WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson Gives Writers’ Perspective on Branded Entertainment
December 3, 2008
On December 2nd , WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson participated In a panel entitled “That’s Advertainment: The Rapid Growth Of The ” as part of the OnScreen Media Summit sponsored by and . Peterson urged attendees to think more carefully about “branded entertainment” strategies that go beyond sponsorship of programs on multiple platforms and involve tinkering with program content. While acknowledging that writers’ struggles for creative control in commercial television and big-budget film have often been uphill, Peterson noted that viewers are interested in compelling stories, solid drama, well-crafted comedy – programs written by Guild members – not glorified infomercials.
One of the panelists enthusiastically described a co-branded program on MTV involving a well-known musician. Peterson said he couldn’t imagine a writer trying to script a three-minute piece in which talked about Dove soap. He said one approach that actually got viewers’ attention was an intentionally ham-handed product placement on that closed with looking at the camera and asking, “Can we get paid now?” Perhaps ironic notoriety is better than none.
By contrast, branded entertainment that pretends not to be is the most problematic, Peterson said. This is why the Guild has supported strengthening FCC regulations that require disclosure of these branding arrangements.
Click here for the article on the panel.