Araceli Castelló-Martínez1 Profesora Titular de Universidad en la Universidad de Alicante. Imparte docencia en el Grado en Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas.
Cristina del-Pino-Romero2

1Universidad de Alicante. Spain
2Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Spain

The article reflects on the wide variety of existing concepts to make reference to the so-called brand contents, such as advertainment, branded content or branded entertainment, among others. From the bibliographic review, a taxonomic proposal is made, including in the classification other terms that also allude to contents, especially disseminated in digital platforms, such as inbound marketing, native advertising or advergaming. The variables selected for the classification are the type of support in which the actions are usually present (digital or not) and the objectives of persuasive communication at the service of which they are designed (advertising or corporate). The results show the relationship of interdependence between the concepts used to talk about brand content, the concepts branded content and advertainment being the most used.

KEY WORDS: Marketing; Communication; Advertising; Branded Content; Advertainment; Integrated advertising; Social networks

El artículo reflexiona sobre la amplia variedad de conceptos existentes para hacer referencia a los llamados contenidos de marca, como advertainment, branded content o branded entertainment, entre otros. A partir de la revisión bibliográfica, se realiza una propuesta taxonómica, incluyendo en la clasificación otros términos que también aluden a contenidos, especialmente difundidos en plataformas digitales, como el inbound marketing, la publicidad nativa o el advergaming. Las variables que se seleccionan para la clasificación son el tipo de soporte en el que suelen estar presentes las acciones (digital o no) y los objetivos de comunicación persuasiva al servicio de los cuales se diseñan (publicitarios o corporativos). Los resultados demuestran la relación de interdependencia existente entre los conceptos empleados para hablar de los contenidos de marca, siendo los conceptos branded content y advertainment los más utilizados.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Marketing; Comunicación; Publicidad; Branded Content; Advertainment; Publicidad integrada; Redes sociales

O artigo reflexiona sobre a ampla variedade de conceitos existentes para fazer referência aos chamados conteúdos de marca, como advertainment, branded content ou branded entertainment, entre outros. A partir da revisão bibliográfica se realiza uma proposta taxonômica incluindo na classificação outros términos que também aludem a conteúdos, especialmente difundidos nas plataformas digitais, como o inbound marketing, a publicidade nativa ou o advergaming. As variáveis que se selecionam para a classificação são o tipo de suporte no qual costumam estar presentes as ações (digital ou não) e os objetivos de comunicação persuasiva ao serviço dos quais desenham (publicitários ou corporativos). Os resultados demonstram a relação de interdependência existente entre os conceitos empregados para falar dos conteúdos de marca, sendo os conceitos branded content e advertainment os mais utilizados.

PALAVRAS CHAVE: Marketing, Comunicação, Publicidade, Branded content, Advertainment, Publicidade integrada, Redes sociais

Correspondence: Araceli Castelló Martínez. Universidad de Alicante. España.
Cristina del Pino Romero: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. España. http://0000-0002-0217-8457

Received: 21/02/2018
Accepted: 30/03/2018

How to cite the article
Castelló Martínez, A. y del Pino Romero, C. (2018). Brand contents: a taxonomic proposal [Los contenidos de marca: una propuesta taxonómica]. Revista de Comunicación de la SEECI, 47, 125-142. doi: http://doi.org/10.15198/seeci.2018.47.125-142 Recuperado de http://www.seeci.net/revista/index.php/seeci/article/view/535


In recent years we have experienced a revolution in the field of unprecedented persuasive communication, which has led to the emergence of a host of new strategies, techniques and actions at the service of persuasive communication objectives. In most cases, these developments are directly related to brand content, replacing the traditional advertising spaces, which every day lose effectiveness due to the saturation of commercial messages by others in which the brand is integrated into the message in a natural way, connect with the user and provide added value. So much so that this revolution in content has brought with it the appearance of a wide range of new concepts: advergaming, branded content, content strategy, inbound marketing, content marketing, hybrid messages, native advertising, etc.


It is necessary to reflect on the terminology used when we talk about brand contents. Based on this main objective, the proposed research has as specific objectives:

1. Analyze the concepts proposed both in the academic and in the professional field to refer to persuasive communication actions based on brand content.
2. Identify variables making it possible to classify the concepts related to brand contents.
3. Propose a taxonomic relationship among the concepts of identified brand contents.

The starting hypothesis highlights the wide variety of existing terms to refer to brand content. The specific hypotheses would be:

1. The concepts advertainment and branded content are the most used, both in the academic and in the professional field.
2. Regardless of the concept, all the definitions coincide in highlighting the added value that contents must provide to the user and in the selection of spaces that are not publicly saturated.
3. The concepts of brand content can be classified according to the media used and the objectives of persuasive communication -corporate or advertising-.
4. There is a relationship of interdependence among most concepts used to refer to actions based on brand content.


The methodology of this study is empirical-analytic and based on the literature review from the Dialnet search engine, Google Scholar and ResearchGate and the following keywords: appvertising, advergaming, advertainment, branded content, branded entertainment, branded information, brand contents, content marketing, content strategy, fashion films, inbound marketing, content marketing, hybrid messages, post advertising, integrated advertising, liquid advertising, native advertising, tabvertising. The search was conducted from May to July 2017.
 In total, 64 references are analyzed: 11 books, 14 book chapters, 25 articles in scientific journals, 8 contributions to congresses and 6 academic papers. The years with more analyzed contributions are 2014 (with 11 references), 2013 (with 9 references) and 2016 (with 7 references), as shown in Graph 1.

Source: elaboration on one’s own

Graph 1: Distribution of years with more than one revised reference.

97% of references are from the year 2000 onwards, 48.4% are from the 2010-2014 period and 22% are from the 2015-2017 period. You can consult the full list of analyzed references in http://bit.ly/castello-delpino-2018-referencias.


4.1. Integrated advertising

Before addressing the different concepts used today to refer to brand content, it is necessary to contextualize this expression in the era of integrated advertising, liquid advertising (Bauman, 2007) and post-advertising (Solana, 2010) in which we live, characterized by the new role the consumer has assumed with respect to brands and their communication. Integrated advertising seeks to offer the user contents, experiences and entertainment. Beyond the fusion of actions and channels typical of current persuasive communication strategies, it is assumed that the so-called integrated advertising should be the gateway to interactive and participatory contents that complement the advertising history and give continuity.
 Advertising that informs and/or entertains (advertainment) and brand contents (branded content) as added value for the user thus occupy a central role in persuasive communication strategies designed from an integrated approach, especially those disseminated through digital platforms. Integrated, transmedia and multidisciplinary advertising shows the profound transformations of the advertising industry and the challenge faced by agency professionals in the search for persuasive communication formulas that are innovative and connect with the public.
With the popularization of persuasive communication strategies in digital media, integrated advertising has been accompanied by a complete restructuring of advertising systems and processes. The changes that the advertising industry has experienced, in addition to the period of economic crisis, are shown in the evolution of advertising investment in Spain. According to InfoAdex (2017) in 2014, for the first time since 2010, advertising investment grew with respect to the previous year, but it grew differently than it had done before the economic recession. It is the digital media which grows most due to the advertiser›s search for new advertainment formulas based on content strategies with which to connect with users.

4.2. Advertainment: advertising that informs and/or entertains

In today’s collaborative society and participatory culture, marketing 3.0 has ceased to be merely transactional, it is characterized by being relational and experiential and seeks strategies that develop customer satisfaction and loyalty (Castelló-Martínez, 2014, p.66).
We live in the age of war to tell stories. Contents, especially the audiovisual ones, have become the cornerstone to generate interest and attention in the users. Monologue-oriented advertising «has gained the disinterest and the antipathy of consumers, so it has to provide a new space for dialogue from which it can provide real value to consumers. Interrupting us is not a value» (Regueira, 2011, p.47).
With advertainment, advertisers apply the knowledge of the entertainment industry to the creation of their own contents (Ramos and Pineda, 2009, page 729) that they disseminate in their advertising actions. These advertising contents are characterized by being hypermedia and cross-platform contents, stories that seek to offer a value proposition and complement the user’s shopping and consumption experience.
 Invasive marketing strategies no longer yield results; users want brands that can tell their own story and fulfill their value proposition, so advertisers are forced to invest in content teams focused on improving the user experience and empathize with them. Participative culture and the distinctive transmediality of the contents shared in it have meant that the limits between information, entertainment and publicity have been blurred, seeking a greater link with the media prosumer and taking into account the role played by social networks in the dissemination and the virality of contents (Castelló-Martínez and Del Pi no-Romero, 2014b, p.146). To Regueira (2011, p.159), the new advertising must respect some basic premises:

1. Prior permission. Users accept those brands that respect their privacy and their time.
2. Usefulness. If the message does not provide the receiver with any value, it will not receive any attention.
3. Personalization based on the information provided by market research, knowing both the characteristics of the consumer and the degree of customer loyalty to the brand.
4. Interactivity. Content is an excuse to talk with the audience actively.
5. Multiconnectivity. Advertising contents must be transmedia, providing the user with multiple points of contact with the brand.
6. Contextualization. In order to be effective today, advertising must be available to us where we truly need it.
7. Measurement.
8. Sincerity. Speak the language of people.

With regard to personalization, the more refined and segmented towards a niche the content is, the more useful and relevant it will be for the target audience, so it is key to know the consumer in depth:

The relationship is implicit in the brand idea: a brand does not exist if it is not in the minds of consumers. We must go out to the street to look for them, understand how they mix and the role each of them plays in their reference groups. We must interpret their needs and offer them contents that provide a real value to their lives (Regueira, 2011, p. 224).

With the actions of advertainment, the brand intends to generate conversations, offering content at the service of the advertising objectives that encourages interaction with users thanks to the transmediality that usually characterizes the actions devised under this formula. Today the message is the medium (Roberts, 2005): the brand must be able to offer the user a message that is transcendent, relevant and useful; the message is the medium to connect with the user. If not this way, it will not do any good:

The times in which the medium was the message are history. The medium is what matters less: the important thing is the content that your brand is able to offer its customers. In our oversaturated society of communication, if your brand message is not transcendent for your target, do not waste your time in issuing it. We remember better what we experience than what we simply see or hear. Useful content (for its informative or entertainment value) is experienced. An ad is seen or heard, and it is usually forgotten soon (Regueira, 2011, p 205).

The symbiosis between advertising and information and/or entertainment contents forces communication professionals to define fully integrated strategies with which to adapt to new consumer habits and contents with which to generate conversations with users. Therefore, actions based on brand contents must be understood as part of the integral communication strategy of the brand at a time when advertising must be transmedia and multidisciplinary. At a higher level, communication must not only be integral, but the integrity of the communicative actions with respect to the business management of the company is also key, because communication efforts can fall on deaf ears and even generate a deep reputational crisis if the values that are communicated clash with the management and practices of the company.
4.3. Branded content: contents designed by and for the brand
The design of branded content or hybrid messages (De Aguilera-Moyano, Baños-González et al. , 2016) for persuasive communication is framed within a more global phenomenon that integrates other decisions related to marketing beyond communication: content marketing. Content marketing involves carrying out a personalization or segmentation of products, price, distribution and communication based on the expectations and interests of users, so that it is not only communication the one that provides contents that may be relevant to users, but also other variables. New distribution channels, product customizations and product testing through applications are examples of content marketing that go beyond communication.
 In the field of communication, classic advertising models experience disruptive tensions that drive brands to generate contents under the formula of branded content , inspired by the theories of transmedia narrative (Castelló-Martínez, Del Pino-Romero et al., 2016, p.125). In the actions of branded content, the product is not only integrated into the content -as it already happened in product placement-, but the brands create their own content to share it with the users, seeking not to announce themselves so much as to relate and share experiences (Del Pino-Romero, Castelló-Martínez et al., 2013, p.20 ). Regueira (2011, p.218) points out that the foundation of branded content is found in the maxim «offer experiences, not advertisements «.
 Branded content represents today one of the actions of persuasive communication most used by advertisers in realizing their content strategies because of its advantages to convey the storytelling of the brand, its values and corporate positioning through a narrative discourse designed ad hoc for it. Horrigan (2009, p.51) defines it as:

A fusion of advertising and entertainment in a single product of communication at the service of marketing, which is integrated into the global brand strategy of an organization and which is intended to be distributed as entertainment content with a high level of quality.

It deals with information and/or entertainment contents at the service of the interests of the brand (Aguado, 2008) the main objective of which is to attract the public towards the values ??of a brand in an attractive and suggestive way. In general, branded content consists of an information space (branded information) and/or entertainment (branded entertainment) with contents, especially audiovisual, the production of which has been developed or participated by the brand. That is to say, the contents of the branded content spaces are at the service of the brand since the moment of its conception, although this does not always have an explicit presence in them. The first edition of the study on branded content in Spain ContentScope (1), published by Grupo Consultores in December 2013, refers to this communication action as follows:

(1) http://bit.ly/contentscope-2013.

A new ‘desadvertising’ discipline arises which looks at the long term, which does not have the sale as a purpose (at least as the sole purpose), which is based on emotion, on closeness, on the brand-person bond (not even the term consumer is valid), and where the visualization of the brand itself does not even have to exist.

The synergy between brands and contents enabling branded content is in line with the postadvertising era we live in, and where advertisers are eager to build relationships with people and speak their same language (Solana, 2010) (2). In this sense, branded content allows the advertiser to generate and offer memorable and relevant contents in which the brand is presented less aggressively and more durably than in traditional advertising and in whose narrative axis its differential values are communicated in such a way that the content is attractive, practical and non-intrusive from the point of view of the citizen.

(2) Para Solana (2010), la acción de BMW The Hire, una serie de branded content de 8 cortos cinematográficos dirigidos por destacados directores de cine y protagonizados por Clive Owen que registró millones de visitas a la web, supone el inicio de la postpublicidad.

 Branded content is a brand-communicating action with ample creative possibilities in response to new forms of relationship that the multiscreen consumer demands and the agency knows so as to offer its customers transmedia storytelling solutions (Castelló-Martínez and Del Pino-Romero, 2014a, p 172). Del Pino-Romero and Castelló-Martínez (2015, pp. 114-117) synthesize the characteristics of branded content in:

1. Communication by objectives, based on market research. When carrying out any communication strategy - in which different actions are included, such as branded content - it is fundamental to start the process with market research, because it is the one that will allow the development of strategies related to the public, according to their interests, lifestyles, etc. Communicative strategies must not only be original but also effective, being at the service of previously defined objectives, and the achievement of which should be sought.
2. Storytelling. Brands must be able to tell stories through storytelling that is close, coherent, transparent, credible, that manages to offer a value proposition, transmit service vocation and complement the user’s shopping and consumption experience.
3. Virality. The advertiser intends to offer the recipients valuable contents and virality through social networks plays a key role. The best form of publicity that exists is from-mouth-to-ear and, in this sense, branded content actions seek to take advantage of the opportunities provided by social networks to amplify the dissemination of the message and give the user the possibility of sharing it with their own.
4. Transmediality. One of the characteristics of the majority of actions designed under the format of branded content is their transmediality, since it makes it possible to generate multichannel stories and offers users the possibility of participating in the conversation about contents in social media.
5. A close, transparent and committed brand. In branded content, a forced and contrived scene is useless: brands need to tell close stories and practice emotional and empathic communication.

 Branded content is not only to increase the length of a spot. However long a spot may be, even if it tells a story, it continues to interrupt the content that the user wants to see. If the content is relevant to the users, they will want to see it without being imposed. As highlighted by the Branded Content Marketing Association (3):

(3) http://bcma.es/.

1. Branded content - brand content - is any content -with no exhaustive character: a blog, a publication of any kind, an event or concert, a movie, a play, a TV show, a webserie, a videogame, an App, etc.- produced or co-produced by a brand the objective of which is to offer a group of people an informative or entertaining value that favors their relationship with that brand.

2. So as to be considered as such, any branded content should meet two conditions:

2.1. Be an original development or production of the brand. If we only want to fit a brand into content that already exists, we will be talking about sponsorship or product placement, but not about branded content.
2.2. Be conceived from the point of view of usefulness -entertainment or information-, for which reason it must provide value to its receiver.

3. Branded content by definition must be strategic. That is, it must be aligned with the communication strategy of the brand.

Let us not forget that it is about brand communication, at the service of marketing and communication objectives, so the actions designed under the formula of branded content have to prove their effectiveness with respect to marketing and communication objectives. Regardless of whether the brand has presence or not in the contents, it must be recognizable to the user, who must know who is behind these contents, so that the conversation generated by the contents leads to empathize with the brand.
4.4. Native advertising: commercial messages with editorial design
One of the most popular terms today is native advertising. It is important to make clear the differences between native advertising and advertainment and branded content actions. Native advertising, as integration between advertising and content, seeks to (4):

(4) Extraído de Puro Marketing: http://bit.ly/publicidad-nativa-pm.

1. Prevent users from being tired of the strictly advertising spaces.
2. Contextualize the commercial message relating it to the theme of the content so that it is not intrusive advertising and respects the user’s experience.
3. Increase the positive perception between a value content and the advertising brand.
4. Increase the likelihood that the business message will be shared by being integrated into the content.
5. Generate greater performance in content marketing strategies by increasing consumer confidence in the brand.

Therefore, the objectives can be similar to those of advertainment or branded content actions, but we do not talk about the same thing. Native advertising can be defined as the practice of including promoted content on a web page or platform respecting the format and style of the editorial contents of said platform. That is, it is about integrating advertising in the content with a design similar to that of any post, for example, in a blog, or news, in the case of a digital newspaper. In the “Legal Guide on Native Advertising” (5) of IAB Spain is defined as:

(5) Disponible en http://bit.ly/publicidad-nativa-iab.

advertising that is integrated into the natural editorial content of the page (...), allowing the brand to be present in the publication (...) in a more harmonized way with the rest of the content than other advertising systems (pop ups, banners and advertisements in general) ).

These contents must be marked as advertising - the name publiposts is common - for the user to identify them as such and know their commercial purposes. We could say that it is the online version of the classic advertorial in any newspaper or magazine on paper. Some native advertising formats are sponsored posts on blogs, sponsored tweets, sponsored posts on Facebook or informative videos on YouTube Ads.
Native advertising continues to be traditional advertising, even if it is under the design of editorial content. That is, with native advertising, a previously existing advertising space for commercial messages is still contracted, applying the advertising rates of a support, while branded content is content devised by and for the brand, in a space -place and time- that previously did not exist or that initially is not intended for commercial messages. For its part, advertainment seeks to offer the user advertising stories that inform and/or entertain, usually in paid media.
 Therefore, in native advertising, the audience of a support is paid for and a pre-existing commercial message is adapted to the planned space, while, in branded content, the audience is created expressly for said content and the message itself is the means to converse with the audience.

4.5. Other terms related to brand contents

Other concepts that are also related to brand contents, especially on digital platforms, are advergaming, fashion films, inbound marketing, content strategy and Social Media Marketing.
The videogame industry has also benefited from the search for information and entertainment contents likely to be associated with the brand. Through advergaming, players interact with the products and experiment with the brands; « Advergames also provide contents that can be useful, formative and even educational « (Del Moral and Fernández, 2014, p. 115).
The sectors of fashion and luxury products are those that have succumbed in the first instance to fashion films. Under a nature that oscillates between the musical video, the artistic video and the short film, fashion films have become a plausible alternative to the parades or the presentations of collections, in such a way that the story that is told is an excuse that serves as thread to show creations and products.
With fashion films, one of the goals of fashion brands is, undoubtedly, to approach the digital public, bearing in mind that many young people of university age, digital natives, declare themselves current and/or potential consumers of luxury brands (Liberal and Sierra, 2013, p.909).
It is an example of advertainment, although with its own codes and very peculiar stylistic characteristics. They can be defined as audiovisual productions, in the manner of short films, at the service of a brand, characterized by a communicative style in which the beauty and the extremely careful aesthetics of the message about the product and/or the brand itself predominate.
The term inbound marketing refers to all those techniques and communicative actions that aim to reach the consumer in a non-intrusive way on digital platforms, discarding actions that annoy the user and cause an undesired interruption of their activity.
Inbound marketing uses a combination of several actions of digital communication, such as organic positioning in search engines or Search Engine Optimization (SEO), web analytics or content strategy. Within the latter would be the contents spread through social networks (Social Media Marketing), in advertising spaces that are integrated among the contents (native advertising), through applications (appvertising) or those advertising contents adapted to mobile devices (tabvertising).
Among the pillars of inbound marketing or attraction marketing 2.0, the content strategy becomes the cornerstone, as it seeks to attract potential customers by generating trust and credibility and positioning the company as an expert in its sector of activity. The definition of content strategy has become the main concern for advertisers, to the point that it is considered that “content is king” (Del Pino-Romero and Castelló-Martínez, 2015, p. 101). Good content in all social platforms on which a company is present is key: there is no room for improvisation or to focus communication around the company.
The starting premise is to provide valuable information on the social platforms, which instructs, entertains and/or excites, and quality content that makes users decide they want to know more about a company, a product or a brand; hence the concept of attraction 2.0. And for this reason, it is essential to stop behaving like an advertiser or salesman in the old way and become a socializer and generator of content. The design of a content strategy in social media is profitable for the company for several reasons (Del Pino-Romero and Castelló-Martínez, 2015, p. 111):

1. Differentiation and visibility. In a saturated environment, it can become a competitive advantage over other companies, taking into account that the algorithm of natural positioning in search engines is increasingly social and contents that are shared and come from sites that update them actively predominate.
2. Credibility. Generating valuable contents related to the sector helps the brand to position itself as an expert and to builds its reputation, providing information that can help the user in the process of making decisions about purchasing and consumption.
3. Engagement. Establish a link with audiences beyond the commercial transaction through storytelling.
4. Traffic. Contents of interest can motivate potential clients and generate business opportunities, improving traffic to the website and positioning in search engines. In short, the quality of contents is the main strategy of recruitment in social networks, which will simultaneously segment the public through theming, which has become the central axis of any marketing strategy in social networks.


With the bibliographic review, we have been able to verify that the use of brand contents by advertisers is not a fad, but instead it represents a new approach that demonstrates the need to find a sustainable future for advertising communication (Regueira, 2014, p.36).
 The emergence of various concepts directly or indirectly related to brand contents, such as those discussed in the previous section, is due to this new advertising culture based on respect for (Solana, 2010, p.289-291):

1. The advertising environment, avoiding saturation of advertising messages.
2. The brands, providing them with an honest, integral and durable personality.
3. The advertiser, trying not to waste their advertising budget on ineffective campaigns.
4. The media and their contents, creativity and the advertising profession, understanding advertisers as catalysts of the relationship between brands and people.
5. The people, listening to respect their intelligence, sensitivity and time as well as their individuality and diversity.

Once the main concepts related to brand contents have been described, we next deal with the relationship of interdependence that exists between them and, based on the analyzed references, we make a taxonomic proposal. Authors such as De Aguilera-Moyano, Baños-González et al. (2016, p.54) consider that branded entertainment and content marketing are two sub-forms of branded content: the first would be the form that branded content adopts when it is entertainment, while content marketing would be informative/educational.
Other authors such as Russell (2007, p.4) equate the concepts of branded content and branded entertainment when referring to any content developed around a brand. Some people understand that branded content and advertainment are synonymous to name the hybridity of advertising and entertainment, as in the case of Selva (2009, p.143) or the definition given by Fernández et al. (2013, p.180). There are also cases in which branded entertainment and advertainment are understood to be equivalent, as Hudson and Hudson (2006, p.492) point out.
Macías-Muñoz and Ramos-Serrano (2016) carry out a study to define precisely the terms branded content, branded entertainment and advertainment and propose a taxonomy establishing relationships of hypernomia and hyponymy among them. These authors point to an interdependent conceptual relationship between the concepts branded content, branded entertainment and advertainment, that is, they are not synonyms, but each of them refers to different conceptual planes within the same context. This way, branded content would be hyperonymous with branded entertainment; and this in turn would be hyperonymous with advertainment.
As we see, when we talk about concepts related to brand contents, we find different approaches. From our point of view, the taxonomy of concepts related to brand contents should also include, in addition to advertainment , branded content or branded entertainment, others proper to actions on digital platforms, such as inbound marketing or content strategy as well as those relating to actions based on contents proper to certain media such as the advergaming, appvertising, tabvertising or Social Media Marketing - or with particular stylistic features - like fashion films or native advertising-.
 Bearing in mind that, in any case, we talk about persuasive communication at the service of some objectives and that nowadays the focus of any communicative action based on contents must be transmedia, we can classify the concepts related to brand contents according to the following variables:

1. The objectives of persuasive communication at the service of which the action is designed: corporate or advertising.
2. The media, in which it is disseminated, based on the transmedia approach: specific actions of digital media or disseminated on both online and offline media.

From this approach, we propose the classification shown in Graph 2.

Source: own elaboration

Graph 2. Classification of concepts related to brand contents

Inbound marketing, content strategy and Social Media Marketing are actions related to the digital media that should be employed from a corporate approach, closely linked to the global communication strategy and the corporate culture, as they require the design of a strategy of long-term presence that should avoid falling into product or short-term objectives.
 We understand that native advertising, appvertising, tabvertising, fashion films and advergaming are persuasive communication actions at the service of advertising objectives that involve creating contents, in most cases related to products and/or services, to insert it into certain digital media and/or with particular stylistic characteristics.
 Branded content and its two variants, branded entertainment and branded information, often resort to supports on both digital platforms (video channel like YouTube or corporate blog, for example) and other conventional means, such as radio, the press, television or cinema. We believe that these three concepts should be linked to corporate persuasive communication, as long as branded content has long-term objectives and is not designed to talk about the benefits of products and/or services.
 Finally, we propose that the term advertainment be associated with advertising actions that provide the user with information and/or entertainment, inserted in both online and offline media, but the advertising objectives of which are more related to certain products and/or services. In this sense, integrated advertising can also include contents that are surprising, understandable, stimulating and memorable for the user. On many occasions, the advertising stories are constructed through a storytelling with which the user is able to empathize, especially thanks to the use of insights as a creative concept based on deep knowledge of the needs, motivations and expectations of the target audience.
In Graph 3 and Graph 4 we have illustrated the relationship among the different concepts that appear within each quadrant of Graph 2. In particular, Figure 3 shows the relationship between the concepts related to brand contents in digital media (ie, those that appear in the two quadrants on the left of Graph 2) and Figure 4 organizes the concepts referred to brand contents that are inserted in both digital platforms and other media (ie, those that appear in the two quadrants on the right of Graph 2).
Source: own elaboration

Source: own elaboration

Graph 3: Relationship among the concepts of brand contents disseminated in online media. Source:


Graph 4: Relationship among the concepts of brand contents disseminated in online and offline media.

The content strategy, branded content and advertainment are concepts related to hybrid messages (De Aguilera-Moyano, Baños-González et al., 2016). Since, in native advertising, the commercial message is included in spaces such as blogs or social networks, it would be derived from Social Media Marketing. Branded content and advertainment are often used interchangeably, although we propose to differentiate them depending on the communication objectives (corporate or advertising). Integrated advertising, being advertising stories that inform and/or entertain, would be included within advertainment, a term with a more global approach.
 Finally, given that they are advertising actions in online media, appvertising, tabvertising, fashion films and advergaming can also be considered advertainment, since they are carried out at an advertising level and, from our proposal, advertainment includes actions in both digital and offline media.
We can say that, with the documentary review we carried out, the main objective has been reached: to reflect on the terminology used when we talk about brand contents. The wide variety of existing terms to refer to brand contents has been demonstrated, with advertainment and branded content being the most used.
 In any case, two denominators common to all brand content actions are the added value they seek to offer to users and the selection of spaces that are not saturated with advertising. The variables proposed for the realization of a taxonomy are based on the supports used and the objectives of persuasive communication -corporate or advertising- and in the proposal we made, the relationship of interdependence existing among most of the concepts used to make reference to the actions based on brand contents is obvious.


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Araceli Castelló-Martínez

Professor of the University of the University of Alicante with a six-year term (2009-2014), teaches in the studies of Advertising and Public Relations. Doctor in Communication, Master in Integral Communication, Executive Master in Community Management and Degree in Advertising and RR .PP., With extraordinary prize of Degree and second national prize. She has also been a professor at CEU-Cardenal Herrera University and has collaborated in various postgraduate courses at different universities. He has worked in media agencies and digital media in Spain and Belgium and has published numerous publications on advertising planning, digital communication and creative strategy. It has more than 530 citations in Google Scholar, with an h index of 12 and an i10 index of 17 (February 2018).
ORCID code: 0000-0001-5783-344X

Cristina del Pino-Romero
PhD in Information Sciences from the University of Málaga, with a thesis based on brand placement. She has taught Advertising courses at the University of Alicante (2000-2006) and has been visiting professor at the Department of Communication at UCLA (2009). Currently, she is a professor of Advertising Communication, New Advertising Forms and Advertising and Communication, at the Carlos III University of Madrid. She is a researcher at the Cultural Research Laboratory of the UC3M, the “Communication and Specific Publics” Research Group of the University of Alicante and the Tecmerin Research Group of the UC3M. She has been deputy director of the Master in Branded Content and Transmedia Communication at UC3M (2013-2015). It has more than 410 appointments in Google Scholar, with an index h of 11 and an index i10 of 12.
ORCID code: 0000-0002-0217-8457