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  • The digital citizen 7:54 pm on September 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: online creative   

    Online Creative: Beauty is not enough 

    Recently I attended a series of meetings with online creative agencies to discuss creative executions for my upcoming campaigns. It occurred to me that the term “beautiful” to describe creative has come back to fashion. Phrases such as “beautifully showcasing the product”, “beautiful inspirational creative” etc were thrown into the conversation by the creative agency trendies making me wonder: when did beautiful become so important for creative? Are we still in 2001?

    Clearly we are not in 2001. But in the years since then online has changed, as online adverts lost their appeal and social media created a new demand among people, that demand being communication. However, some creative agencies have found themselves unprepared for this social revolution, promoting design over strategy, to make up for their lack of forward thinking.

    This school of creativity is also helped by the fact that not all clients are comfortable engaging in dialogue with the consumers, giving online display a new lease of life.

    So when online adverts are necessary, in order to make sure that they fulfill their role, they should answer the following questions:

    Does the creative represent the brand values? Is it is line with the brand vision?

    Does the creative showcase the product benefits ? In an honest and simple way?

    Why will the user want to interact with the creative?

    What will the user do after interacting with the creative?

    But remember: beautiful is subjective. It is an opinion, not a fact. Also is it decreasingly relevant nowdays and soon it won’t be relevant at all.

  • The digital citizen 6:42 pm on August 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , teens   

    Digital Realism: advertising to teens 

    When advertisers get it wrong, they get it very wrong. And this is exactly what is currently happening with many advertisers’ perception on advertising to teenagers.

    The Morgan Stanley report on how teens consume online media, written by a 15 year old Stanley Morgan intern, came as a shock to the online gurus/experts/coaches, who, with the social media boom, had all of a sudden developed and unfounded expertise in teens advertising.

    To a certain extend I understand why the hype. Social media are exciting; advertisers can use them to apply innovation and stand out. Ambitious people tend to be more involved with social media, understanding that this is where the opportunities lie.

    Furthermore, with the standard display advertising response rates decreasing day on day and year on year, it is natural for agencies to try to find new ways to engage with their clients’ prospective customers.

    But there is a problem; social media strategies should reflect the contemporary society, not a futuristic one. A good social media strategist has a keen interest in and understanding of sociology as well as marketing.

    The numbers speak for themselves:

    The Nielsen Study (June ’09) on the myths and realities of teen media trends explodes the common, among social enthusiasts, myths and gives an honest and holistic picture on the teen media consumption. What it basically says is that teens are normal. And as such they should be treated, approached and advertised to.

    This is the harsh (for social gurus) reality; teens are highly dependent individuals, with limited (if any) spending power. They are time poor due to their school commitments and in their free time they are more concerned about building their social, rather than digital, image. Remember yourselves as teens? did you rather be at home or out and about with your friends?

    Teens are not a standalone social group but part of a society with contemporary priorities and needs. And as these priorities and needs change, our strategies should be drafted within the context of the society we currently live in and not the one we would like to be living in.

    Sociological analysis is therefore key to a successful strategy to reach teens. Sociology, and not imagination, will help advertisers identify where teens can be found; when and where they are more likely to listen; and how and when to speak to them. Social media can then be (a central) part of the overall human centric strategy, taking into consideration the target’s actual lifestyle choices.

    It is about time that social media gurus, experts and coaches stopped the preaching and started thinking, for their own sake and that of their clients. It is about time they applied some realism into their strategies.

    Unfounded and unsupported by sociological facts campaigns not only put our clients in danger of great failures but also geopardise the future credibility on social media as an advertising platforms.

    • bezalel 7:07 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I read the report. Initially one is confronted by a strong feeling of certainty: “I know I probably have the wrong view, but it’s not that far from the reality”, I thought. And then one realizes he is, far from it. It’s frightening really. First, because strategies are drawn by “taken for granted” behaviors and second -now, that’s the REALLY scary part- , because everyone in the market knows it. Of course, the Nielsen June 2009 report is no “light courier”. In the report’s introduction, it’s visible to the reader that the media habits of the teenagers, are more taken from granted than argued about in the marketing industry: “Our findings challenge a whole host of assumptions about media habits of this generation (…)”, we read. And then, one assumes (since assumption is clearly a key word here), that advertising runs with ideas that are drawn into doubt. “How teens use media” – “How marketers develop strategies”. 🙂 No defense here, but I find it the hardest task for a society not to get stuck. The opposite is a real challenge.

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