are stunning, but everyone else was doing documentaries.  We recognized that FIRST needed to be given the full sports treatment to make it a viable branding platform.  We met with the content holder, they liked the idea too and a collaboration was born.

2. Get It Seen

Once you have the idea, what’s the best way to get it seen?  Network commission?  Webcast?  Public TV?  Since the goal was to place the FIRST State Championships in the realm of sporting events, we decided to do market-by-market barter syndication with ABC stations all across Michigan (they carry LOTS of sports).  The community connections that were created were good for the stations too.  For the FIRST Robotics project, we even provided stations with all the tune-in advertising they’d need.

3. Give Props To Our Sponsor

Okay, it’s not ground-breaking, but it’s still important.  The sponsor entitlement was featured in the open, coming back from all commercial breaks, in the tune-in advertising (promos), on station websites, and even the programming grids.  Finally, we arranged to have local dealers position Chevy vehicles in high-visibility, high-traffic areas inside and outside the venue.

4. Show Company Involvement

In collaboration with FIRST in Michigan, we found a highly positioned executive at GM with an organic and longstanding commitment to FIRST Robotics.  Then we built him into the show and let him speak from the heart.  Twice!

5. Connect The Show With The Brand

FIRST has a lot of kids who want to be engineers, so we brought in a product specialist to answer questions, then had the kids tell us what most impressed them about the Chevy Volt.  Our approach to the on-site vehicle elevated it from a “potted plant” to a running element organically connected with the content.

Off-air we use the shows themselves, expanded features and bonus content to power program-related websites, drive community events and get customers into stores.