New Content For A New World
Having descended en masse to Silicon Valley last year, it was a logical next step for some of the world’s largest advertisers to visit another modern mecca in 2011: Hollywood.
After all, having seen how interactive and social media can diminish the power of traditional marketing, brands realized they needed something more seductive to take its place if consumer relationships in a digital world were to go beyond sales and customer service.
Celebrated for franchises that enchant and entertain, Tinseltown was an ideal source of inspiration, observed Chris Reitermann, president of ad agency Ogilvy & Mather Group Shanghai and OgilvyOne Greater China.
“This year everybody talks about content, storytelling and entertainment, and using digital channels to do so,” said Reitermann, speaking at digital marketing conference SES Hong Kong 2011.
“We literally had most of our major clients organize some trips out to Hollywood to meet with scriptwriters and film studios. Some brands started having deals or partnerships or even bought into movie studios.
"The whole area of entertainment and developing content is a very hot topic.”
For agencies constrained by the limitations of traditional media, the changes fostered by digital media are liberating, providing a bigger playground and bigger platform for content and brand stories.
Ad agencies are already adept at telling stories through TV commercials, the best of which people can seek out online as well as catch on TV.
To make the most of interactive and social media however, Reitermann feels adland needs to better understand what other options the always evolving online space offers, and how these new possibilities in turn can fuel better ideas.
Agencies also need to get up to speed on how these ideas, often seeded around standalone content, are then picked up and shared through digital networks, as well as how this process can be given a boost through paid media – an area where digital opportunities are also becoming more diverse.
“Clients like to talk about earned media and owned media, because they think that’s free," Reitermann said. "But there’s a lot of innovation and new possibilities in the paid media space that are very relevant for us.”
While filled with possibility, this connected, on-demand world also presents brands with two major challenges: coming up with enough content to fill these new channels, and then presenting it in a way that delivers on a sustained basis.
Various forms of entertainment, from sponsored events to video, help support Puma’s positioning as both a lifestyle and a sports brand for example, though the company can’t generate all the content it needs by itself.
“We can be the inspiration and be the seed, but we do need to work with partners and more importantly with consumers,” remarked Puma’s Asia-Pacific head of marketing, Adrian Toy.
“Brands become curators,” added Toy, also speaking at SES on a separate panel. “I provide platforms for consumers to give me content, or work with partners to give me content, and then we ultimately curate what is good for the brand.”
The idea of crowdsourced content has spooked some agencies, as a challenge to a core revenue stream. For advertisers however, it represents a way to maintain close ties with consumers at a time when media fragmentation makes it increasingly hard for marketing messages to be heard.
“I would expect the quality to be better if you pay someone to do content, but consumers want to see other consumers’ stuff – people with the same passions, who have the same insights,” Toy said.
“It’s always good to have a mix. We need to do some content but to be the catalyst for everyone else to join in.”
From Hollywood to Bollywood
Increasing consumption of online media across different devices should accelerate this trend. Tellingly, many advertisers followed last year’s visits to tech titans in San Francisco with a similar trip this year to Beijing, this time to sit down with Chinese internet giants such as Baidu and Tencent.
This exchange has already accelerated fresh approaches to digital marketing in China for some of Ogilvy’s biggest clients, Reitermann noted, proposing that global marketing chiefs are planning another Asian excursion that could reshape marketing plans again in 2012.
“This year they go to Hollywood, next year they will go to Bollywood,” he said. “If you want be first, you can go this year.”
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