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Entertainment Trumps Ads

The worlds of public relations and advertising have merged to form integrated marketing. Historically the efforts of each department have remained separate, but now they have merged with each informing on the other. The result is advertisements and corporate communication so clever that they lead to earned/free media expanding the circulation for free.

As both industries continue to merge the amount of brands that are viewing advertisements as part of a larger public relations strategy are increasing with brands now realizing that the circulation of paid advertising is only circulation round one.

Research proves AOL Digital Prophet Angel Shing is correct in his statement:

“It’s all about content. Nobody wants ads.”

In today’s world of expanded content options, nobody’s trying to have an advertisement preach to them, especially when they can simply change the channel.

Case Studies

Old Spice

In 2010, Isaiah Mustafa rose to sudden fame with the introduction of Old Spice’s campaign, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” The series of advertisements positioned Isaiah as a sex symbol, but not in the way sex symbols are traditionally presented.

Instead, Isaiah was portrayed as so narcissistic as to become humorously likeable. The series was a massive hit as it appealed to both men and women as both were enamored by the humor of the spokesman paired with his stereotypically good looks presented in a way as to remove the shame of looks envy.

The campaign became so well liked by media executives, that it led to parodies in Sesame Street, ICarly, and the 2011 film Puss in Boots, expanding the brand to audiences far beyond its target market and earning media placements that otherwise would have cost millions.

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In 2014, Chipotle, known for its stellar advertising which has won it a slew of awards in the past, decided to take things to the next step releasing a satirical comedy show on Hulu titled, “Farmed and Dangerous.”

On Feb 17, 2014, “Farmed and Dangerous,” premiered to wild acclaim receiving coverage in AdWeekVarietyUSA Today, and many more publications. The press was further fueled by an associated phone app game that allowed people to win free food. The protestations of industrial farmers only added fuel to the flame making the news series the face of healthy farming alternatives.

The show succeeded, by avoiding the desire to advertise and instead released entertaining content that addressed one of the chains highest priorities—healthy food. Rather than paying advertising dollars, the company chose to lure their target audience in with satire and comedy. The result—Chipotle was laughing to the bank.

Laugh Factory

If anyone understands the concept of giving away free media to earn brand recognition and paying customers, its Laugh Factory. Its Youtube Channel has over 300,000 subscribers, with its most popular videos receiving nearly a million views. The company with branches across the United States, made its name by featuring some of the best and most famed comedians in the business.

So how did such a small chain, manage to gain recognition across the globe? By providing entertaining content of course. Rather than charge for videos of their performances, the company has chosen to release its videos for free, serving as a no-charge online-entertainment venue. This when paired with several comedy shows on television, distinguished Laugh Factory as the go-to venue for comedy.


People are inundated with content. “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003,” according to Eric Schmidt, Google CEO.

People don’t have the time or desire to sit by and be preached to by companies. Rather than being told why they should listen, customers want to be shown. They want to be entertained and prioritized over the desire to sell.

Traditionally advertising has been based upon making people feel bad about themselves. Are your love handles showing? Join this gym. Are you not as popular as you’d like to be? Buy this new car.

Rather than a problem solution format, companies are saying, want to feel even better! The result is that these companies come off as less opportunist, more benevolent, and more like a friend.

Who would you rather purchase from, someone who makes you feel bad about yourself or someone who makes you feel good?

Share your thoughts and views below.

Jeremy BamideleJeremy Bamidele is a corporate communications specialist, publicist, and journalist based out of Los Angeles.

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Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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