Webisode watch

The line between entertainment and advertising has become increasingly blurry over the years. First came product placements – now shamelessly crammed into Hollywood blockbusters and even music videos. Then the viral video craze, masterminded by corporate marketers and agencies that sought to make something authentic, humorous and entertaining enough that viewers would share it.

Now comes the latest development in the war against DVR junkies like me, who fast forward through millions of dollars worth of TV spots without a second thought: The Web series phenomenon. It’s been gaining speed over the last couple years, and some have been wildly successful (Ikea, American Family Insurance and Kraft) while others never stood a chance (Maybelline, Palm Pre and Kodak).

A recent Ad Age article analyzes these campaigns and begs the question: Are these efforts actually generating sales or are they just offering Web content that is merely entertaining enough that viewers will overlook blatant commercialization? I marveled at the idea for “In the Motherhood” as much as the next marketer, but Ad Age poses a valid question. Do you think the Web series idea is a fad or an effective advertising channel that’s here to stay?

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