In this guest column, industry veteran Roger Pugh, head of native advertising for The Big Smoke Media Group, and the man behind to Toyota ‘Oh! What a feeling’ campaign, says he may have seen it all, but he likes what he sees in native advertising…
I used to work with a brand manager who had been in the job for forty years, and an account manager who had been there for thirty-odd.
They both retained great pride in their jobs and brought to them a continuity and knowledge that were invaluable in sustaining brand strategies, campaigns and relationships.
Today it’s difficult to identify a brand manager or an account manager that’s been in the job for even thirty months, and that raises an interesting question. What has replaced the singular contributions that executives in jobs for the long-term made to marketing and advertising operations, and does it really matter?
Apparently it doesn’t.
In today’s environment anyone who had been a brand manager for forty years would be regarded as a relic or an accident, rather than an asset. There’s little pride in being a brand manager any more, it’s merely a stepping stone to becoming a marketing manager or moving on to gain experience in an advertising agency.
No-one seems in the slightest bit concerned that advertising and marketing careers are increasingly disrupted, bringing concomitant disruption to marketing plans and advertising campaigns and ensuring they are dominated by a short-term focus rather than long.
As the trend to short-term focus intensifies, long-term marketing and advertising perspectives tend to become an unaffordable luxury. Perhaps even unnecessary. This issue reared its head again recently when 57 per cent of a sample size (albeit only 857 people) could not remember feeling positive about an ad, and 66 per cent couldn’t remember an ad they disliked.
Are our quick fix lead generation campaigns,that desperately pray on CTR rather than ongoing messaging, possibly betraying us?
But wait; there could be glimmers of disruption back to a longer-term focus beginning to take hold. For example, there are moves afoot to replace some corporate human resources operations with executive experience management. This is designed to provide a total corporate experience for executives aimed at encouraging long, fulfilling and productive careers.
This initiative appears to be based on the disruptive theory that a contented executive stays longer and performs better, and could go even as far as recognising that long-term executives benefit companies just as much as long-term customers.
There is as yet no discernible disruptive trend to a more long-term perspective in advertising and marketing operations. It will take time for the impact of executive experience management to flow through to marketing departments and advertising agencies.
However, there remain other beacons of hope. ‘Oh What a Feeling’ has been going for thirty-four years and Toyota is still number one (the campaign I helped take to market). Research continues to show that consumers prefer stability to change and long-term brand campaigns to the short-term tactical variety. This is underlined by a universal drop in brand recall numbers.
There will always be a place in campaign planning for brand recall advertising, calls to act now before time runs out and pale shadow productions of old classic ads but surely it’s time for disruptive action when that mix is dominating advertising output.
Native advertising is a compelling disruption that is produced by digital publishers rather than advertising agencies. They create it in the same in-house style as their usual content, so it engages their readers in brand communications more profoundly than other types of advertising.
Native advertising has nothing to do with advertorials or sponsored content. Its creation is based on classic advertising disciplines, it can be delivered in print, video or audio and it works. It also has the core metrics integrated that allow a more nuanced advertising on the ROI that as a channel it produces – ultimately adding to the companies EBIDTA.
It is yet to become a major disruptive advertising force because that can only happen after a host of top talent is recruited to the cause and brands fully get their heads around it’s impact and how it fits into broader digital strategies. However it has the potential to become a major force in long-term digital advertising campaigns while still using the disruptive ad-tech that’s reaches most target markets effectively.
Native advertising is a disruption that could take advertising and marketing at least some way back to the future.