Advanced Television

Channel 4: “Branded entertainment boosts brand perceptions”

June 25, 2020

According to a Channel 4 study, branded entertainment significantly increased brand engagement and drove positive viewer perceptions – transferring the positive emotions created by an entertaining programme to the brand behind it.

The study examined a combination of existing academic studies, quantitative and qualitative research into existing Channel 4 branded entertainment shows. Extensive analysis of this from behavioural specialists and market research experts at the BVA Group discovered the following:

  • Approval of branded entertainment is high: Considering ad funded programming is relatively new, six in ten viewers felt positive about branded entertainment as an approach to advertising – considering it the third most preferred method after traditional TV spot adverts and sponsorship. Seven in ten viewers also scored it high on quality, entertainment and originality.
  • Branded entertainment particularly appeals to younger audiences: For those more sceptical of advertising, it’s an effective medium for engaging viewers with a ‘softer sell’ than traditional advertising, increasing brand resonance and creating greater engagement with content.
  • Brand should have good fit: 84 per cent highly agreed that the brand should have a logical fit with the programme. Branded entertainment works best when the integration and alignment of brand and content is so seamless that viewers will associate the two with minimal prompting or mention of the brand. A strong fit also boosts programme approval and had a positive impact across all KPIs tested.
  • Branded entertainment can boost brand perceptions +29 per cent vs. a traditional spot advertisement: The most significant difference seen between branded entertainment and traditional spot advertising was in Brand Perceptions. Using a whole programme, there is space to land a message about a brand, through the host environment and the power of the content.
  • Viewers build positive associations with a brand when they feel it’s committed to supporting programming they enjoy: Whilst 60 per cent find their enjoyment of the programme is unaffected by brand involvement, 29 per cent feel more positive about a show if a brand is involved and only 11 per cent feeling negative. In turn, 44 per cent feel more positive about a brand after seeing it in a programme, with only 4 per cent feeling negative.

Sophie Lloyd, Branded Entertainment & Creative Leader, Channel 4 said: “We’ve always believed branded entertainment delivers for brands but with this – the first research of its kind – we now have proof. It’s an opportunity for brands to co create quality editorial entertainment and weave their values and messages through storytelling and narratives that viewers want to engage with. This research reflects the commitment from C4 to deliver entertaining and engaging programming, in partnerships with brands and the results from the research will enable us to do this as effectively as possible.”

Case study results and endorsements

Age UK saw significant changes in brand perceptions after people watched Old Peoples Home for 4 Year Olds on Channel 4. Being an ‘uplifting brand’ saw a statistically significant +51 per cent increase, whilst being ‘caring and compassionate’ jumped +29 per cent as a result of their partnership with the programme.

Uber also saw huge brand perception shifts through showing the human side of the brand through Where to Britain? The perception that Uber has friendly drivers increased by +95 per cent and having a ‘sense of humour’ saw an increase of +105 per cent.

Harriet Foxwell, head of brand marketing at the British Heart Foundation said: “In partnership with Channel 4 and building from a much-loved programme, the 24 Hours in A&E: Heart Special provided us with a unique and very powerful opportunity to show the importance of our research. It helped to make the link between the work of BHF funded researchers and the treatments which change and saves lives every day. The results speak for themselves. Not only did we raise awareness of the BHF’s lifesaving research but we inspired considerable support too.  The donations we were able to generate surpassed all of our fundraising targets for the partnership and will help us to continue to beat the heartbreak caused by heart and circulatory conditions.”

Other Channel 4 shows developed in partnership with brands include Extreme Everest with Ant Middleton (in partnership with Berocca – a dissolvable flavoured mineral supplement in the form of a tablet), All Star Driving School (auto manufacturer Suzuki), and Britain’s Unsung Heros (in partnership with TSB and produced by ITN Productions for Channel 4.)


Categories: Ads, Advertising, Articles, Broadcast, Consumer Behaviour, Research

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