Art and Marketing

Some time ago, actually exactly a week ago, when I was walking out of my class, one of the final ones before I officially complete my MBA, I was instantly attracted to an art installation mounted by the students from the visual arts school also at Fordham University. As I examined the art work, one in particular, a series of pages from a book that were blacked out except for certain words, which were names of places and people, caught my attention. Obviously, the artist wanted to engage the observers, draw them into developing and creating a story, as they tried to make sense of the seemingly disconnected words. And suddenly, it occurred to me that this was truly an example of interactive art. I was motivated to solve the puzzle or at least understand what the artist was trying to convey. Did those words, deliberately left out, mean anything or was it the blacked out parts that were revealing more than they were concealing? I wasn’t able to figure out, but that is not the point, it made me think and left an impression. Isn’t that what marketers always try to achieve? Brand recall and recognition.

The following day, I had the opportunity to attend the Digital Video Upfront conference by DIGIDAY. And the first topic on the agenda was creativity and marketing. One of the speakers, David Sandersen, Creative Director from Tremor Media emphasized the very point I was thinking about from the previous day, “Leave them wanting more, let the consumers seek out the information they want.” The discussion followed with speakers Dan Goodman and William Masterson, Co-Founders of Believe Entertainment Group. They are responsible for the online only animated series The LeBrons, which is sponsored by HP. The success of a campaign, it is a one because it is underwritten by HP that is sprinkled generously in the pre-show teaser, is the quality of the content. They emphasized embracing the marketing and messaging without being apologetic about it. The key is to get the audiences engaged and involved more deeply with the content. Like in this case, the creators plan to release the album of the soundtrack from the show on iTunes to let fans connect with the show and the HP brand. The LeBrons’ episodes have an arc and fans will need to follow the chronology to get the story and character development, which is similar to the TV format: Previously On…Next On….Undoubtedly, Lebron’s fame has helped but without the social tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, getting the word out to the “right” audiences would not have been possible. The qualified audiences help the content go viral.

Advertisers are now looking at content as a viable piece of their media mix. Although, compared to the linear TV, digital audience is still small, it is about getting brands to be part of the conversation. All this has been said before and I agree compelling content is one part and the relevant, targeted audiences is the other part. Although, in all honesty, I rarely ever click on any ad, I do however often watch content posted by my friends in my social network. What was also surprising is that the majority of the attendees, who are media sales and buying professionals, that morning admitted to also rarely clicking on any ads. Even most of my cohorts agree to never engaging with any online ads, which has me confounded, then who are these consumers who do, if there are even any? Which is why I am strongly of the opinion that with ads, delivering engagement is more difficult. However, with content such as The Lebrons, now that maybe the answer, I would definitely give it a chance if it appeared on my news feed.

Do stay tuned for more from the conference in the following posts.