In many ways, product placement and entertainment is becoming indistinguishable. I think of just last year, when we watched ads for films which appeared to be just like any other YouTube video, like "Ape With AK-47," which was an ad for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. In my humble opinion, what advertisers are realizing is that traditional commercials are losing their impact more than ever before. We're in the midst of a digital revolution, and we don't pay much attention to commercials very much anymore. And the ones that we do pay attention to are getting more and more ridiculous. Advertisers know now they MUST create compelling content, something that stands on its own as being entertainment, while still advertising the product.
I think there's no doubt whatsoever that brands are going to become their own studios. They'll always have to remind themselves, though, that content comes first, which is what the Coca-Cola strategy is becoming. What I think we might see is, long-form content (episodes) on a particular brand's website or channel, and short-form content (ads) on traditional TV directing people to the website/channel. That's nthe othing new, but I think we're going to see much much more of it. The short-form content will be the length of regular commercials, but there will be a cinematic quality, or story, that will make people want to see the longer version.
The ultimate goal is to convince consumers that they are NOT just getting a reminder to buy a product. The idea will always be to use the product in such a way that an emotional connection is made with both the product and the story.