before you innovate, get your story straight
Oh noes! The Black Eyed Peas are on hiatus…INDEFINITELY. Why? Maybe it's because their front man, Will.i.am, was just crowned 'director of creative innovation' for Intel. That's right, your favorite singing, dancing Doritos commercial is now a brand exec, and the first thing he did was go to Cannes to blow minds...
'Where do [brands] go when people have the ability to TiVo things? When your tablet is more important than a magazine. What does a full-page ad mean that is still, it doesn't move. We're experiencing the birth of something. There's a big void that people are trying to fill.
Right-O. Willy's rather unoriginal battle cry? Go multiplatform because print and TV are dying or dead.
It's not his fault—he's a singer/robot, but I think his is the kind halfway-there industry thinking that's given birth to an acute new state of advertising malaise. Don’t get me wrong: I’m excited excited about the opportunities new media harbor—if I wasn’t, I’d be in the wrong business—but I also think that we as marketers need to take a collective deep breath before the plunge. But we haven't, so instead we're so deeply consumed with ‘innovating’ in terms of how to reach consumers that we’ve neglected what we’re actually saying to them, i.e., creative is taking a backseat to strategy.
We’ve grown up in the age of pop-ups and pornography. We’re accustomed to x-ing out of the things we don’t want and feverishly fast-forwarding to the things we do. Control is literally in our hand and our attention span is shorter than ever. And yet to reach us, Chrysler wants to append a must-watch 30-second spot (the very same one they run on TV) to the talking dog video we’re trying to watch on YouTube? Other than “no dog for you,” what does this say to us? It says that this brand doesn’t care who we are or what we’re doing here. And it evokes the same kind of annoyance as being handed an eyebrow waxing coupon on the street. Or sitting through a Black Eyed Peas halftime show for that matter.
Understanding what makes one platform unique and tailoring content accordingly trumps spreading unvaried creative across all possible platforms. That was Honda Australia’s stance with “How Much Rap Can You Pack in a Jazz,” a one minute YouTube commercial that featured BANGS, a famous (and famously hilarious) YouTube rapper packing a car with as many girls and as much bling as he could. The brand recognized that YouTube viewers are not network TV viewers, and payed homage to their culture in a meaningful way, simultaneously communicating “our cars are spacious” and “we get you.” Unsurprisingly the spot resonated, garnering 200,000+ views in a couple of weeks—in part because they’d harnessed the power of ‘viral video’ and ‘social media integration,’ but mostly because they'd created something that simply felt like the Internet.
-Nick Elliott, ACD