When the movie Think Like a Man found itself in the number one slot over this past summer, while it was advertised as being a “cute romantic comedy” (and it was), if you were really paying close attention, you realized that it was also an 82-minute ad for the comedian and Family Feud host, Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. The book was discussed and purchased by the characters all throughout the film and there were even times when Harvey quoted insights directly from it.
This is the kind of mass-marketing approach that a lot of people and businesses seem to be taking these days. Another example would be the billion-dollar furniture company, IKEA. They have created their own web show that is centered entirely around their furniture products too. Well, at least the set is.
With a title that is sure to be a play-on words, “Easy to Assemble” is an online comedy series whose main character is a woman by the name of Ms. Douglas. The premise of her story is that she is someone who leaves her Hollywood life to become an employee at a furniture store in Burbank, California.
Already, just three seasons in, the web-access only show has garnered quite a following and a guest start listing including Jeff Goldblum and Tom Arnold. Those are a couple of reasons why it’s an appealing feature. It’s also a program that has no ads and so that’s an added bonus. Actually, the “no ad” thing is not entirely true. There is one huge advertisement and that’s the fact that the furniture store set is an IKEA one. (Brilliant move, IKEA!)
So, with its cute storylines and quirky humor, has this web show that was created by Illeana Douglas (who also serves as the lead actress) and is co-produced by IKEA shown any real financial strides? Well, when it comes to the numbers game, reportedly, fans of “Easy to Assemble” have shared it on their social media platforms over 1.5 million times. As a direct result, it has caused IKEA to actually triple their efforts when it comes to creating branded content. Matter of fact, they have announced that 2-3% of their global marketing budget will now go to entertainment branding.
We’ve seen evidence of IKEA’s “entertainment marketing mind”, even off of the web. Fix This Kitchen is a 30-minute program that is hosted by Nicole Facciuto and Eric Greenspan. What they do is surprise cookers at home by totally remodeling their outdated kitchens with products from IKEA.
And this approach will help to make IKEA more money? Well, according to an analyst at Latitude Research, that’s exactly what it will do. According to his third-party research, there’s an 80% chance that fans of the show will either go into IKEA to purchase something that they saw on the program or they will recommend one of the items to someone else. It’s not just limited to IKEA. Chances are, if the show had Palliser furniture featured, then viewers of the program would probably purchase that brand instead.
This is all pretty smart, considering most people will flick through commercials and in some ways both of these examples are simply really long commercials. But hey, if you can get people to want your product by pitching in an entertaining way, then you’ve found an ingenious formula: people looking at your merchandise for many minutes at a time and then wanting to purchase it (or at least think about purchasing it) when the “show” is over. Again, simply brilliant.