article in yesterday's New York Times featured advertisers who are sponsoring web-specific entertainment developed by the same studios that create shows for the leading network and cable outlets. Likening it to the early days of radio and television where companies provided direct funding for name sponsorship, the premise is that these shows delivered through a branded portal will somehow increase consumer engagement with the brand. While in theory, this may be true, the practice as demonstrated by the few samples referenced in the article leads me to believe this model may not be ready for prime time.
I may be in the minority in this opinion, but a lot of the programming on network and cable TV isn't very good. (Can someone please tell me how Two and a half men is still on the air?) And pushing more bad content out to a public, no matter how captive, isn't going to help advertisers. Just how does a badly written, poorly acted, three-and-a-half-minute sitcom about an insurance agent who can understand what a dog is saying help American Family Insurance "engage with our consumers in a broader way, on a deeper level?"
Quality matters in every consumer interaction, whether it's your product, your customer service, or your communications. Rather than create their own mediocre entertainment (I'm being generous here), why not find something interesting and original like Chad Vader and sponsor it?
Frankly, if anything this made me feel worse about AmFam. They took three minutes of my life that I'll never get back.