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How Brands Are Becoming the Media (and Why Your Brand Should Probably Do the Same)

by Gordon Plutsky  |  
January 5, 2010

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.

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Gordon Plutsky is the director of marketing and research at King Fish Media (

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  • by Kevin Horne Tue Jan 5, 2010 via web

    Why do these articles always have headlines that spoil the essence of what the author intends? This is well researched and backed up with several quality cases (altho showing quantitative results would have been nice as a proof point). But the headline is off on some tangent that can never be paid off.

    Brands aren't "becoming" or replacing media. (You said so yourself in the third-to-last paragraph.) Smart marketers have always used private media - think newsletters and emails to current customers. It is just that today's technology allows us to take it to a whole new level (video, social media). And those points from your article shouldn't be missed.

    Taken to its extreme, however, you get BudTV.

  • by BP Singh Tue Jan 5, 2010 via web

    A well researched paper.

    Brands also become authority on the product, by product, its method of usage over a period of consistent effort of being media and thereby attracting not only tangible customers but intangible trust on the brand and feedback at first instant to improve.

  • by Fabio Capello Lookalike (England Football Manager) Mon Jan 11, 2010 via web

    As a professional lookalike as Fabio Capello, thought I would take this opportunity of a thumbs up for your article and an also an opportunity to promote myself - www.fabiocapellolookalike If you want to stand out fromt he crowd use my services for marketing campaigns, shoots, promotional activity, corporate events etc...

    Nothing like raising ones profile through media!

    Regards Michael McElhinney

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