Food and beverage companies have created their own online branded entertainment sites, seamlessly weaving a variety of interactive content with product pitches and cartoon "spokescharacters." Designed to encourage young consumers to engage playfully with products over long periods of time, many offer "free" content, games, merchandise, and endless replays of television commercials.1 With the growth of broadband technology, these digital playgrounds have evolved into highly sophisticated "immersive" experiences, including entire programs and "channels" built around brands. Multicultural marketers are keenly aware of the strong interest in music among African American and Hispanic/ Latino youth, and have created branded entertainment featuring popular celebrities and offering free downloads of their recordings. 2
1 For a description of some of the current branded entertainment sites food companies have created for children, see Moore, It's Child's Play.
2 Felipe Korzenny, Betty Ann Korzenny, Holly McGavock, and Maria Gracia Inglessis, "The Multicultural Marketing Equation: Media, Attitudes, Brands, and Spending," Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, Florida State University, 2006, p. 6, http://hmc.comm.fsu.edu/FSUAOLDMSMultiMktg.pdf (viewed 12 Mar. 2007).
3 Martin Lindstrom, "Brand Marketer, Storyteller," ClickZ Network, 24 Oct. 2006, http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3623749 (viewed 28 Mar. 2007).
4 Louise Story, "Brands Produce Their Own Shows," New York Times, 10 Nov.2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/10/business/media/10adco.html ?_r=1&ref=technology&oref=slogin (viewed 28 Mar. 2007).