The hottest trend in brand marketing right now is the very thing that has fueled traditional advertising's ongoing evolution: Brands are bypassing traditional media outlets in favor of creating their own private media platforms. That's right, brands are becoming the media.
Savvy marketers have realized that for the same price they once paid for a glossy ad or 30-second TV spot, they can now own their fully branded publication, video series, or interactive online platform.
Moreover, they're providing the same high-quality and engaging content found in those third-party publications and broadcast outlets, offering it to mainstream audiences for free and, in essence, competing with those very outlets that used to serve their advertising needs.
Of course, as new media channels continue to emerge, audiences become more dispersed, creating an urgent need for brands to spread their efforts across channels to capture the attention of their target audiences.
That fact alone negates the logic once used to rationalize huge ad spends on single outlets or mediums. Knowing that marketers must find revolutionary methods of enticing customers and prospects to engage with their brands, what better method is there than for brands to simply become the media?
Cases in Point
That's the theory, but exactly which brands are becoming the media? I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, U.S. Wellness Meats, Nike, Gillette, Kikkoman, and hundreds of others.
Consider Unilever. Its new-media initiative for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! features Spraychel—the brand's animated mascot—and her adventures in the fridge.