Advertising is Shifting from Creative to Content Excellence

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Coke's Traditional Advertising

We’ve said it before with past blog posts such as The Future of Advertising: Dynamic Storytelling (6 Tips), and we’ll say it again. The future of advertising and marketing will depend more on online content creation in the form of dynamic storytelling that either entertains or educates the end-user. 

If you’re an advertiser or a marketer and have not seen the Coca Cola Content 2020 video (17-minute video broken up into two parts), then we highly advise that you should. The first part shows how advertising is starting to see a shift from having to depend on traditional channels (e.g. TV advertising) to deliver creative one-way storytelling to depend more so on online channels (e.g. social media) to spark dynamic storytelling utilizing branded content and entertainment.

This very video is a perfect example of how advertisers are moving from creative excellence to content excellence. We’re used to seeing Coke use traditional advertising methods (such as in the above Coke billboard ad) to deliver creative and clever marketing messages.

But now, we’re an advertising agency and Coke is giving us tips (10 chapters of it!) on advertising and marketing, doesn’t this seem odd to you? Well, we’re not complaining! In fact, this is a testimony to the very concept they presented in the video, this idea of ”content creation in an enlightening way, reminding us that every contact point with a customer should tell an emotional story,” as stated by Coke.

Christian Haas Quote

The second part of the video goes on to define content as the “creation of stories that are to be expressed through every possible connection.” Or as Christian Haaseloquently stated, “In 2012, advertising will be more than ever the intersection of technology and storytelling.”

We like to think of it as the creation of branded content and entertainment, hence the new concept, “content marketing.” And if you’re looking for some great examples of what content marketing entails, then be sure to check out our previous post entitled, “30 Awesome Content Marketing Examples.”

The Dog Strikes Back: 2012 Volkswagen Superbowl Ad [Video]

You know how much a 30 second Superbowl ad goes for nowadays? I’ll hand it you quick and dirty, a shocking $3 million (approximate)! That’s around $100,000 per second, that’s just crazy! This is why there is so much hype that forms around Superbowl ads.

And Volkswagen shows no signs of slowing down with its’ second 1-minute long Superbowl ad, two years in a row (that’s almost $12 million they spent on just two ads!). You may remember Volkswagen’s ad during last year’s Superbowl, The Force, which gathered millions of views before even the Superbowl launched! Well, now they’re back at it again but instead of using a kid, they use a dog instead. Check it out for yourself and decide for yourself whether it’s worth $6 million dollars.

Honda With a Creatively Awesome Way of Advertising Cars

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

We’ve all see how typical car commercials go: a super-fast, robust and agile car flying down a highway, a mountain road, a desert, or some sort of pathway. I mean the Nissan Maxima commercial says it all about your typical car commercial, although spiced up with the sunset aspect, it’s still classified as unoriginal in my book.

Honda, on the other hand, has done something I haven’t seen in a while. They’ve introduced two ads only two days apart from each other, and each one is more impressive than the other. The first one, introduced yesterday, brings back the legend of Ferris Bueller with this new Super Bowl spot starring Matthew Broderick. 

The advertising agency behind this original piece is RPA, and I really love what they’ve done here. They’ve presented something that has social media viral marketing written all over it. We all know how much social media has affected advertising, and so we know that the best form of advertising is through viral marketing that inspires or entertains people and what better way to do that than to bring back the Ferris Bueller legend after a decade of absence?

The second creative ad was done up by Wieden+Kennedy London, which aims to celebrate the unknown with the spark of an idea. An idea that overcomes many challenges, taking up different paths until it reaches the desired outcome, transforming into something greater than itself. A VO explains: "The unknown. Where all ideas start. It’s not an easy place to go, but keep going. Because you’ll always end up somewhere new. Isn’t that why we call it ‘the great unknown’?"

Middle East: 20% Trust Online Sources More than Traditional Media

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

You’ve heard this before I’m sure, that traditional media and advertising is on the decline after the advent of social media and online advertising. We’ve heard this from many experts such Larry Weber in his book, “Marketing to the Social Web”, where he cites studies that reveal that only 18% of people now trust advertisements.

To add to that, Nielsen came out with a study that suggests that 70% of people trust the opinions of complete strangers online, so imagine how much they trust the opinions of their fiends posted on social media sites!

These kinds of studies however are mostly conducted in the west (mostly US and UK), but now we finally have one that focuses on the MENA region, giving us a better insight on the media industry in the Middle East.

YouGov recently surveyed 30,000 adults in the MENA region to give us a better insight of the use of social media and digital media devices with the following findings:

  • 1 in 5 now trust online sources more than traditional media
  • 45% of respondents access digital media using mobile phones
  • 47% use the Internet to surf for new TV shows

And don’t expect any of those numbers to go down, especially in light of the fact that the MENA is still the growth stage when it comes to online and social media adoption, and has not reached near-maturity stages like Western regions have.

As for Kuwait, the numbers are impressive when you take a look at the study conducted by the Dubai School of Government in their Arab Social Media Report, where it was revealed that Kuwait scored in the top 5 regions for the following categories:

  • New Facebook Users In the Arab Region and Globally as % of Population
  • Number of Active Twitter Users in the Arab Region
  • Twitter penetration as a percentage of population
  • Number of Tweets in the Arab Region
It’s no surprise that 75% of companies now are using Twitter as a marketing tool, seeing that consumer behavior is switching to online and is drastically being affected by online media as opposed to the declining traditional media.

Hilarious TV TV Commercial [VIDEO]

And no! That 2nd “TV” word is not an a repeated word! This is a TV commercial about TV’s, and it shows the peak of creativity with a hilarious twist at the end! I bet you $100 you will not be able to guess what the guy on the security camera is doing. Go ahead and have a try at it.

The advertising agency, Y&R Amsterdam, realized that 30 seconds wasn’t long enough to set up the joke so they extended it to a minute long. Genius move! What’s even more genius is the fact that they did not try to use pushy selling strategies with corny headlines and slogans! A lesson for all of us my advertising agency friends.

New Starbust Ad of the Day [VIDEO]

Ad Week once again gives us some funny ads to laugh at and at the same time, learn from, with their “ad of the day” posts. We like the ads that use a twist of comedy and creativity to provide funny, yet clever ads that somehow (whether directly or implicitly) relate to the product itself.

This ad cleverly shows a lady giving Starbust to a dude hoping she can have him go through a “Flavor Morph” of his own and start fresh by “getting off the streets!” Anyway, we’ll leave you to have a few laughs on your own with the video itself, enjoy!

A Lesson for Graphic Designers and their Clients

We stumbled upon a great article and a 4-set Venn diagram on The Next Web, shedding some light on some really important lessons when it comes to graphic design work submitted to clients. 

There are four sets or rings, each one representing an attribute: Great, fast, cheap, or free. But wait, you can only pick two rings at a time (except for cheap and free obviously!), and the intersecting portions between the chosen two rings give you the result of that graphic design work. 

The thing is, not everybody will understand the expressions or results written in each intersecting area, so we’ve taken the liberty of explaining them for you.

Graphic design work that is:

  • Fast and CheapDipped in ugly sauce with haste and carelessness - The work is going to be of low quality because the graphic designer had to do it fast without giving it much thought.
  • Cheap and Great: Just in time to be too late - Yeah graphic designers can provide such work, but they’ll submit it after months of waiting! That’s because they’re offering low prices, so they not only will they get a flock of clients but they will have waiting lists too.
  • Fast, Cheap, and Great: Impossible utopia - It’ll never happen; imaginary!
  • Great and Free: Try again - Try picking another two sets, because these two together are impossible. Nothing free comes with quality!
  • Free and Fast: Trash - Self-explanatory; junk!
  • Great, Free and Fast: Go away - They’re telling you to get out of here I know, it’s a bit rude but they’re right, nothing can be further away from the truth!
  • Fast and Great: You get what you pay for - Aha! If you want quality work at a fast pace, then it’s going to come at a high price. That’s because a graphic designer will spend all of his time and effort one just one client, forgoing other potential revenues, so the price will make up for the opportunity cost.

We like the last point, clients deserve to receive high quality work with a fast turn-around, but graphic designers and advertisers are not robots nor do they work for pennies. They should be able to charge premium prices for the premium work clients expect of them at a fast pace. It only makes sense.

How to NOT Let Social Media Ruin Your Business Reputation

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

If you were following the news last year, especially on Twitter, you may have heard about Netflix’s disaster story in September 2011 when they unexpectedly hiked prices without giving sufficient notice to their customers.

They cancelled their $9.99 combined streaming and DVD plan and separated the services into two separate $7.99 plans. Anyway, long story short, their stock dropped 50%, a loss of half of its value in the matter of 2 months!

After a month and a half, Netflix lost more than 805,000 Netflix customers due to the unexpected price hike, and do you know what ignited this massive boycott?

There are 2 main reasons:

1) The fact that daunting remarks and negative reviews spread like wildfire on social media, especially Twitter!

2) Their failure to properly implement effective social media public relations (PR) in response to this catastrophe. 

One reason is because they it took 3 months for Netflix to respond to the situation, one of the deadliest sins when it comes to public relations, especially in the social media age where things happen by the second.

I came across two great articles that are extremely useful in helping companies rectify their reputation when faced with a social media PR crisis. The first one is called, The 7 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make During A PR Crisis.

You can read the article in full if you wish, but I will give you the cream of the crop:

  1. Distancing yourself from the problem.
  2. Lacking quick, tangible action to remedy the situation.
  3. Looking insincere in front of the media.
  4. Writing a boring news release and letting things be.
  5. Ignoring customers’ questions.
  6. Keeping the CEO out of view.
  7. Having Vague Communications.

The second article is one that is written by the awesome Mashable, and it’s called 6 Steps for Protecting Corporate Reputation in the Social Media Age. Here are the 6 gems they were so kind to share:

  1. Don’t Pretend a Crisis Is Not Happening
  2. Don’t Make an Empty Gesture
  3. Don’t Refuse to Backtrack
  4. Develop Channels of Communication
  5. Establish a Crisis Communications Response Team
  6. Become Influential and Change Perceptions

Anyway, the biggest mistake Netflix made is that they ignored the angry mob that was formed through social media, and they paid a high price for that. As advertising and PR professionals, we all know that in business, unfortunately, you are what the public think of you, so let’s learn from these valuable lessons and take some safeguards to protect our own reputations along with our clients.

Advertising in the Craziest, and Least Expected Place and Way

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

The last place I would’ve suspected there would be animations, let alone ads, is right on the display of a vending machine! But how, you may ask. I know, it’s crazy isn’t it?

Sun Dun, a large manufacturer of vending machines, is working on a concept model for the next-generation, which features a see-through, touch-screen display that simultaneously features animated text, graphics, and even ads. 

This vending machine has the ability to conduct anonymous face recognition all while figuring out if the person is male or female, or old or young. How are they able to do that? Don’t ask me!

The craziest thing about this near-human vending machine, is that when someone stands in front of it, it can estimate their attributes through anonymous video analysis and then show advertising content that matches their demographics! 

OK, we all seen this kind of craziness in movies like Tom Cruises’s “Minority Report”, and it’s finally starting to become reality, but one question still lies unanswered: will it actually achieve the objective of providing relevant ads to standing customers, because although the machine is able to figure out their age, demographics, and sex, there are still many personal attributes that need to be figured out such as what foods they like, clothes they buy, and movies they watch (now you know that I like Tom Cruise movies!)

Unless, of course, the vending machine is able to do some face recognition magic and grab their Facebook profile using their uploaded images of themselves. Yes, it’s very possible.

Actually, there have been some rumors claiming that soon enough you will be able to take a picture of let’s say, an anonymously hot girl at the cafe, and then do a facial recognition search on Facebook, and wam kazaam, there she is! It may very well be a rumor, but you never know, the way things are going with technology and social media nowadays, it seems like anything this crazy is possible.