While I only have eyes for Crystal Palace someone I am friends with on Facebook is a Sunderland Football Club supporter. At the beginning of this season when Paolo Di Canio's position at the club was looking to be under threat, Sky Bet started offering odds that he would be the first manager of the season to go.

They posted the question on Facebook and when my friend interacted with the post it appeared on my timeline. At first I was curios, I am not connected to Sky Bet but how had this advert for one of their current bets appeared amongst the pictures of cats and babies that make up most of my Facebook content?

I started reading the comments and read the type of responses you would expect from a football topic. Opinions and the ability to express them ranged widely. I got drawn in, it was very entertaining and that in a nutshell, is Advertainment.

Facebook Ad

iPhone Game

For most of 2013 I have been a big fan of Electronic Arts' Real Racing 3. If you want to see just how close an iPhone 5 can get to a handheld console experience try out this freemium game, it will blow you away.

EA have done well to generate revenue from this game that costs nothing to download and start playing. All of the cars and tracks in the game are facsimiles of the real thing and often when cars are featured, and their in game price discounted for a week, there is a link to an external website, SpeedHunters where first class reviews and pictures of slick performance machines can be found. Your experience begins with in game activity, buying a car, and races out of the game while you read about some of the car's production engineering challenges on the type of website that's putting magazines out of business.

In App Advertising
Mobile Advertising
That's not the only example of this type of Advertainment in the game. There are two forms of in game currency in Real Racing 3. Prize money and gold, the latter becoming harder and harder to come by as the game progresses. One way you can earn gold is to take up an offer of earning some in remuneration for watching a video. The first one I came across was a trailer for Channel 4's drama Top Boy and more recently their has been a trailer for Gree, Inc's Modern War.

While war games are not my thing, I loved Top Boy and there is no denying that this is very targeted marketing, linking people who play certain types of games on their iPhones with gritty urban action television drama. There is every chance the entire video will be watched because the viewer is itching to get racing and the entire experience is interwoven with the game mechanic.

New Wave of Public Relations

Mobile PR
Recently I have come across two London start ups who are producing iPhone apps where Advertainment is not simply a revenue stream subsidising the activity the user is primarily engaged with but the core idea behind the product.

The first is OnePulse, a revolution in PR and is an idea destined to cause a whole lot of disruption. When you use the app you interact with pulses. Pulses are concise questions. The type of questions run the normal gambit of A/B, yes/no, multiple choice and sliding scale. The content is a mixture of topical, entertaining questions about things like user's attitudes to foreign languages or pranking videos through to opinions on existing products, Apple vs Google Maps for eg. and also market research soliciting feedback on details such as price points for products yet to reach the market.

Mobile Public Relations
Most pulses have a monetary value and answering them earns you cash, payable to you via PayPal. It's pretty addictive especially given the incentive but also because you get to see the results of other people's answers. Pure Advertainment at work.

For brands connecting to an audience this way they are able to see feedback in real time. It is easy to plan spending, a £200 budget gets 1000 pulses which earn users 20p (other fees apply). This allows for much more responsiveness, queries can be tweaked or a maximum of three chained together, or once an answer arrived at simply stopped.

One Pulse is available on iPhone

Mobile Video Advertising

Mobile Video Advertising
VidiBee is a Competitive Social Video network where you can enter mobile video-clip competitions for fun with friends, for great rewards and for fabulous prizes.

Competitions are themed by category such as 'Dance Hero' or 'Halloween' and provide a mechanism for brand owners to facilitate real life interaction between audience and products while pouring plenty of fun fuel onto the viral video fire.

The app's creators believe that the 'commercial break' just doesn't work with mobile entertainment and VidiBee now enables Brands to employ non-interruptive advertising and receive genuine engagement from their target audiences.

Like all successful ideas the premise is straight forward. From all the competition titles set by users and brands, you can pick one to enter, record your 15-second video-clip from your phone - using the playful stop-motion capture - and then invite your friends and followers to vote you up on VidiBee.

Vidibee is available on iPhone.

Digital Strategy

Product placements in entertainment are of course not new, James Bond driving a Ford and Netflix's House of Cards essentially being non stop placement spring immediately to mind. However now Advertainment is everywhere you and your mobile go as a digital marketing strategy it has clear wins baked right into the heart of it. Brand experiences are inextricably linked with personal not projected good times, more specific audiences can be reached quicker and cheaper than ever and feedback is in real time.

Expect to see much more of it.