Thursday, June 30, 2011

The dirtiest word you can say in advertising

It's "formula".

We all do it, on occasion. But it's not to be talked about. It's a dirty secret that there are a number of "best practices" for creating a moderately (but not phenomenally) successful ad in any medium, but don't call it a formula!

Oh, shit.

Stock photos, and footage, have always been with us. But I have always been turned off by the content that tries to hard to dictate the concept. What the hell are WE here for, anyway?

But that's the whole point of Kelly Mason Productions' ad templates.

"While working with Getty Images, we noticed something interesting: customers would often buy multiple stock shots and piece them together to create their own, commercials. This gave us the idea for our commercial templates; we saw a market niche that was not being filled. So we decided to create pre-made, high quality commercials and sell them to advertisers at a highly competitive price. We want to give everyone the chance to have professional video content on their website. Our commercial templates allow this by drastically reducing the cost of creating powerful and engaging creative content."

Powerful, engaging, and.. generic? Look, I get it. There are many advertisers out there who believe that they just need to get good-looking branded content "out there" to keep up with the competition.

But here's the problem: just because your brand is superimposed on it, that doesn't mean it's your brand.

There is a reason big advertisers don't used canned content for anything but low-level tactical campaigns. Custom creative isn't just some guy coming up with a bunch of fluff; when done right, it's the result of a disciplined process that starts with your business objectives and builds around it.

Watching a bunch of artsy footage of twin women in a shower (clothed) while someone covers vintage David Bowie might look like something that will get you views, but then what? What impression has it left? How is your story being told?

I'm not worried about being put out of a job by this stuff, because smart clients will always want to be unique. But it still bugs me, because I believe it will result in someone wasting money that they could have put into a more honest engagement strategy.

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