Advertising that effectively pushes brands while serving as entertainment will replace the disruptive advertising that is common place today. Disrupting the content that consumers wants to see with an ad is not nearly as effective as seamlessly embedding the ad in the content they do want to see and go searching for.
Product Placement and Soap Boxes
Product placement in movies and the original soap box shows are two examples where this approach has been effective. Placing a Coke in the main stars hand or making it obvious that James Bond drives a BMW embeds the ad into the entertainment the user wants to see. It is more subtle, but often times extremely effective; especially when building a brand or product image.
The original soap box TV shows in the 50s offered entertainment and adverting tailored to be enjoyable to watch by household wives while they were at home all day. Advertisers were trying to sell them household goods and it worked well for years.
Both of these approaches have proved successful, but have not been relied upon by the majority of advertisers because traditional, disruptive advertising has still been effective for the most part and easier to produce. On top of that, they didn’t used to be able to track how effective or ineffective their advertising actually was. This is all changing though.
The Battle for Attention and Trust
The competitive landscape for most product markets has become exceedingly crowded; each shouting with irrelevant advertising messages to consumers who are distracted and aren’t listening.
With 3 TV channels, 2 newspapers, and a couple radio stations, advertisers used to be able to create one creative concept that would be blasted out to the majority of the population. The relatively few advertisers competing for consumer attention were able to distribute their easier to hear messages to consumers that were more receptive, which ultimately moved the revenue needle in a meaningful way. Whole businesses and even industries were built on this model. In contrast, the average consumer today comes across something like 15,000 commercial messages in one day. This overload has created the battle for attention a real fight.
Seth Godin takes it further and points out that the only thing more difficult to earn as a business besides attention is trust. After all, as an advertiser you don’t want to be the kid who screams in class where everyone knows you’re there, but no one wants to talk to you.
Old Spice and Dos Equis and BMW, O My
This attention fight has forced commercials to evolve to become entertaining and consumers have loved it. Old Spice’s now famous commercials have been welcomed into pop culture because they’re hilarious. They’re the kind that someone would tell their friend about and that would cause someone to search through all of YouTube’s vast archives to find more.
Dos Equis’s ads have created a spokesperson they call “The Most Interesting Man in the World”. He usually gives some absolutely hysterical piece of advice that has nothing to do with their beer and then looks at the camera at the end of the commercial and says “stay thirsty my friends”. They’ve run these on Pandora and they have actually caused me to stop what I was doing and pay attention to it in hopes that it was a new one in their series. Disruptive advertising takes on a whole new meaning here.
As usual, BMW takes it to the next level. They hired a movie director (not just a commercial director) to create 15 minute car chase scenes that look like they’re straight out of a James Bond movie. Each has a very basic plot such as a guy racing in his BMW to save the girl he loves before the bad guy hurts her. The whole thing is completely engaging and beautifully well done showing off the excellent handling, power, and overall classiness of their cars. There wasn’t any hard sell though. They didn’t tell you where you can buy one, what features it had, or how fast it can accelerate to 60 miles per hour. It also wasn’t just 30 seconds long. They have been able to capture consumer’s attention and show off their product for as long as 15 minutes at a time.
Read part 2 to learn about specific aspects of what the future of branded entertainment, product placement, and related revenue streams will look like.
What do you think will come next in the advertising evolution?
Listen to me speak on 7 Social Media Trends on November 27th in San Diego.