The Evolving Relationship of Advertising & Entertainment Content

This post was written by Kaitlin Crocilla, one of SCG’s intern “Amplify Team” members for the Spring ’17 semester. Crocilla is a Global Communications major at Ramapo College.


Advertising was once found only in two-minute time slots on television, before films began in theatres, and periodically on the radio. Today, advertising and entertainment content are indistinguishable from one another. The merging of advertising into mainstream content is commonly referred to as hypercommercialism.

Advertising & Entertainment Content through the Years:

  • In 1983, Tom Cruise wearing Ray Bans in Risky Business spiked Ray Ban sales tremendously.
  • In the mid 2000s, 30 Rock broke the fourth wall, asking Verizon if they could have their money after speaking highly of the company.
  • Disney’s Frozen (2013) proved that buying a movie ticket is not where the sale ends. Audiences may leave the theatre, but the experience continues through the marketing of toys, clothes, soundtracks, etc. The latest Star Wars (2015) achieves the same with consumers of an older demographic.

PESO & Entertainment Content

As the PESO (Paid. Earned. Shared. Owned) model of disseminating information has become increasingly pervasive, entertainment content is adapting apace. It is vigorously promoted through paid media such as commercials, billboards, and other forms of advertising. Interviews and promotional material on platforms such as Entertainment Tonight represent earned media. Films and TV-based programming now have their own websites, which constitutes owned media. And, of course, it’s difficult to imagine any entertainment content that isn’t shared via a variety of social media platforms.

Can Entertainment Content Exist without Hypercommercialism?

Given the influence of entertainment content, can hypercommercialism be removed from the equation? In the world of entertainment content, the answer is no.

Advertising cannot function without entertainment content, just as entertainment content cannot function without advertising. The two are measured together related to economic success or failure. Advertising once existed within specific slots of time; now, the point where advertising begins or ends is decidedly blurry.