Are you ready for ‘Citizen Advertainment’?

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A new era of brand infiltration is on our doorstep…

By Adam Vincenzini

I noticed a bunch of chatter on Twitter last night referring to the overtly blatant, but somehow palatable, brand / product placement in the new Lady Gaga video, “Telephone”.

This subject is nothing THAT new of course, but it did show how sophisticated branded content or advertainment has become.

‘Advertainment’ and brands

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘advertainment’, Wikipedia describes it as:

A form of communication that combines the elements of advertising and entertainment which is designed to overcome the tendency, especially among television viewers, to change channels or mute the audio during standard television commercials.

This isn’t just applicable to television.

Social networks, radio programmes, magazines and online news all serve up incredible amounts of content driven by and / or featuring brands.

A new era: ‘Citizen Advertainment’

What we might be on the verge of seeing is the coming together of two activities, that we perhaps never thought would be commercially important enough for brands to pursue until now.

I’m talking about ‘Citizen Journalism’ i.e. Bloggers and ‘Advertainment’, which fused together creates ‘Citizen Advertainment.’

The rise of Social Media, the instant ‘fame’ that can be created via vehicles like Twitter and Blogs has suddenly made the ‘everyday Joe’ incredibly influential.

These people are also much easier to trust because we don’t put them on a ‘pedelstal’ and don’t consider them as ‘tainted’ as we might do with a ‘conventional’ celebrity.

What does this mean and what impact will it have?

It’s pretty simple.

The smart brands will look at the conventional model, of which Lady Gaga’s video is a great example, and produce content in consultation with these influencers.

They won’t ‘pitch’ stories at them, nor will they pay them to feature content on their Blogs.

What they will do is create platforms that will not compromise the ‘brand essence’ of the parties collaborating, providing the consumers with entertainment they trust and can easily engage with.

‘Citizen Advertainment’ is already happening…now, perhaps, we have a fancy term for it…which I’ll happily claim unless Google proves me wrong (and no, that was not a branded plug for Google).


Note: You can view the 9 minute epic that is Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video below.

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