One of Brian’s Favorite Quotes
All legislation, all government, all society is founded upon the principle of mutual concession, politeness, comity, courtesy; upon these everything is based… Let him who elevates himself above humanity, above its weaknesses, its infirmities, its wants, its necessities, say, if he pleases, I will never compromise; but let no one who is not above the frailties of our common nature disdain compromises.”
— Henry Clay (1777–1852)
Why Branded Content Is A Big Waste Of Time For Most Advertisers
Last week I talked about the of Blendtec’s “Will it blend” YouTube campaign in comparison to the mostly fruitless, multi-million dollar extravaganzas we can expect to see on the up-coming Super Bowl.
Having said that, I don’t expect my awesome powers of persuasion will have convinced the Fortune 100 to switch most of their ad budgets into homemade videos they can saturate YouTube with in the hope that they’ll go “viral.”
Because “viral” is the big flavor of the month these days, along with “branded content,” which is AdComSpeak for the stuff Joe in the mail room made for ten dollars with his home video camera. The stuff you hope will be so entertaining that millions will watch and be persuaded to become your customers for life.
The problem is, you can’t just stick it out there—somehow you have to tell your intended audience it is now
The answer is 1,000 years, and every day, there’s about another million videos posted. You could always spend millions on ads pointing people towards your video on YouTube, but that would kinda defeat the object, right? Perhaps you can link to it as part of your elaborately crafted social networking program. You know, the one where you have Joe in the mail room (yeah, the guy with the video camera) post something pithy once a week on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and whatever else is “hot” right now.
As I mentioned last week, all these efforts may generate bucket loads of engagement metrics, but they are of little use when they can’t be traced back to sales that have originated in answer to specific calls to action. This is even more difficult when you commit to the production of “branded content,” which is supposed to be of high entertainment value, rather than a blatantly obvious sales pitch.
Perhaps the key is to remember the valuable word’s of long dead ad legend, David Ogilvy, “The consumer isn’t stupid, she’s your wife,” along with those of fellow long dead ad legend, Howard Gossage. “People don’t read advertising, they read what interests them, and sometimes that’s advertising.” Besides proving that all the best people in advertising are dead, this also shows that with the ever increasing emphasis on mobile as the media of the future, it should serve as a red flag to those creating obtrusive content which delivers no value to the target, merely serving as an interruption to the task at hand.
Never forget, most people think advertising in all its varieties is nothing more than smoke and mirrors dispensed by snake oil salesmen. So why do we constantly reinforce this perception by hitting them over the head with crudely crafted communications we convince ourselves are two way conversations, when in reality they are nothing more than one sided shouting matches?