Marketing has always been about creativity. Nowadays advertisers are busy trying to come up with new ways to reach consumers. Online video is very popular with videos on YouTube commonly receiving millions of views of more. These however are content videos that interest views in some way. The same love is not shared for advertisements which receive the “skip” or “change the channel” treatment. The challenge for advertising campaigns is creating ways to promote a product or service that is well received by audiences. There are many examples of promotion that bridge the gap between advertisement and video content. One such example is Go Pro, which uses customer shot footage of extreme sports to promote their products. These advertisements treat audiences to thrilling footage while also demonstrating the capabilities of the product being promoted. This is an effective way of marketing because it increases the likelihood that views will be tuning into the content and paying attention.
Featuring customer produced content to promote a product isn’t the only way effectively market. Many advertisements try to entertain the audience. Incorporating entertainment value into a commercial increases audience engagement. However, this strategy can often be hit or miss because it takes focus away from the actual product or service being promoted. When attention is drawn to much to the skit, promotion comes down to how well the audience liked the production. Promoting a product on the basis of whether a commercial succeeds in “making people laugh” is risky. This strategy can often backfire by leaving audiences with an unfavourable opinion of the advertisement and the brand behind it. Audiences can gain negative opinions of a product because of a poorly executed skit that had very little to do with what was being promoted. This situation is an example what can go wrong when product promotion becomes too focused on the video content and forget the product. In order to increase audience engagement for a positive cause, businesses should focus on finding entertainment value within their products or services. This means demonstrating the capabilities of what is being promoted in an exciting or artistic way that intrigues audiences.
There are many companies that have had well executed advertising campaigns do just that. One example, Apple, has managed to add entertainment content to its promotion using variety of ways. In some of its iPhone commercials, Apple uses customer shot footage to showcase their phone’s capable camera. They’ve also employed popular entertainers Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake to demonstrate their phone’s other features in amusing ways. These are both examples of bridging the gap between commercial and entertainment content while staying true to the product. An example of a poorly executed marketing campaign is Toyota’s “bold Camry” segments. These advertisements claim that the redesigned Camry is bold and then go on to a skit about a bold decision that a character makes. The flaw in this campaign, besides the poor writing, is that any connections to the product are marginal. The claim that the car is bold is completely objective and has little to do with the main selling points of an economy car. These advertisements then move onto a skit that has even less to do with the product. In this example of error when “bridging the gap”, the marketing team ignored the main selling points of an economy car (fuel economy, safety, price, etc.) and went ahead with a questionable script. A very important rule when adding entertainment value to any advertising piece is to keep the content relative.
Keeping content entertaining is a sure way to increase audience engagement. This is crucial to getting through to consumers and should be a goal of any marketing plan. Businesses should also exercise caution in this regard and check that they are not drifting too far from what is being promoted. At the end of the day, advertising is still about the product.