You have to give the candy with the medicine – Brendan Gahan*
This philosophy is used by Mekanism (1) for their online advertisements. I believe this is going to become the new standard for big name advertisers trying to be relevant. The content they produce has to be so good that it doesn’t matter that it promotes something. Advertising gurus have been saying that who can possibly handle so many advertisements, and that was before the internet. The amount of noise is increasing at such a rapid pace (2), and the only way to get your brand out there is to cut through this. One of the most effective ways to do this is to give the audience viral, awesome, cool, shareable etc. content that they will watch and interact with. It is definitely harder than making a banner ad.
*Brendan spoke on a course I bought, I highly recommend you check it out here.
You can follow him on twitter here: https://twitter.com/brendangahan
1) Mekanism: http://www.mekanism.com/
2) The closing of google reading didn’t help much either see this article here https://medium.com/future-tech-future-market/7b1a7ddb6ffe