Remember Entourage? You know, Vince and the gang? The Hollywood parties? The celebrity cameos? Jeremy Piven with hair? Remember how the show was basically one big commercial?
It’s true. Go back and watch an episode. See if you can go eight seconds without spotting a brand, be that personal or corporate. Tired yet?
Due to it’s (lack of) storyline, Entourage is easily overlooked as anything other than a pretty surface-level (arguably misogynistic) drama about an easygoing A-list celebrity. But where it failed to win any storytelling awards, it was nonetheless a pioneer in video advertising.
In this blog post we’ll take a quick look at the two most important takeaways that Entourage has for the video advertiser of 2015.
Native Advertising = Product Placement but Better
Native advertising is the big talk in the industry, and not without good reason. Take the unquestionably successful Purina/Buzzfeed relationship, for instance. By harmonizing entertainment with branding using the free time now available in the online context, native advertising has the capacity to do things previously dreamed impossible: like a three-minute commercial about cat food.
But isn’t native advertising just a new word for plain ol’ (mostly publication-based) product or service placement?
Actually, the answer is no. There is one small but important difference: native advertising aspires to transcend the boundary between product and entertainment. It’s not a placement of a product within another story; the product is the story.
Jimmy Kimmel Tonight was only in its second season when it featured on the first season of Entourage (2004), but even then you could see both Kimmel and Entourage series creator Doug Ellin’s acumen when it comes to this new school of advertising. Kimmel’s show isn’t inserted into Entourage at some point; Kimmel’s show is the episode.
Check it out:
(Remember this episode? Where Vince is tasked with—wait for it—endorsing a product on Jimmy Kimmel tonight? This is some inception-level stuff, folks.)
It’s all so ubiquitous that if you aren’t paying attention, you don’t even realize the pure business that is transpiring here. It’s a brilliant, win-win relationship for both shows and Kimmel’s personal brand.