Why Advertisers Must Embrace Entertainment — People Can’t Live Without It

Saul Delage
6 min readOct 10, 2019


83% of people now consider entertainment as having a vital role in their lives

Have you ever felt like you needed a Netflix fix, you can’t make it through the day without streaming some Cardi B, or you constantly want to answer the Call of Duty? You are not alone. According to new Havas global research, 83 percent of people around the world consider entertainment to be a critical need. Entertainment now plays a meaningful role in our lives, perhaps as vital as health.

The Future of Entertainment

Our research, published in The Future of Entertainment report, consists of a global survey of 17,500 people ages 13+ in 37 countries, with a focus on Prosumers, the leading-edge influencers and market drivers whom Havas has been following for more than 15 years. Prosumers are doing today what mainstream consumers will likely be doing 6 to 18 months from now. Havas found that:

· 6 in 10 Prosumers admit they can’t stand still without consuming content.

· 56 percent are willing to sacrifice sleep to binge-watch a show they like.

· Nearly 4 in 10 claim they couldn’t live without Netflix — and this even includes people for whom the brand didn’t really exist five or six years ago.

Entertainment is Vital

These findings have significant implications for any business that taps into entertainment and the undeniable power of entertainment brands as part of their marketing and advertising. Companies have always turned to entertainers to build buzz and street cred with desired audiences, which is why mega stars such as Beyoncé rake in millions each year through endorsement deals.

But The Future of Entertainment suggests that entertainment brands also wield a special super power to help advertisers forge strong emotional bonds with their audiences. Disney is not known as the happiest place on Earth for nothing. Entertainment, whether experienced through a company or a person, is indispensable.

No wonder 74 percent of Prosumers told us that their experiences with brands should be more entertaining, and 69 percent said they would watch advertising if it were more entertaining. Entertainment is not just a titillating fancy. Entertainment fills a void in people’s lives.

Commenting on the report, Yannick Bolloré, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Vivendi & CEO, Havas Group, said:

“The digital era has revolutionized the field of entertainment. Rather than relegate it to the fringes of their lives, people have now placed entertainment at the center of their existences. And this gives us, as entertainment leaders, a major responsibility. Our role today is to build entertainment value, and I’m struck by the fact that this study reveals that 83% of people now consider entertainment as having a vital role in their lives.”

The Power of Entertainment — Dubai Soars with Imagine Dragons

Our own client work demonstrates the power of entertainment in forging emotional connections. For example, when Dubai wanted to increase its visibility as a tourist destination for global travelers, the Dubai tourism team worked with Havas on an inventive YouTube campaign. Instead of a traditional ad, the team used “location placement” by featuring Dubai as the backdrop in a video for the release of an Imagine Dragons song, “Thunder.”

The video and high energy song showcased the stunning architecture, wide boulevards, and soaring views that are common in Dubai. The Imagine Dragons song soared to Number One on the Billboard chart and the campaign drove 600 million views on YouTube (all organic), more than three million social engagements, and $20 million in media value. The video increased consideration of Dubai as a holiday destination by more than 22 percent.

Entertainment Is Already Meaningful, with Potential to be Even More So

Based on its intrinsic value, entertainment is a ubiquitous utility, like water, only tastier and more fun. When it comes to the future of entertainment, our Prosumer respondents told us that industries ranging from healthcare to education could be improved through entertainment. In fact, 62 percent said that education could be enhanced by being more entertaining, and 60 percent said the same about work.

But the study also points to something bigger: entertainment has the potential to be more meaningful. Consider these findings:

· 88 percent of Prosumers believe that in a divided world entertainment brings people of different cultures and values together.

· Another 88 percent believe that entertainment needs to empower and educate people.

· Half say they would pay more for more meaningful entertainment.

What exactly does meaningful mean? According to Havas’ Meaningful Brands study, a meaningful brand delivers products and services with clear benefits, they improve people’s lives, and they make society better. Brands become meaningful when they forge deep connections with people and their values, which requires reading the pulse of culture and reacting by crafting powerful stories that entertain and enrich.

Entertainment does many of these things very well. But entertainment brands, per se, have a long way to go in order to be consistently meaningful. Among entertainment businesses, only Disney ranks among the Top 30 meaningful brands in our research, which is conducted regularly. Note, though, that we did not study individual entertainers as brands. Undoubtedly if we examined entertainers themselves, we would come up with a different set of findings.

Havas Develops Entertainment Savvy

Havas is building our own specialty resources that capitalize on the cultural power of entertainment. A few years ago, we launched the Annex, a cultural agency that is composed of leading creators and influencers who help brands tap into emerging trends and the business of culture. The ability to capitalize on entertainment is central to The Annex’s mission.

In 2019, Havas expanded the Annex by acquiring Battery, a Los Angeles-based culture-driven creative agency whose mission is to create advertising that’s as sought-after as entertainment. Battery Annex strengthens the Annex network as a resource for clients to create cultural relevance through entertainment.

As Bolloré said,

“Convergence of advertising, entertainment, music and gaming remains a priority of Havas and Vivendi, and the Annex is a main part of our evolution.”

In addition, being majority-owned by Vivendi gives us access to resource such as Canal+, StudioCanal, Gameloft and Universal Music Group. Through Vivendi, Havas is at the epicenter of cultural relevance and entertaining content.

What Advertisers Should Do

If you are considering tapping into the power of entertainment to create a close connection with your audience, you’re certainly looking in the right area. But it’s important you go about it the right way. Here are three questions to ask:

· Which type of entertainment is right for my brand? Red Bull, for instance, forges relationships with esports because the attributes of esports (high energy, excitement) match the attributes of the Red Bull. On the other hand, in 2019, Mondelēz International capitalized on the popularity of HBO’s Game of Thrones by launching an inventive packaging and associated advertising campaign for Oreo cookies. Recasting Oreo cookies as metaphors for Game of Thrones houses reflected the playful, fun qualities of the cookie brand.

· What type of entertainment will increase my brand’s relevance for the target audience? Chef Boy-ar-dee, a legacy brand dating back to 1938, wanted to reach a younger, contemporary audience. Chef and Havas Chicago worked together to focus on modern millennial foodie culture. We created “Start the Par-dee” which combined the talents of Millennial rapper Lil Yachty with legend Donny Osmond.

· What’s my distribution strategy? Distribution can mean everything when it comes to reaching the right audience. YouTube was the right distribution channel for the Imagine Dragons/Dubai tourism bureau music video. For other brands, creating shorter form, interactive content on platforms such as Snapchat might be a better choice. And sometimes the right distribution channel can completely change the model for advertising, which LEGO demonstrated by creating a 100-minute “ad,” The LEGO Movie, that people paid to see in movie theaters. Talk about commerce driving culture.

Bottom line: entertainment is already helping brands create strong emotional bonds with people. When leveraged in the right way, it will continue to provide modern brands with a modern, and meaningful, approach to customer engagement.

To understand how to make your own brand more meaningful through entertainment, contact Havas. Our connection to Vivendi and insider access to engaging, entertaining content enables Havas Chicago to make brands culturally relevant and sets us apart from competitors who are part of traditional advertising conglomerates.



Saul Delage

I help companies grow (to learn more: www.delage.biz), dad of 2 teens, and husband of 1 very patient woman... Additional musings can be found on Twitter @Sauld