I’ve been working on a few digital projects recently. Digital is not an area I’ve worked in all that much, but it is an interesting one.
It got me pondering, ‘How do you cause advertising to truly succeed in the digital arena?’

Well, there’s a very simple solution. And, as with anything in advertising, sometimes those are the hardest to achieve. So many levels of complexity between you and your consumer.

So, what’s the solution? If you’ve read any of my other posts, you might notice a trend emerging. Here it is again: Make it interesting.

Perhaps that’s an oversimplification. Obviously there are many additional things to consider. Does it communicate the marketing strategy of the client? Has it got enough information in it? Is it immersive and captivating? So on and so forth. But at the end of it all, if it’s not interesting enough to engage with, it’s going to fail. It’s going to fail hard. No amount of analytics or repetition is going to help. In fact, a bad idea repeated too often alienates audiences, rather than communicates to them.

So my theory – make it interesting – isn’t a unique one. All the best ad people know it, live it

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and love it. I try to myself. I’m a long long looong way from the best, but I’ll get there one day though. I’ll get there because I’m smart enough to learn from the greats, rather than thinking I’m better than them.

The best way to express this concept has already been said, so I’ll defer to the one of the greatest, the legendary Bill Bernbach on this one.
“The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they won’t believe you until they know what you’re saying, and they won’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.

I think Bill’s sentiment applies to everything in our industry. After all, ‘digital’ is just a medium. It’s just another avenue of access to the consumer. Every medium has its own pros and cons.

Here is some of the pros of digital, in my humble opinion:

  • Immediate
  • Interactive
  • Immersive
  • Accessable
  • Portable

Then a few cons:

  • Less tangible
  • Easy to switch off
  • Small share of user’s attention

As long as you embrace the pros and take the cons into account, you’re golden. Any message, if it’s strong enough, can be tailored to a specific medium.

Digital is a pretty broad category. From banner ads to fully fledged website user experiences, there is a lot of room to get confused.

An example I saw recently impressed me. The companion website for the movie Prometheus,www.weylandindustries.com. This site was launched and promoted digitally. It centers around the fictional company Weyland Industries,

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featured in most of the alien movies. During the lead-up to the launch of the movie, the site promoted ’employment opportunities’ for a top

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secret project. They showcase the ‘company’ and create a whole experience around the story that transcends the movie itself. And the results? As of June 26, worldwide box office results sit at nearly 265 million dollars. Not bad for a few months work.

Any path to the consumer should be considered for a media plan. Digital is great if it is used properly, same as any other medium.
But before that, the creative – the message – has to be strong, interesting and compelling enough. If it’s not, no amount of clever digital, fancy print or frequent tv commercials is going to make it work.