Regadless of how you feel about last night's game, college basketball season is over. But Capital One's YouTube Channel Spoof: Visigoth SportsNet promises that "March is about to get Medieval" and it serves as the centerpiece of Capital One's NCAA-themed campaign.
The subjectivity of sports, comedy and timeliness aside, I think this is an important example of branded entertainment's potential.
Ads Morphing Into Entertainment
Capital One is far from the first brand to take this approach. While you may argue the entertainment value is questionable, it’s a step in the right direction for any brand trying to launch a story-line extension. Its Viking plot line has always made “What’s in your Wallet?” a more humorous and memorable question.
The Battle for Attention Spans
It’s interesting to consider that consumers are expecting more content from brands as their attention spans continue to dwindle. Capital One’s approach is also a defensive measure to capture a few more seconds of its target market’s time.
So it's no surprise to see the :30 second spot evolve into a longer, web format….and smart that it’s not being blown out into long form content. The Capital One series reminds me more of The Daily Show than Sports Center. But the challenge is deciding how long the story should go. Remember what happened to the Geico Cavemen when they were given a series? It was the longest month in TV.
Middle Ages’ Middle Ground
Branded entertainment offers Capital One a comfortable, more sustainable and successful middle ground. And as brands, media and consumers continue to morph their roles, it’s an interesting development. We’ll surely see even better examples of this format in the future. It depends on the story and its execution.
Cross-posted to my work blog