5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Must Know in September 2018

SQADPOD: 5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Should Know – September 2018

Industry news and insights podcast curated from the world of advertising and marketing trends.

SQAD Pod – September 2018
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With the return of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, fall is officially upon us, regardless of the weather outside. All the coffeehouses are replacing their fruity summer favorites with hot drinks for the cooling temperatures. People are reluctantly packing away their summer clothes and searching for their coziest fall sweaters as the leaves start to fall from the trees. The seasons change just like the advertising trends that transform the industry. This month, we’re talking about crowdsourcing ad ideas, Nike’s controversial ad strategy, the personal side of political ads, mood-inspired advertising, and the creative side of ad campaigns.

1. Crowdsourcing Ad Creative

Publishers often find themselves tossing a large portion of their marketing budgets into creative departments to find the most strategic ways to market to their readers. Now, some publishers are tapping into a less traditional resource for ad ideas – the very people you will be advertising to. User-generated platforms like 9GAG, Tumblr, and Thought Catalog are calling on their loyal users to be the creative drive for advertising content that could be used in pitches to advertisers. According to these companies, this direct user input is invaluable because they are the target audience and know the types of campaigns that will speak the loudest and resonate the most with people like them (or at least that’s the hope). And it turns out this form of crowdsourcing advertising ideas is a win/win: the publishers are paying these users for the projects they work on, but the cost of developing these creative ideas is far less expensive than running the process through a massive creative department. Strategies like this mean company pockets have a bit more cash.

2. Nike Bets on Controversy

Nike is no stranger to controversy, historically spurring conversation around difficult topics through its marketing campaigns that touch upon subjects from ageism to disabilities. Recently, the launch of their new ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has caused a little backlash and a whole lot of press coverage. Thanks to the viral wildfire of advocates and protesters alike, the ad spot shot through social media and the world like lightning. Compounding the resonance of the ad were the ancillary protest and support posts that closely followed. Some even went as far as setting their Nike sneakers on fire in protest (they certainly won’t be getting a refund). The local and national news then picked up on the reaction to the ad, which spread the message further than Nike ever could have done with their original online-only ad strategy. Some say Nike is “taking a side” on a controversial topic, while other say it was a shrewd advertising gamble that has magnified Nike’s media presence and brand awareness unlike any ad currently running. No matter how you slice it, people are talking about Nike, and isn’t that what advertising is all about? Take out the politics and the personality, and you’re left with an incredibly successful branding campaign that boosted the companies stocks by 30% – if it was a gamble, Nike beat the house.

3. Putting People Back in Politics

Traditionally, political ads follow a predictable formula of the candidate looking straight into the camera promising better policies around healthcare, taxes, education, and other issues. You see dramatic cuts to handshakes in the local community, ribbon cuttings, kissing babies, and fiery rhetoric from the podium. Predictable, and apparently, passé. Now, we’re going to be seeing more and more candidates dropping the slick, over-produced montage ads in favor of more documentary-style videos that feel more grassroots and approachable. Candidates share personal stories that feel authentic to the viewer, while deflating potential negative ads from opponents. When a candidate uses a personal story about coming from an abusive household, or a relative who struggled to find work due to a criminal record, or having a mother who battled addiction, they are essentially adding a defensive shield of sympathy around their campaign. After all, who wants to vote for the guy that attacked an injured veteran or domestic violence survivor? When a candidate leads with something that feels like authentic vulnerability, voters notice. They go from being voters to being advocates. Best of all, these types of videos are a lot less costly to make and are more likely to go viral. You can bet we’re going to be seeing more of these as the mid-term elections approach.

4. In the Mood to Buy

Advertisers have a lot of data to work with when targeting consumers. There’s vast amounts information on location, demographic, income, hobbies, sports, books… you name it and there’s data for it. Now, media companies are looking to target ads based on the emotional state of their audience. The New York Times launched a tool called Project Feels that lets advertisers target ads based on the type of emotional response certain contain is expected to elicit. ESPN rolled out LiveConnect, which gauges how sports fans react to different parts of a game, how they feel about team lineups, and then aligns that data with advertisers’ goals. And these companies are seeing a positive impact for advanced mood targeting. For example, the USA Today Network ran an ad campaign for a nonprofit that targeted people reading inspirational stories (that we all know evoke a certain type of feeling). The result? Twenty-five percent higher donation rates than from ads showing up in content that was not emotionally targeted. These new data tools are trying to predict consumer moods based on engagement, then use artificial intelligence to serve up an ad that fits the mood. Adaptive mood-targeted ads means more emotionally intelligent advertising, but some may call that emotional manipulation. We’ll have to see if consumers will catch on.

5. Kudos for Creative Ads

The best creative ads are pushing the boundaries of marketing, driving engagement, increasing brand awareness, and leaving people talking for days. In the innovation file today:

You’re walking on the sidewalk and from afar, something catches your eye: a human body plastic-wrapped against a bus stop. What?! As you approach the bus stop, your mind is whirring until you realize it’s fake – an elaborate ad for the Netflix series, “Altered Carbon”. The ad campaign for the show took out-of-home marketing to a whole new level with its combination of creativity and shock value. You can just imagine what kind of response it received both on and offline, giving the show a whole lot of attention ahead of the launch of the new season.

Another noteworthy ad idea that caught the industry’s attention comes from OpenFortune, a company that runs ads in fortune cookies. The company recently worked with Capital One to print an ad campaign on 10 million cookies to be distributed to 5,000 Chinese takeout restaurants. One entrepreneur who cracked open his post-meal sweet expecting his lucky numbers discovered the ad in its place, along with a related quirky fortune. He took his cookie to Twitter, where it was well-received with 10,000 likes and then found its way to Reddit where it got another 32,000 upvotes.