I know I’ve been a bad blogger lately. On all fronts.
But that’s about to change — with Advertising Week Europe all the way live in London, you’re about to hear a lot from me. And while nothing’s firmed up yet, I might have some exciting news to share soon on the contributions front.
Speaking of exciting news.
Since the last time we talked, I’ve been accepted into the VCU Brandcenter Communication Strategy program AND I’ve accepted a position as a summer strategy intern at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in San Francisco!
Suffice it to say, I’ve been busy. And I’m SO excited to share all of my future learnings and such with you.
Now, let’s get back to business. I meant this for an AWSC post, but with the backlog that is #AWEurope, I figured I’d share here first.
Here we go:
I’m the biggest proponent of digital culture out there. I believe staunchly in non-traditional media. I cringe when that, excuse my language, asshat of a codger Tom Hammerschmidt tells Zoe Barnes, “Twitter, blogs, rich media, they are all fads. They aren’t the foundation this paper was built on.” But if you asked me whether Netflix’s $100 million gamble was itself one big flimsy house of cards, I would’ve said absolutely.
7 hours deep (upon writing, I was 7 hours deep. update: binge complete) into a Kevin
Spacey-fueled binge and kicking myself for doubting the online giant’s strategy.
Sure, this isn’t Netflix’s first foray into original programming (that distinction belongs to Lilyhammer); but it is the first time the company has taken a hands-on approach to production, tapping big names like David Fincher, who directed the series’ first two episodes.
Pre-release, consumers and pundits alike questioned the streaming service’s ability to succeed – and what’s more, to not lose money – by dropping an entire season at once. Blasphemy, said traditional media.
HBO, the reigning king of original programming, fails all the time. How could this “fledgling” hope to win by going all-in on the first try? They simply couldn’t, right?
Well I’ll be damned. This show is good. It’s really, really good. The acting is top-notch, the plot line is full of intrigue and beautifully developed characters, and the production quality is second to none.
And to those who questioned how “dumping” the entire first season of HOC out in the market at one time could possibly be the right move?
Don’t pull a Hammerschmidt.
This is the way of new media. We’ve grown up with DVD seasons, Netflix and Hulu binges, and the reliability of our DVR. Of course this would work. Appointment viewing has gone the way of paper-only reporting: it’s a relic. Sure, it’s still there, but it’s in no position to not take its newfangled “fad” competitors seriously.
Spacey’s Frank Underwood tells Zoe regarding Slugline (the series’ Politico 2.0), “If freedom and exposure are what they’re offering, I would say that is a meeting worth taking.” This same argument is valid for Netflix, who noted, “For viewers, Internet TV is a better experience because of the freedom and flexibility it provides.”
Steven Rosenbaum wrote for Forbes, “This is a series that deserves to be savored – not ‘binged’ on;” but he couldn’t have been more wrong. This is a 13-hour movie that people are dying to see, not to mention, a 13-hour movie that might just change the landscape of traditional television.
With House of Cards experiencing enviable success, and similar treatment coming for cult-favorite Arrested Development in May, Netflix is paving the way for an internet-TV revolution.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained to investors, “In baseball terms, linear TV only scores with home runs. We score with home runs, too, but also with singles, doubles, and triples.”
Well, Reed, you certainly knocked it out of the park with this one. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next.
The Detroit Red Wings’ Vice President of Marketing, Rob Mattina, spoke to my sports marketing class last week because, really, what else does he have to do? Thanks, Gary Bettman.
In all seriousness though, he was a great guy and a very engaging speaker, but I was left with a gnawing feeling that sports (let me clarify: team) marketing, or at the very least, hockey marketing lags behind other industries – or doesn’t feel, perhaps rightly so in the case of the Red Wings organization, that innovation is necessary.
Mattina spoke a great deal about the contrast between his “above the line” and “below the line” strategies, that is, traditional broadcast and digital or alternative methods (read: social). In the strictest sense, “above the line” refers to broadcasted mass media, while “below the line” refers to more targeted, measurable channels.
In my opinion, and in agreement with Ad Age contributor Kevin DiLorenzo, this terminology is out of touch. In today’s media landscape, there is no line. Consumers prove this when they tweet on their phones or tablets while watching live TV, or engage mobile apps at the point of sale. The “line” is merely an industry cliché that allows marketers to silo their budgets in various areas rather than achieving integration.
This blurring, or disappearance, of the line coincides with one of the overarching themes of Advertising Week – the increasingly fundamental nature of digital, mobile, and social media. The days of agencies outsourcing their digital work, or housing entirely separate digital departments, are no more. Instead, campaigns must be built with all of these “alternatives” in mind, utilized to enhance the traditional broadcast mediums, or altogether surpass them in importance.
How often do you see a Starbucks ad on television? I can’t recall the last time. But online? Starbucks is ubiquitous. They’re active on Facebook and Twitter, use Instagram better than just about any brand, and “Pin” brand-relevant items better than most (I’m looking at you, Marc Jacobs and Nordstrom – let’s just say excessive). Placing far more stock in loyalty, mobile, social, and in-store programs than it does broadcast mediums, Starbucks has been able to take advantage of its fan following in more meaningful ways.
To me, these actions do a better job – proportionately, at least – of “brand-building” than any traditional medium could. Brand-building is about growing loyalty, awareness, brand consideration, and equity. In my opinion, the depth with which these “alternatives” reach brands’ core audiences is of far greater value than the breadth that might be targeted through traditional broadcast media.
What is ultimately of the greatest value, however, is integration throughout a campaign. Disjointed narratives do little to enhance the consumer experience, if not causing confusion altogether. For a message to resonate with the consumer, it must be both cohesive and engaging – difficult to accomplish in what I’ll call “static” fashion.
So let’s do away with “the line” altogether, and focus instead on how to engage consumers in both meaningful and entertaining ways. Creating just one loyal consumer is ultimately more beneficial than entertaining ten who can’t pair your brand with, “you know, that one hilarious commercial.”
A study conducted by Say Media indicates more and more voters are going “off the grid,” increasingly less likely to view traditional television ads.
Zac Moffatt, digital director of the Romney campaign and co-founder of political research group Targeted Victory, has observed these trends through his own research. On the Democratic side, several research firms concur, with studies showing that “more than 40 percent of likely voters prefer alternative video sources to live TV.”
With the explosion of alternative viewing sources, smartphone usage, and social media, how can the campaigns hope to reach these “off-the grid voters?”
Traditional TV ads may still be the norm, but social media is gaining steam. President Obama won the social media battle in 2008, embracing the medium even before it became inherent to a campaign’s success; and thus far, he seems to be ahead of the game yet again.
Upon news of Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate , the Obama campaign took to Tumblr to educate voters on their newly introduced opponent.
Adweek writes, “In a little over an hour, the picture and caption have received nearly 2,000 notes on Tumblr (including reblogs and comments) and been passed around in political circles on Twitter. Plus, news organizations active on Tumblr have even reblogged the post with commentary.”
Tumblr has provided an opportunity for campaigns and news sources to get “casual” with constituents – photos, gifs, and irreverent humor are the norm. This sort of casual relationship may be key to attracting those who no longer consume traditional media, instead taking to streaming services like Netflix or their DVRs.
Politico has noted that the addition of Paul Ryan to the Romney campaign adds significant a social media presence, with Ryan quickly surpassing Vice President Biden in number of “likes.”
It remains to be seen how they will respond to this latest bit of snark on the Obama side, but it is clear that the battle will be fought in the digital realm, and quite possible that the election is decided in the same. With more than 40% of likely voters preferring to view their media in non-traditional ways, it is only fitting that the candidates invoke non-traditional methods to win their votes.