By Brad Ross, Global Trends Forecasting

Jump in a cab, ride a tram, or merely stand in line at most stores and you will find a live screen, streaming content at you, It has been said that the average American is bombarded with over 5000+ advertisements and brand exposures per day, experiencing more than 208 each hour if he/she were awake all 24 hrs. Over time, though, we have cunningly learned to tune out commercials, which has required marketers to increase creativity by blurring the distinction between entertainment and advertising. No surprise, right? In fact, this is likely the most important macro behavior trend existing today. And subsequently, almost every trend I have covered to date, happens to be a derivative of this one: ENTERTAINMENT.

Today, our global culture not only expects constant entertainment, but downright demands it as a standard of doing business, with the trend only growing. Less obvious, though, is the trajectory and velocity of this entertainment “norm.”

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Take, for example, advertising and its’ recent format change from 30-second spots to 5-minute “mini movies”, as brands use short films, gaming, and interactive campaigns to entice. This new approach is known to as “Advertaining.” From the ad wars of Christmas to the blockbusters of the Superbowl, adverts have upped the ante, offering something completely fresh, original and unexpected.

It all started last summer when Nike released its “Pixar-quality” short film at the World Cup. Bouncing along happily for five-and-a-half minutes, it was an instant online success. Then we evolved to the mobile with fashion brand, “Miu Miu”’s ad campaign in the cinematic short film, “Somebody” (which I referenced in last month’s “Mobile Life the Next Generation” article). It was pure quirkiness, and made for great, entertaining viewing.

With marketing strides like this, the mission is accomplished, where consumers now hardly recognize the line between advertising and entertainment, even deliberately seeking out Advertaining.

As for its’ longevity, this trend is only set to snowball, as consumers are increasingly craving edge-of-your-seat content that engages on a whole new, sensorial level. For example, “Land Rover” recently launched a nail-biting (eight-part) digital thriller, which follows a Land Rover Defender on a gripping adventure through the Scottish Highlands. It comes satisfactorily heightened with a symphony of multi-sensory effects, from moving text to embedded imagery.

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And most importantly, the branded video game, “World”, is powered with the ability to bring the viewer closer to the action, through live-streaming games. This is entirely user-generated content, where someone will play a game and then stream it to the online world, simply because they enjoy it. Savvy companies are happily embracing this new form of “Native Advertising”, where consumers willingly promote for them.  Many companies are reaping large marketing benefits by letting this occur, with millions of views and viewers actively engaged in these brands.

Today we can easily see our insatiable appetite for entertainment and it clearly points to a celebration of suspenseful and/or humorous advertising through creativity. 2017 will be a stealth approach, engaging the consumer through all digital outlets. Successful brands and companies will drill further into this trend, morphing its’ potential into a seamless stream of captivating narratives that embrace ENTERTAINMENT.

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