TV commercials, print ads, posters, radio spots, banners, rich media, long form: most creatives can generate competent content once they develop a feel for the format. The challenge of content boils down to narrative or stylistic innovation and surprise.
But content won’t be the biggest challenge for creatives over the next few years; context will. Advances in data farming and technology-empowered customization will challenge creative imaginations to anticipate and empathize, to visualize and speculate around consumer engagement occasions like never before. Soon, it will no longer be enough to dream up a surprising idea; we will have to go further and determine how to customize that idea based on variables like target age and gender, time of day and social setting, even changes in weather, news and collective mood.
To truly exploit context demands a more fully immersive imagination: a skill previously unasked of advertising creatives, yet one that will increasingly drive the differentiation and success of marketing platforms. Messages that reference, or at least acknowledge, the world surrounding them will find more receptive audiences.
Context has long been the promise of mobile marketing. For the past few years, we’ve been promised the revolution of using GPS location to activate messages regarding local offerings and attractions. It also promises to improve search as algorithms grow more sophisticated at filtering meaning based on user data. And it promises to reinvent usage of the humble coupon, creating ever more relevant offers based on demographics and location…and perhaps even astrological signs.
Historically, traditional agency creatives have ceded the entire contextual domain to direct marketers. But as technology continues to improve and refine user data, innovative thinkers will dream up ways to use this information to exponentially improve the relevance, engagement and impact of their ideas.
Because the most powerful messages are deeply personal.