I had some pretty good training on digital stuff recently.
Some of the specifics - you know, programmatic buying, blind networks etc.
This stuff is important as I’m getting more convinced that, whatever kind of agency you are in, you need to get to grips with the nuts of bolts of the technology that’s out there and how content and stuff tends to actually get in front of people.
I suppose it’s like great Formula One Driver know their cars inside out and work with the engineers as much as possible.
This matter firstly because of first mover advantage. If you’re first to take advantage of new technology or media stuff, you get the chance to do something really special.
Subservient Chicken springs to mind.
As does this Honda video – a genuinely ‘interactive’ video that integrates with the story.
It also matters because it’s how you put things together that matters. Which means a fundamental grip of what works and what works together.
This great Yeo Valley case study wouldn’t have got so much traction on the back of one hero spot without working so well with social media.
Broadcast working with Facebook was fundamental to this Yorkshire Tea campaign.
What is also true of the last two examples, is how they are still TV campaigns.
Not TV as we use to know it, but television still.
Because, despite the emerging tradition to kill off telly, it’s still the most efficient channel for building business profit, against a whole range of secondary objectives.
It’s just that it’s role, and how it works with other channels and assets HAS changed.
Funnily enough, there’s evidence it’s also the most efficient and driving genuine widespread word of mouth.
Which brings me back to that training.
They made a fair point, that we have to assume that whatever content you put out there can be played with by people on all sorts of networks. There is little you can do about it, so you may as well embrace it.
But what they didn’t say was that you will be very, very lucky if anyone can be bothered, if you intend it or not.
And you have to assume they won’t, which is the most commercial way of looking at things.
Since, as has been discussed by cleverer people than me, it’s the light buyers that notice a brands stuff the least that matter for growth the most. The people the least likely to engage.
The only point of people getting involved with your stuff is how it will extend your reach, to infiltrate the barrier of indifference most of us have for most of the things we buy with some sort of social proof or whatever.
They used these examples to show the power of people playing with your content and getting involved.
But nothing would have happened without, of all things, a finely crafted ad that, yes, was really cool and funny, but also dealt with a specific truth about how shower gel gets bought (by women for men) and a bigger truth the brand could play with –what it means to be a man in our porous, ironic culture.
So don’t forget, be a digital engineer, its essential these days, but don’t forget to understand some older fundamentals too.
Basically, few people care, and the role of people that do is to make them notice.