If you haven't considered taking a series approach to advertising, you could be missing out on a lot of fun and the chance to create a memorable series for your consumers.
Everybody loves a good series. Books, TV programs, films - they're particularly exciting when you know there are more just like them in the pipeline. Anticipation is a powerful emotion, and it can evoke a powerful response from consumers. That's true even when the product being anticipated is a new ad.
Brands have used the series concept in many ways, with many forms of media. Taster's Choice had its 1990s TV saga in which neighbors meet over coffee and fall in love. Denny's has had great success with its "Always Open" webisode series, which - thanks in part to guest stars like Jessica Biel and Dax Shepard - is now in its second season.
These series managed to bridge the gap between advertising and legitimate entertainment, but many others have fallen flat. How can you ensure that your effort will succeed? Through references and repetition.
Referencing Pop Culture
In its effort to attract the attention of female consumers, Clorox created for its Green Works product line a branded web series that plays off of the popular Bravo TV franchise "Real Housewives." "Green Housewives" features three women who go to extreme (and sometimes obnoxious) lengths to be green. The "eco-socialites" are featured in funny web clips that tie in with the Clorox campaign tagline, "You don't have to be ridiculous to be green." The videos have been made into digital ads and are also running on YouTube, Facebook, and the Clorox brand site.
As a series, it's very clever. The pop culture references are memorable and serve to underscore the core values of the brand, and the potential for sustainability is strong. That said, marketers should be wary of tying themselves to something that might be deemed contentious. According to Clorox, the campaign "pokes fun at how ridiculous green has become, in an effort to remind people that every environmental effort counts," but those who enjoy the "Real Housewives" on TV might take offense to the ridicule, and those who don't but enjoy Clorox products might resent the association. Some consumers have already taken to social media with accusations of feeling "mocked." Whenever you reference popular culture, remember: any form of mockery will invite comparison, and that may not work in your favor.
You may have heard about a psychological phenomenon known as the mere-exposure effect. The thinking is that consumers develop a preference for things that are familiar - that they've been exposed to multiple times. While it isn't always guaranteed to work with advertising, we know that increased ad exposure can improve brand awareness and recall.
This is particularly important when dealing with a series of ads. You want consumers to recognize the ads as part of a "mother" campaign, so that each one will contribute to its overall impact. That said, consumers tire of seeing the same ad time and time again. Advertising technology company Videology has found that viewing a pre-roll video ad six to eight times elicits a favorable response, but anything more than that becomes an annoyance. Overdo it and it's all too easy to go from well-received to reviled.
PayPal did a great job of balancing repetition with multiple but consistent creative in its recent video ad campaign featuring actor Jeff Goldblum. The ads appeared on Say Media Tech properties and Dictionary.com sites among others, and each captured Goldblum talking about shopping with PayPal. The videos were all a little different, but remained recognizable in style and theme to buttress the brand. The result was effective: a product message that's reinforced through repetition, without getting old.
If you haven't considered taking a series approach to advertising, you could be missing out on a lot of fun. The strategy offers great potential for brands looking to entertain. Create a memorable series and consumers won't just endure your campaign. They'll watch and wait for what's coming next.
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!
Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.
September 17, 2014
September 23, 2014
September 30, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT