What is advertainment? Definition and meaning

Advertainment is a term we use to describe entertainment that incorporates elements of advertising. It is the practice of integrating brand communications within the content of entertainment products (movies, songs, TV shows, etc.).

A portmanteau

The word advertainment is a portmanteau of advertising and entertainment. A portmanteau is a word that combines the sounds and meanings of two or more words.

Vehicles of entertainment that can be used to advertise a message include TV and movies, online media, radio shows, songs, music videos, video games, plays, books, podcasts, live streaming events, webinars, social media content, and interactive online experiences like AR and VR applications. AR and VR stand for augmented reality and virtual reality, respectively.

Advertainment has become a popular method for brands to promote their products amid increasing advertising clutter and high advertising costs.

According to Wikipedia:

“Advertainment is a term used to reflect the intertwining relationships between advertising and entertainment. Typically, it refers to media that combines various forms of entertainment (television, movies, songs, etc.) with elements of advertising to promote products or brands.”

3 main types of Advertainment

  • Product placement

References to goods and services that are featured in media with promotional intent.

  • Product Integration

A form of product placement in which the product actually plays a role in the plot of a program or film.

  • Branded entertainment

Entertaining content created by brands to capture the attention of consumers for a prolonged period.


Not a new marketing approach

  • Early motion pictures

The use of entertainment to promote products dates back to early motion pictures – companies would pay to have their products exposed on-screen. A notable example is the prominent placement of Hershey’s candy in the 1927 American silent war film “Wings” – the movie won the first Academy Award for Best Picture at the first annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award ceremony in 1929.

  • Radio programs

In the 1930s, companies began investing in the production of radio programs to target their audience. Detergent companies, such as Procter & Gamble, developed radio programs to promote their brands and even integrated them into the scripts. In the 1950s, marketers began to sponsor television shows, such as ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’ and ‘Texaco Star Theater’. However, this level of show sponsorship began to become less popular as companies saw more value in spreading their ad budget across various shows rather than focus on just one.

  • 1982 – E.T. movie

It wasn’t until the 1980s that companies saw the massive potential of a really well placed product placement in a movie. The 1982 movie E.T. featured the use of Reese’s Pieces in a pivotal moment of the movie. The placement was a massive success for the brand, raising awareness and boosting sales by 65%.

Product Placement - Reese's Pieces being eaten by ET in the Movie
Universal Pictures image adapted by Market Business News.

The popularity of advertainment has increased in recent years as consumers have more ways of avoiding traditional commercials.

Example of an advertainment campaign

For educational purposes, we’re going to look at an advertainment campaign created by the fictitious company “VeryFreshGreen Organics ABC”.

  • About the company

VeryFreshGreen Organics ABC is a startup that offers organic produce. It wants to strengthen its brand identity and market presence. In particular, the company wants consumers to know about its commitment to sustainability. The team at VeryFreshGreen Organics ABC have decided on an advertainment campaign.

This is what they’ve decided on:

  • “Nature’s Embrace” – A Web Series

Format – An 11-episode web series, each episode lasting between 20 and 30 minutes.

Story – The series focuses on the everyday life of Mia, who has a stressful job in New York City. She then receives a letter from her late grandmother who left her a neglected, but picturesque farm. The episodes show Mia’s journey, leaving the big city and embracing a farming life. She becomes adamant about growing only the best organic and sustainable produce.

Advertainment example with images related to the 11 Episode Web Series described in this article.
Image created by Market Business News.
  • Integration of VeryFreshGreen Organics ABC

Product placement – VeryFreshGreen Organics ABC products are seamlessly added to the series (appearing in Mia’s kitchen and when she goes to buy groceries).

Product integration – Mia often visits the VeryFreshGreen Organics ABC website for tips about sustainable farming.

Engagement Hooks – at the end of every episode there’s a quiz about organic living sponsored by VeryFreshGreen Organics ABC. Users are invited to share their responses on social media using the hashtag #VeryFreshGreenQuiz for a chance to win an assortment of goods.

  • Outcome:

The web series becomes a hit among those who like organic produce. As people watch the series they not only develop a connection with Mia, but also with the VeryFreshGreen brand.

Examples of real successful advertainment campaigns

A famous example of successful advertainment occurred in 2012 when “Red Bull Stratos” shattered live stream records with over 8 million viewers watching the highest-ever jump from a manned balloon.

Another successful advertainment campaign was Activia’s ad “La La La (Brazil 2014)” featuring pop star Shakira. It became the most shared ad of all time with 5,375,756 total shares.

The advent of social media and influencer marketing has opened new avenues for advertainment, where branded content is often indistinguishable from non-commercial content.

Video – What is Advertainment

This video presentation, from our sister channel on YouTube – Marketing Business Network, explains what a ‘Advertainment’ is using simple and easy-to-understand language and examples.


  1. “Advertainment: Fusing Advertising and Entertainment” – CRISTEL ANTONIA RUSSELL, PH.D. University of Michigan, Yaffe Center
  2. “These Brands Define Advertainment” – By Brian Anthony Hernandez – Mashable