In a world where content is king, how can you harness the power of great programming to promote your brand?
“This branded entertainment study is a first of its kind for the UK media industry. It is the result of a comprehensive review into the latest scientific evidence in the field, specialist behavioural science knowledge, and ground-breaking primary research using eye-tracking technology, qualitative interviews and quantitative measurements."
Richard Chataway VP BVA Nudge Unit
Here are eight top facts from our research project to whet your appetite! If you'd like to see the full deck, use the contact links on this page to get in touch.
- Branded Entertainment is an effective medium for engaging viewers with a ‘softer sell’, increasing brand resonance and creating greater engagement with content. Channel 4 programmes achieved positive results across brands in our research for recall, attitudes and purchase intention.
- Branded Entertainment had a positive impact across all the KPIs we tested. With significant shifts for Spontaneous Brand Awareness (+46%), Brand Perceptions (+24%) and Prompted Consideration (+16%). Results suggested that Branded Entertainment can drive short term action, as well as longer term brand results.
- The branded programmes were well received, with over 7 out of 10 viewers liking what they watched and scoring it high on quality (75%), being entertaining (69%) and original (73%). 80% felt ‘it’s the sort of programme I’d expect from Channel 4’ and 60% would talk to others about the programme they watched.
- Branded entertainment works by building connections in our memory between enjoyable content and a brand - and transferring the positive emotion from one to the other. It relies on ‘brand rub’, the idea that the key attributes of the host environment will rub off on the brand.
- The biggest difference we saw between Branded Entertainment and traditional spot advertising was in Brand Perceptions. Using a whole programme, there is a huge opportunity to land a message about your brand, through the host environment and the power of the content. Brand perceptions were boosted by +29% when exposed to the Branded Entertainment in comparison with a spot ad of for the same brand.
- The presence of a brand and knowledge that a programme is funded by a brand doesn’t have a negative impact on the programme. Whilst 60% find their enjoyment of the programme is unaffected by brand involvement, 29% feel more positive about a show when a brand is involved and only 11% feeling negative. We found that viewers build positive associations with a brand if they feel that the brand is committed to supporting programming that they enjoy.
- In turn, 44% feel more positive about a brand after seeing it in a programme, with low levels of negativity at 4%. These partnerships have an overall net positive impact on both the programme and the brand. 75% said ‘the branding didn’t affect my enjoyment of the programme’
- Activation is a key way to ensure you get the most out of Branded Entertainment. On average, a spot is significantly more likely to be recalled (+20%) if placed in an ad break around a Branded Entertainment programme. We also found the spot is more likely to be seen as ‘relevant to me’ (+30%) if viewed in the same context.
The research was first press-released on 25th June 2020 - below is the full text of the announcement;
Channel 4 reveals results from first of its kind study into TV Branded Entertainment
- Branded Entertainment can boost brand perceptions +29% vs. a traditional spot advertisement
- 44% feel more positive about a brand after seeing it in a programme
- Six in ten viewers feel positive about Branded Entertainment as an approach to advertising – appealing particularly well to younger audiences
- Channel 4 announces new partnership with Extra® for branded entertainment series Celebs Go Virtual Dating on E4
- Age UK and Uber reveal Branded Entertainment results
Channel 4 has unveiled the results from the most comprehensive study into the effectiveness of TV Branded Entertainment - a first of its kind for the UK media industry.
According to the study, Branded Entertainment significantly increased brand engagement and drove positive viewer perceptions - transferring the positive emotions created by an entertaining programme to the brand behind it. This is known as ‘brand rub’ - the idea that the key attributes of the host environment will rub off on the brand.
The study examined a combination of existing academic studies, quantitative and qualitative research into existing Channel 4 Branded Entertainment shows. Extensive analysis of this from behavioural specialists and market research experts at the BVA Group discovered the following:
- Approval of Branded Entertainment is high: Considering ad funded programming is relatively new, six in ten viewers felt positive about Branded Entertainment as an approach to advertising - considering it the third most preferred method after traditional TV spot adverts and sponsorship. Seven in ten viewers also scored it high on quality, entertainment and originality.
- Branded Entertainment particularly appeals to younger audiences: For those more sceptical of advertising, it’s an effective medium for engaging viewers with a ‘softer sell’ than traditional advertising, increasing brand resonance and creating greater engagement with content.
- Brand should have good fit: 84% highly agreed that the brand should have a logical fit with the programme. Branded entertainment works best when the integration and alignment of brand and content is so seamless that viewers will associate the two with minimal prompting or mention of the brand. A strong fit also boosts programme approval and had a positive impact across all KPIs tested*.
- Branded Entertainment can boost brand perceptions +29% vs. a traditional spot advertisement: The most significant difference seen between Branded Entertainment and traditional spot advertising was in Brand Perceptions. Using a whole programme, there is space to land a message about a brand, through the host environment and the power of the content.
- Viewers build positive associations with a brand when they feel it’s committed to supporting programming they enjoy: Whilst 60% find their enjoyment of the programme is unaffected by brand involvement, 29% feel more positive about a show if a brand is involved and only 11% feeling negative. In turn, 44% feel more positive about a brand after seeing it in a programme, with only 4% feeling negative.
Sophie Lloyd, Branded Entertainment & Creative Leader, Channel 4 said: “We’ve always believed branded entertainment delivers for brands but with this - the first research of its kind- we now have proof. It’s an opportunity for brands to co create quality editorial entertainment and weave their values and messages through storytelling and narratives that viewers want to engage with. This research reflects the commitment from C4 to deliver entertaining and engaging programming, in partnerships with brands and the results from the research will enable us to do this as effectively as possible.”
Extra® chewing gum joins forces with Channel 4 and Lime Pictures for Celebs Go Virtual Dating
Channel 4 and Lime Pictures have partnered with Extra Chewing Gum to create a spin off series of E4’s Celebs Go Dating, it’s been announced today. Celebs Go Virtual Dating will follow celebrities as they navigate dating during lockdown and beyond.
The partnership was brokered by 4Sales, Lime Pictures and MediaCom and will also include bespoke sponsorship idents and in show product placement. Branded social content featuring Celebs Go Virtual Dating talent will also be hosted on E4, Celebs Go Dating and Extra Chewing Gum’s social media platforms via Channel 4’s 4 Studio.
Case study results and endorsements
Age UK saw significant changes in brand perceptions after people watched Old Peoples Home for 4 Year Olds on Channel 4. Being an ‘uplifting brand’ saw a statistically significant +51% increase, whilst being ‘caring and compassionate’ jumped +29% as a result of their partnership with the programme.
Uber also saw huge brand perception shifts through showing the human side of the brand through Where to Britain? The perception that Uber has friendly drivers increased by +95% and having a ‘sense of humour’ saw an increase of +105%.
Harriet Foxwell, head of brand marketing at the British Heart Foundation said: “In partnership with Channel 4 and building from a much-loved programme, the 24 Hours in A&E: Heart Special provided us with a unique and very powerful opportunity to show the importance of our research. It helped to make the link between the work of BHF funded researchers and the treatments which change and saves lives every day. The results speak for themselves. Not only did we raise awareness of the BHF’s lifesaving research, but we inspired considerable support too. The donations we were able to generate surpassed all of our fundraising targets for the partnership and will help us to continue to beat the heartbreak caused by heart and circulatory conditions”.
Other Channel 4 shows developed in partnership with brands include Extreme Everest with Ant Middleton (in partnership with energy drink firm Berocca), All Star Driving School (auto manufacturer Suzuki), and Britain’s Unsung Heros (in partnership with TSB and produced by ITN Productions for Channel 4.)
WTF is Brand Ents? is the most comprehensive study into the effectiveness of TV Branded Entertainment - a first of its kind for the UK media industry. Channel 4 partnered with independent research agency BVA BDRC on a three-pronged approach:
- BVA NUDGE UNIT: Behavioural science existing evidence review to provide the base to understand the effectiveness of Branded Entertainment
- BVA BDRC: Quantitative research amongst an online sample of 1,600 respondents, exposed to a variety of Channel 4 Branded Entertainment. We developed an intricate cell testing model to test 8 different programmes. Each cell had a different exposure level, with some seeing only the Branded Entertainment content, with others having a spot ad, digital ad or homepage takeover added into the mix. We also collected self-filmed video content and did dial testing with 180 respondents.
- PRS IN VIVO: Qualitative research amongst 12 Channel 4 viewers in a realistic home environment – combining eye-tracking technology and in-depth interviews.