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.