Marketing & Public Relations:
Patricia Censoprano
Senior Vice President -
Marketing & PR
Telephone: +1 917 287 2824

Jimmy Smith of Amusement Park Entertainment talks about Branded Entertainment

30 May 2019
Branded Entertainment has been a category in all the major shows for a good chunk of time, with LIA leading the way and being one of the early adopters. Some folks believe Fallon’s BMW Films in 2001 kicked things off or TBWA\Chiat\Day’s GATORADE REPLAY in 2009. But in reality, branded entertainment goes much further back than that. For example, in 1930, Street & Smith Publishing hired the ad agency Ruthrauff & Ryan to promote its magazine THE SHADOW, by way of a radio series. In 1965, McCann-Erickson and Coca-Cola were the reason we got the annual A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS special. Coca-Cola and McCann-Erickson did it again with the song I’D LIKE TO BUY THE WORLD A COKE, which was later titled “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” which made it to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1972. On top of that, it was co-written by a legendary ad cat Bill Backer.
And you don’t really think that in 2002 Nelly wrote AIR FORCE ONES (which charted #3 on Billboard Hot 100) just for his health do you?
Of course, product sales associated with each of the above branded entertainment pieces were D-O-P-E. Let me repeat: D-O-P-E.
So, why aren’t there more clients and agencies creating more branded entertainment? Particularly when there are many Gen Z and Millennials who don’t even know what a :30 spot is because they’re watching Netflix, playing Fortnite or doing everything but watching network TV?
Mind you, that information isn’t just coming from me – the man whose company, Amusement Park, exists specifically to create branded entertainment IP. Recently, one of the world’s top network TV advertisers approached us about creating an OTT branded entertainment property for its flagship brand. Why? “Millennials aren’t watching network TV.” The brand’s words, not mine.
In fact, every brand that rings up Amusement Park knows this fact. I used to think I was telling potential clients something they didn’t know. But with all of the research and data that brands have at their fingertips, they’ve seen enough facts and information (and opinions) to build an old school brick & mortar library.
Soooooooooooo, why aren’t more brands sounding the alarm – turning the Titanic to avoid the iceberg? Here are 5 reasons that flat out paralyze brands, and for that matter … ad agencies, too:

If I had a dime for every time some ad conference speaker said, “You can’t be afraid to take chances! You must be fearless! You can’t play it safe! We must be brave!” I could afford to offer Dan and David enough for W+K that it would give them cause to pause! HA HA HA HA
Most brand CMOs prefer to focus on the negative (“What if it bombs?”), as opposed to the positive (“What if it works?”). Which we all know is no way to do your job and be successful.

It’s easier to live inside The Matrix. Take the train or drive to work. Do the same thing everyday. Punch the clock, go home, kiss the wife or husband, pat the dog, tuck the kids in, wake and do it all over again the next morning.
Or hang out backstage at some music artists concert or sit court side at some NBA game.
I mean the majority of folks (brand and agency folks) don’t want to poke their heads out from The Matrix and actually see what’s happening … like FO REALS!
You’d have to work much too hard to truly think and problem solve. That’s too difficult.
The Matrix is comfy.
We’ve all read and heard various CEOs and Global CMOs preach the need for change and how the old model of :30 spots isn’t working anymore. So, why doesn’t that message trickle down to those who work for them? Oh, it trickles down! It’s just that the structure of the piece of business that the brand managers and brand directors oversee has a metric that doesn’t allow for experimentation, spontaneity and creativity. EVEN IF THEY TRY THAT “HOCUS POCUS” STUFF AND IT WORKS … it’ll simply fall on deaf ears, blind eyes and nincompoops who only know of one way to measure success.

The majority of advertising agencies are not paid to be creative. They aren’t rewarded for coming up with new and inventive IP and entertainment that generates cultural explosions that move product at epic rates.
The vast majority of agencies and holding companies are paid to place and buy media. So there’s very little incentive for agencies to create what’s right for the brand.
Clients bounce around from agency to agency to agency based on what procurement says, not based on how big the idea is nor how that product invention, video game, app game, feature film, OTT film, event, music video or all of the above can transform a brand and take its sales to new heights.
If my creative and marketing brothas and sistas don’t get it together and wake up, many of you will be at home watching a bunch of robots do your jobs.
Now, if you’re one of those people who believes machines will eventually out create human beings … well, you simply don’t understand who your Creator is.
Godspeed - Jimmy
 Jimmy Smith
Partner / Chairman / CCO