In its simplest (and ultimate) form, advertising aims to connect brands with people. When that happens in a meaningful and authentic way, it creates an impactful, lasting bond. It provides an opportunity for a true value exchange – an environment where all parties involved benefit. Brands achieve their objectives, and consumers are provided with experiences that are enriching and valuable.
That said, when was the last time advertising truly moved you?
Like most, I encounter countless advertisements daily, with few leaving an indelible impression. Only some deliver on that opportunity of true value exchange. From making me laugh, dream, and even making me cry, some advertisers and their work have had a lasting impact on me. Being a child of the ‘80s, I can clearly recall hearing the Alka-Seltzer jingle on the radio: “Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is,” and coming up with my own riffs with friends on the playground. I remember the poster on my wall of Michael Jordan raining down an amazing dunk from the free throw line, with the Nike swoosh subtly, but perfectly, placed in the upper right hand corner. I still recall that proud feeling of lacing up my first pair of Air Jordans.
Over the years, these experiences have continued to come towards me in various formats and mediums. From Southwest Airlines making me die of laughter with their many video versions of the Wanna Get Away campaign to Apple’s outdoor billboards almost making me crash on Highway 101 as I salivated over their next product. And I would be remiss to leave out some amazing digital experiences. Ahead of its time, BMW Films’ The Hire showed us back in 2001 what the future of branded content could look like. More recently, Budweiser and Kraft harnessed the subtle power of beer carbonation and oozing grilled cheese with cinemagraphs. And how about this not so subtle 3D Jameson shot coming right at you? And I think everyone is familiar with how Dove broke down barriers and showcased natural beauty with their Real Beauty campaign, a campaign that has run for over a decade due to its ability to tap into what women think and feel.
Aside from waxing poetic on my personal experiences, why do I raise these examples? I bring them up because they were all experiences shown to me and paid for by brands. Brands who aimed to bring me into their world by connecting with mine, with all of ours. To those brands, their agencies, and the talent they tapped: I applaud and thank you. I thank you because it worked. You brought me into your world by making a connection with me, and those connections have withstood the test of time and memory.
Point being, advertising can be memorable, impactful, and beneficial for both those experiencing the ads and those providing them. We are only scratching the surface, especially in digital. To break through that surface, superficial level of advertising, brands and their agencies must focus on authenticity. Although that term is often thrown around as the key for marketers to connect with millennials, I would argue that it goes beyond a tactic for a specific demographic. This commitment to authenticity drives greater focus on creative, with the ultimate goal of creating those moments — a Nike poster in a childhood bedroom or a viral YouTube commercial — that stick in people’s minds. Authentic advertising allows brands to build meaningful and lasting relationships with consumers.
During SXSW in just a few weeks, Bazaarvoice is hosting #BVatSXSW — an all-day event during which experts from marketing, advertising, design, and tech will discuss issues affecting today’s leading brands. One panel will dig deeper into this topic of authentic advertising through the agency, brand, and celebrity/entrepreneur perspectives. Panelists include Richard Guest, president of agency Tribal Worldwide; Jennifer Dalipi, Sr. Director of Global Media Consumer Beauty at major beauty manufacturer COTY; and Ja Rule, rap artist and tech entrepreneur. Join the conversation — register to reserve your spot for March 11th.