TV DEBRIEF: Convergence has enabled viewers to overcome the limitations of scheduled television, with video content being distributed over the internet to consumers’ computers and mobile devices. VOD and time shifting technologies (PVRs ) have created non-linear viewing patterns. This means advertisers are constantly challenged to adapt to a changing media ecosystem that has become customer-centric in that consumers can access content wherever they want, whenever they want, from whatever device they want.
Media, through digitisation, has become a ‘lifestyle’ dynamic in that we now experience more personalisation and participation – we can use the likes of Twitter, Facebook, blogging and e-mails to participate in an on-air debate on CNN Connect, for example,. Then there’s the socialisation aspect, with all the social networking fads. Advertisers, in turn, need to start having the right kind of ‘conversations’ with consumers of ‘new media’ platforms in a relevant, engaging way. Essentially, what was once a one-way dialogue with consumers has to become a dynamic conversation.
As we compare the more traditional advertising approach, using traditional media platforms, to a more lifestyle advertising approach, using lifestyle media platforms, we see the differences and changes that are already starting to emerge.
To illustrate my point, I stumbled across an old but relevant case study from the US, which succinctly demonstrates ‘lifestyle advertising’ working the new media ecosystem: Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.
Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, a multi-media, cross-platform advertising endeavour, aspired not to directly pitch the company’s beauty products, but rather to influence an important conversation about a pressing women’s issue.
One component of this initiative was a short digital film called Dove Evolution, which shows, in fast-forward, the makeup and touch-up techniques that turn an ordinary woman into a billboard model. Ending with the tagline “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted,” the video piece encourages viewers to share it amoung their friends while pointing them to Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty website. Once at the website, the audience is invited to participate in a discussion about how popular culture influences young girls’ perception of beauty. The site also directs viewers a clear path to action through the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, a non-profit effort to promote self-esteem programmes for young girls worldwide.
In less than 30 days, Dove Evolution generated more than 2.3 million views on YouTube. Due to this massive, viral sharing, the 75-second video received widespread news coverage and became a feature story on broadcast television, appearing on popular daytime and prime-time talk shows. The social interaction and viral distribution enabled by YouTube delivered more than three times more traffic to the Dove website than an expensive TV advertisement the company placed to launch Campaign for Real Beauty during the 2005 Super Bowl. A similar result through paid media placement would have come to a substantially higher cost to the company.
Now Dove has launched its latest ad in the real beauty campaign series is called ‘selfie’. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, in the form of a 7-minute documentary, this month. In it, mothers and daughters are
Both mothers and daughters were asked to take a selfie that highlighted the features they disliked the most, the ones they’d usually try to hide in photos. Then they attended an event where their selfies were blown up and posted in a photo gallery. The goal is for the women to “redefine their own beauty and see that insecurity often lies beneath the personal snapshots
These type of conversations in new advertising models and in converged media is, at it’s core, characterised and measured by how much information and social capital a consumer is willing to contribute to energise a conversation with a brand. It is currently manifested and quantified through site or service registrations, user comments, consumer profiles and information sharing with other consumers or communities. Many advertisers have identified the growth in user generated content, social networking, and digital interactivity as opportunities to leverage a new breed of consumer engagement, whereby brand proponents ‘push’ the brand through digital word-of-mouth (viral marketing). What this creates, in effect, is a dynamic co-creation of the advertising messaging.
In conclusion, we are moving from a world of impressions to a world of engagement and influence and instead of attempting to position themselves alongside the segmented lifestyles of a mass audience, advertisers must now aim to position their brands within the lifestyles of individual consumers.