Sounds Like Advertising

July 27, 2009 in Essays, Uncategorized

In a similar vein to my last post about “Content as advertising“, I’ve been thinking about how this concept could be picked up on and used by the music industry. Think “music video as advertising“, but hopefully without the corporate-sellout overtones!

The Pirate Bay

These days, a lot of artists are realising that the free distribution of digital music, which the internet provides, is more advantageous than it is damaging (think “Youtube viral” rather than “Napster file sharing”) and that obscurity is a much bigger threat than piracy.

Given that this is the case, and many artists are using free music to create and grow a fanbase, they should try keep their costs as low as possible to start off. But they also want a good music video, something that compliments the track and that people can watch on Youtube. So why not let a company create your music video? This way the company can get some genuine content to help them advertise (not just some old jingle) and the band get money, exposure and a free video.


Have a look at the YouTube stats, a huge proportion of the top videos are music videos – with the top spot going to Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend with 122,399,477 views. On the other hand, the advertisements with the best songs are generally the top viewed, e.g. O2’s most popular Irish youtube video is the one with the new Florence + The Machine song Cosmic Love. The ad was released a month before the single, making the ad the only place people could go to hear it, and quick skim through the comments (e.g. “i love this song :)”) shows that people are watching it to hear the song. It’s a win-win: Great exposure for both O2 and for the song (now in the Top 10 in the Irish iTunes chart).

I Want My AdTV

The next step up from “great song meets great ad” is an advertisement as a music video. I know that to some this will sound like a very ugly combination, but I’m sure it can be done in a way that is tasteful and doesn’t compromise the integrity of either the artist or the song. In fact, that’s the beauty of this approach, if it was too corporate or all about the advertisement then no one would want to watch it! It is in the company’s best interest to leave the art as uncompromised as possible.

As before, I can’t find any good example of this having being done yet, but I think this video below (found via a fluffy link) could have been a perfect example, if it was slightly more music video and slightly less advertisement.

Content is the Advertisement

July 15, 2009 in Essays, Marketing

This is an idea I touched on in a previous post called signs. The post was about a nice short film, which centred around a guy and a girl falling for each other through a series of short messages (it’s well worth the watch).

I suggested that this kind of short film could have been a great advertisement for Twitter (a TV ad in the YouTube age). It was very enjoyable to watch, it showed the importance, benefit and joy of communication and how it can be incredibly rich even if constrained to short bursts. This kind advertisement, which creates a branded, emotional connection, is one that companies have been trying to perfect for decades, but unlike most of their previous 30 second efforts, this YouTube short movie was very enjoyable to watch!

Had this work been commissioned by Twitter and uploaded to their YouTube channel (not even necessarily branded as a Twitter short movie), this is what I could call Content as Advertising.

This is different to content as marketing. An example of content as marketing would be a company blog, which offers advice to small business on it’s field of expertise, which generates word of mouth about this company and gives it a great reputation, which in turn generates more sales leads. Content as marketing is something most people reading this blog will be familiar with. Advertising as content is something different. It’s not quite as blunt as product placement, and it’s deeper than just having your own jingle.

Last week I saw (on Christian Hughes’ Digitology blog) one of the best examples of content as advertising that I’ve come across so far. It’s a series of short web episodes, and is incredibly brave for the company behind it (Proctor & Gamble), both in it’s concept and it’s content. It’s the story of a boy who wakes up with “Girl parts…. down there ” and it follows his journey, almost as if he’s a young girl discovering puberty/her body/herself. Now, because the product is Tampax, and I’m a 24 year old lad, I’m not really in a place to comment on the advertisement’s effectiveness, or how relevant it is to their target audience, but I do admire what they’re doing – or at least trying to do.

The first video has close to 40,000 views at the time of posting. Hopefully the story line is compelling enough for them to draw a good audience and connect with a lot of new customers. I also hope to see more companies exploring and trying out this genre as I think it could be beneficial to both advertising and the arts.

Three Wise Men

July 5, 2009 in Essays, Uncategorized

I’ve taken three interesting posts, from three wise men, and combined them to ask one very challenging question. Each are well worth a read, but I’ll do my best to provide a quick summary if you don’t have time.

1. David McWilliamsExposing the lie of the land

The real fair value means that, in a world where house price speculation is over, Irish house prices will have to fall on average by 50 per cent from where they are today to be worth buying. Madly, even after a year of house price contraction, the P/E for the average Irish house stands at over 29 times – twice the historical average for property.

2. Seth GodinIgnore sunk costs

You have tickets to the Springsteen concert. They were really hard to get…… On your way into the event, a guy offers you $500 cash for each ticket….. If you wouldn’t be willing to PAY $500 for these tickets then you should be willing to sell them for $500. Spend $250 on dinner and go buy better tickets for tomorrow night’s show.

3. Ronan LyonsIs it cheaper to buy or rent?

Taking the three posts together we are presented with these observations:

  • Property prices are most likely going to continue to fall
  • If you sell your house now and rent for the next few years, you won’t be significantly out of pocket cost wise.
  • If you chose not to sell your house now, and agree with David McWilliams, then you should treat the drop in house prices as a real cost. As in Seth’s example, if house prices are to drop by 50%, the question you need to ask is “would I be willing to pay 50% more for this house than I did?”

Which leaves us with an almost uncomfortable conclusion – If my house could sell for €400,000 today, and I assume that the drop will be only half as bad as David’s estimate (25%), am I willing to PAY €100,000 for the luxury of home ownership over the next 3 – 5 years?