Here are a couple interesting articles from the past week.
The first is from the Wall Street Journal. It explores the struggles Anheuser-Bush has had with its Bud.TV content. Intended as a way to engage their customers online with Budweiser-branded content, the site has fallen well shorts of its goals.
“Traffic to the site sank 40% in March to 152,000 from the month earlier, according to data from tracking service comScore. Traffic to the site in April was so low it didn’t meet the threshold for measurability, according to data from comScore. That’s a far cry from the three million to five million unique monthly visitors the company estimated it would eventually attract to the site.”
“Bud.TV’s fate has been watched on Madison Avenue, mainly because it marks one of the most aggressive efforts by a nonentertainment company to create entertainment as a way to subtly promote products. The brewer has already put about $15 million into the site, almost a third of its annual Web-advertising budget.”
(read the entire article here)
MediaPost’s Steve Smith analyzes the prospects for Sprite’s upcoming Sprite Yard mobile phone-based social network:
“Only Coke could actually believe that people are so wedded to their Sprite brand, that we as consumers have such affection for it, that we would want to live in its world. “Wouldn’t we all like to be LYMONS?” I can hear the pitch going. And who in that room of Coke executives, and marketers beholden to Coke, is going to remind everyone that no one ever was a Pepper and no one wants to be a Lymon? It’s the same weird, pre-digital hubris that led TV networks to think that we really did just spend evenings with CBS and NBC, that consumers are minions who love our brands. Only corporate senior management and their families really “love” the brand, because that brand is responsible for funding their beach house in the Hamptons.”
(read the entire column here)
The role of branded-content in the future remains unsettled. As Smith suggests, marketers who overestimate the public’s affinity for their brands will be tempted to opt for a go-it-alone strategy. Savvier marketers will build bridges not walls, and expand the audience for their branded-content through advertising and partnerships.