A clarion call: put entertainment upfront

Amazon has money to spend. There is no better evidence of this than its decision to splash a rumoured $2.5m on the opening sequence of a TV series featuring three middle-aged English guys.

Indeed, each episode of The Grand Tour, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson et al, is said to be costing around $4.5m. The above mentioned sequence is set in the Dead Desert and features 6,000 extras. The BBC this ain’t.

So what has this got to do with content marketing?

What is content marketing?

Quite a lot, actually. This is clearly a loss leader for Amazon. The programme is never going to recoup that money, despite plans to take it to 150 markets around the world.

This is purely about getting people to sign up for Amazon Prime. And once hooked they are likely to buy more as well as paying for the service.

Research found that Amazon Prime customers spend on average $1,200 a year compared to $500 for non-members.

Content marketing is about companies producing top-quality content to induce potential customers to buy or become aware of the brand. Viewed through that prism, The Grand Tour looks like a bold content marketing strategy.

Drama, podcasts and other stuff

In fact, Amazon’s move is not even that original. GE recently brought back GE Theatre as a podcast. The original dates back to the Fifties. Back then, GE sponsored a TV series featuring adaptations of plays and novels. Actors who appeared in it included James Dean, the Marx Brothers and Ronald Reagan.

In our recent interview with Dan Norris, who wrote content marketing guide Content Machine, he said content should be about what people are interested in rather than just your business.

As an example, Norris blogged about start-up culture rather than the benefits of his WordPress support service.

What to do?

There are other messages that brands can put out in their content marketing that go beyond the core proposition. No, they might not generate sales leads straight away but will provide a knock-on effect further down the line.


You don’t need to blow up a caravan to get people interested in your company. Nor should you avoid talking about the core message. Even Amazon does that.

A clarion call: put entertainment upfront is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.