Creativity Will Save Advertising. Again.

I know, I know–it’s too late; advertising’s already dead. Digital/social/experiential/big data killed it…

The only problem is this constant, dire drumbeat sounds juicy, it creates alarm, but it’s mostly just opinion or self-promotion. It’s clickbait.

If you want facts, follow the money. In the most recent case, digital entertainment powerhouse Netflix bid $300m to buy Regency Outdoor Advertising.

That’s right, the disruptive, disintermediating, digital content giant wants to buy a billboard company.

Their motivation is fascinating. Netflix noticed that big outdoor imagery stokes social sharing. People posted lots of shots of their “Netflix is a joke” campaign to Instagram which promoted their comedy line-up.

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In other words, people share great creative.

These days, $300m might not sound like an earth-shattering number, but it represents the largest acquisition in Netflix history. Imagine; a leading digital giant offering to pay one third of a billion dollars on a oft-declared dying medium…a smart company wouldn’t do that unless they knew it worked.

And that’s a fact.

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This post originally appeared in Screen Magazine.

Doing Social Media 9-5 Means You’re Doing It Wrong

Back in the 80’s, I worked with a really smart research guy (this was waaaay pre-planning) named Jim Crimmins.  Jim biked to work not because he was green (this was waaaay pre-green) but because it made sense to him.  He was a soft spoken presenter of deeply-resonant ideas, one of which was the importance of aperture, which simply means finding the right place and time to maximize your message’s persuasiveness.

In those days, aperture referred to the right place and time for television, radio, print or outdoor (this was waaaay pre-internet…are you sensing a theme here?).  It was an important thought then, but today’s hyper-connected, social media/web 2.0 times magnify aperture’s importance ten fold.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson, MinneapolisAccording to a recent statistical analysis by Buddy Media, a leading supplier of social marketing software for clients and agencies, 89% of retail brand posts launch between 8 AM and 7 PM Eastern Time.  That makes sense because those are the work hours of the corporate people writing the posts.

Except it doesn’t make sense, because that’s when subscribers and consumers receiving those posts are busiest.

According to the study, brands reach people more successfully when they launch their messages in more favorable apertures.  For the Facebook crowd, engagement with retail brands rises 20% on posts between 8 PM and 7 AM.

In fact, it’s not just time of day but day of the week that drives engagement.  Buddy Media’s data reveals Facebook user engagement varies over the course of a week, peaking on Wednesdays and Sundays.  In comparison, Friday is the worst day for consumer engagement.  Retailer fans engage most with posts outside of traditional workdays.

All of which means it might be time to rethink our posting schedules and perhaps even invest in publishing tools and software, which not surprisingly, Buddy Media offers.  You can download their statistical report and check their methodology here.  Self-interest notwithstanding, it’s a pretty compelling argument for adjusting when we try to engage consumers online.

Other quick highlights of the report?  Facebook engagement drops with the frequency of posts during the day–less than three seems ideal for generating Likes and comments.  And keep them short: lengthy posts kill engagement. Only 5% of retail brand Wall Posts are less than forty characters, but those receive 86% higher engagement.  And in a sucker punch to the hopes of every creative in marketing, posts containing “$ off” and “coupon” pull a 55% higher user engagement rate and simpler posts work better than more interesting and involved ones featuring links to video and photos.  Apparently when you are interrupting someone’s social experience, they are hopelessly self interested and simple-minded.

If I learned anything from Jim, it’s that aperture matters.  Which means this blog post is waaaaay too long.  Oh, and perhaps not surprisingly, Jim now teaches at Northwestern University.  Some folks can’t stop learning. And teaching.  For that, thank you Mr. Chips.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Start The Week With Perfect Event Outdoor, But Hopefully, You’ve Finished Eating Your Morning Bagel.

I have yet to see Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie Contagion, but this living, growing installation in a downtown Toronto storefront perfectly captures the disquieting nature of the film’s subject.  Our agency CEO Kevin DiLorenzo shared this piece at our Monday morning status update and it was riveting.  I’m not sure Petri-Dish Outdoor will become a thriving new ad medium, but you can’t deny this is pretty engrossing (see what I did there?).

 

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Truth In Advertising Is a Sliding Scale

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingAnd on this billboard on WI-43, it’s sliding pretty much out of the safe range.  Sure, the notion of “NO GIMMICKS, JUST LOW PRICES” should be enough to draw any self-respecting Class C firebug to the oddly-named theUncleSamFireworks.com, but clearly, they just didn’t have enough confidence in that come-on.  They needed something more.  They needed a snipe calling out “25% of All Items Til MAY 31.”

Sounds like they needed a gimmick.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

 

What Was The Art Director Thinking?

Somewhere along an anonymous stretch of the Ohio Pike on Mother’s Day, we passed this billboard.  We passed, then we stopped, turned around, and snapped the picture above.  The baby’s expression seemed so maniacally blase that it had to be the art director’s goal.

Element 79 Chicago Advertising Dennis Ryan

“I gotta find a baby for this concept.  Look through these tear sheets…  No, no, no; these babies are all cute but they are missing someth–waitaminnit, this one!  This little guy.  He’s adorable yet he’s got that extra something, that knowingly superior insider’s smirk that will make this billboard sing!  Someone call Clio!  This baby’s gonna make me bigtime!”


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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