I’ve heard it said many times by marketing people, quietly–even sheepishly, “I’m not sure social media/search/programmatic/mobile/whatever digital really works that well for our brand/company/anyone.” This takes some bravery because questioning the status quo thinking in any industry brands you as an idiot or a savant. Usually the former. Possibly both. Least likely, the latter.

How do you engage your audience with That Which Must Not Be Said?

With humour, if it’s done well. Like the two marketing industry icons above have done throughout their careers. Neither of whom grew up with a mobile phone in their hands. Here’s a topical video ad done by them (and their company) for client Adobe.

Is it any wonder ad blocking is on the rise? Accelerated commercialisation of the social, digital and mobile worlds, which used to sniff at traditional media as being ‘interruptive’, have made their own content much less useful and accessible.

What’s the way forward?

The proliferation of ads and increasingly pesky interruption techniques in digital media are the invention of the media platforms themselves. Adobe Marketing Cloud can’t solve the problem, despite GS&P’s brilliance at identifying it. That can only be altered if the marketing industry demands it from digital media owners, explicitly or tacitly–voting with their feet (yes, an analogue term). This has certainly been an issue in traditional print and broadcast media. In those cases, the enduring media properties are the ones that value environmental quality over ad quantity.

The rest of us need to act as if we believe that the strategy and the creative delivery of it is more important than the technology of the media. Digital media has clear benefits for some target groups and product & service categories. It has its limitations too, just like traditional media does. Often, but not always, the best approach is a combination of media, even the traditional.

In this way, we can all help improve the customer’s analogue and digital experience.

Notes and references:

  1. Photo credit: Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby, co-founders of GS&P, from a 2013 interview in Adweek.