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Disrupt industries, not experiences. This was a major theme at the JWT New York Advertising & Marketing Hub at Social Media Week last week. More 2013 panels focused on the shift away from finding effective ways of disrupting an experience with your brand’s message, to incorporating your brand’s message into a positive experience.
Raise your hand: how many of you love clicking banner ads or display ads? OK, now the less than 1% of you (on a good day) can put your hands down. On the other hand, how many of you have read sponsored content (aka native advertising, aka advertorials) on BuzzFeed or Mashable (among others) and actually enjoyed it? Here’s an example: Top 10 Worst Celebrity Golfers, sponsored by The Golf Channel.
BuzzFeed (whose presentation on social media party fouls we highlighted last week) spoke not just about social but also about authenticity in advertising, summing up the trend and its benefits to both brands and users convincingly. For their readers, this content is just as good as unsponsored BuzzFeed content--engaging, entertaining and often GIF-filled. This is a more authentic brand experience, more shareable and the result is more mutually beneficial. BuzzFeed is working to create experiences of “content that feels natural on our site.”
Ian Schafer, founder of Deep Focus, hosted an “Evening of Disruption” where he interviewed entrepreneurs who are responsible for disrupting a range of industries from direct sales and jewelry to film making and government. He kicked off his presentation with the following quote: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” -- Clay Shirky
Now if you work in advertising, think about that. If you’ve ever sold someone a banner ad, think about that. If you’ve ever pitched an idea that you as a consumer wouldn’t buy, think about that.
The panel on disruption throughout different industries framed the rest of the week’s content and the shift toward native advertising.
On a Native Advertising panel hosted by TIME, Inc. and moderated by Mashable, Kevin Knight of Facebook summed things up with: “Native advertising means that the content is authentic to the medium through which it’s conveyed...For too many years we have, in digital, been pushing advertising that existed solely to interrupted what people have come there to do.”
For a while now, we’ve understood that all brands are publishers, so the most successful marketing departments are functioning as “newsrooms.” Successful brands (hello, Oreo) are making the best content they can as quickly as possible, and not getting stuck in contemplation constipation. That means the “new advertising” should follow the same ideas. Challenge yourself to create experiences that disrupt the marketing status quo without disrupting your user experience.