R.I.P Experimental Advertising? Maybe Things Aren’t Quite As Bad As We Think…Or Are They? Some Interesting Examples of Hope For the Future. 11/08/2009
I love the idea of experimental advertising. A lot of companies have dropped the experimental label in exchange for more traditional words such as engaging or inspiring. The word experimental itself isn’t as glamorous as it used to be. In the past, companies had the time, the budget, the ability, and the interest to experiment on new ideas, new campaigns, and new ways to drive consumer awareness. Nowadays, companies can barely afford to put out a campaign, not much less experiment with one.
I give credit to the companies going out on a limb and toying with this idea of experimentation. Quite frankly, all the blogs I follow, all the sites I read, and all the marketing that resonates with me tends to fall into this idea of something extraordinary. I’m no longer excited by television ads, I’m just interested. I’m not longer attracted to web banners, I tend to ignore them. I’m not longer enthused about billboards, I just accept them. I think I’m just one of many looking for that next big thing in marketing; a thing in which I truly believe will be experimental.
Some of the best campaigns that I’ve seen recently aren’t traditional at all. Sure they’re websites, but they’re much more than that. They’re experimental ideas, interactive platforms, interesting to consumers, and exciting for everyone. They might not bring back a 100% ROI, they might not increase sales or brand awareness, they might only reward a small segment of consumers loyal to your brand, and they might only create conversation in certain circles. The fact of the matter is, no matter what the message or medium, they are providing an outlet for engagement, an experimental attempt at advertising/pr/marketing/media arts 2.0.
Let’s start with the Kodak Experience. It’s essentially a full-screen application that can be accessed via the web at this site. It is an interactive site that shows how 9 different individuals connect with one another using different Kodak devices. If you click on the Dad, it shows how he can record his son playing basketball with his Kodak Pocket Video cam. If you click on the Grandma, it shows how she stays connected with her Kodak Easyshare camera, making it easy to take and send pictures of her grandkids. Is Kodak going to sell more cameras by allowing us to play around on the site and see how people can connect? Probably not. But is it something fun, exciting, experimental, and entertaining that will allow extra engagement with the Kodak audience? Most definitely.
Next, let’s look at Kleenex’s newest interactive campaign. It’s called Get Momm’d. You can access the website here. It’s an interactive platform that gives you access to 7 different moms. After you choose one, based on a variety of different categories, you can then connect them and receive advice for different things you might need. For example, if you’re sick, you can have your virtual mom send you a recommendation via text or email on how to get better. If you need a new dress, she might be able to send you links to her favorite places to shop. As said on the site, Mom’s specialize in being helpful. You can pretty much go anywhere from there. Now honestly, does this really have any correlation to Kleenex? Not really. Are they going to benefit? Who knows? Are girls everywhere going to be playing around with the platform? You bet. Experimental, exciting, out of the box, and extraordinary – the future of marketing?
I don’t want to get ahead of myself here. I see the importance and the necessity of traditional media. No matter what you do for a brand, it will always involve traditional elements. I guess I’m just more or less wishing and hoping for a more experimental future. If more companies experiment, more consumers will become engaged. Marketing will no longer be an accepted practice, it will be an influential practice. More companies will spend on ideas, and more money will be spent on idea makers. There will be a resurgence of advertising, an influx of interactivity, and an ever-growing interest in the ways that brands are going to connect next.
I think the talent is out there. I read about the big ideas everyday. I want to be a part of the revolution. I just need the revolution to happen first. If anyone is on board, let me know. I’m an account planner with no accounts. I think there’s more room for experiment in this time of oh-so-similar ideas, but then again maybe I’ve just had too many cups of coffee.