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Digital Ad Black Holes and Lottery Winners

Digital Ad Black Holes and Lottery Winners

I read a great post on LinkedIn by Auren Hoffman about the lost art of ad creative, which goes to the heart of what we are working on at MutualMarkets…so, here is my reaction to that post:

Most CMOs are adjusting to the privacy enhanced world of restricted ad targeting and less optimization. Although it often means paying more and getting less. Less noticed but equally challenging is that consumers are paying less attention to advertising in general because of the growing consumption of incredibly compelling content, both professional and amateur. Disappearing attention levels are the black hole of advertising.

Over the last 20 years with the growth of on-demand content viewing (think Netflix, YouTube and then everybody else), consumers now spend more time than ever with the content that they love. And much of this is ad free or ad limited. Consumers are lovingly distracted and highly engaged by all the amazing tv shows, movies, documentaries, podcasts, music, and gaming available, not to mention the countless hours many spend curating social media on Instagram, Tik-Tok and LinkedIn. Higher income consumers, in particular, tend to avoid ads on the streaming services they use. You know it’s becoming more difficult to reach and engage audiences when publisher sites have reverted to making articles impossible to finish without annoying video players popping up which are whack a mole tough to shut down.

Taken together, the tougher privacy rules combined with consumers who are less open to ads means that CMO’s need to find new tools. Typically, when targeting is more difficult, we think more about creative messaging that can break through all the indifference and clutter. But should that mean putting all your chips on an ad agency creating a lottery like winning campaign that dramatically grabs consumers? The odds suggest that won’t happen. So, if you are a CMO and want to avoid falling into an ad black hole, what then?

A better approach, from an ad creative point of view, would be to leverage the content and characters that consumers already love. Put simply, co-market advertising. For example, for its many fans, the Outlanders Claire and Jaime are instantly recognizable and compelling.

In our content rich media world, a romantically oriented jewelry brand would be better served by connecting itself to Outlanders via co-market ads in order to get noticed, which an ad must do for anything else good to happen. It really doesn’t make sense for brands that rely on marketing but who have tight budgets to try to come up with break-thru creative on their own, especially when targeting a customer who is actively in market is so much tougher than it was.

Like Tide hooking up with Dr. Strange this past May, why not borrow the trusted equity that so much of our content has earned? Historically, it has been true that the largest brands and sports leagues have invested the time, money and energy required to co-market advertise. But, as privacy busting ad targeting rightfully fades away, more brands should consider the power of riding together with content owners to get their basic message to consumers. It’s called co-market advertising – and it works.

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