Adrián Ruiz-Mediavilla, Marketing Director at
International Media Networks, was invited to speak recently at
ESCP Europe's London Campus. He shared key insights on current
challenges faced by the industry.
The event took place on 9th July, 2015 and brought together
industry practitioners and participants of the Executive
Master in Marketing and Creativity.
The Media Perspective
The talk began with an example of how a piece of media can
inadvertently become an advert for a specific commodity therein.
Adrián cited the trailer for the 1986 movie Top Gun, in which Tom
Cruise was seen wearing a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. In the wake
of the promo and the subsequent film, Ray-Ban sales jumped by 40%.
The Ray-Bans were product placement; the actual advertiser was the
US Air Force!
Why are we talking about brands and
According to a study produced by Havas, the
public would most likely not notice if three quarters of brands
disappeared - primarily because of lack of relevance. Digital is
far newer, but Google admits that 56% of the banners they sell are
unseen. So where does that leave the remaining 44%? Ad block
software usage grew by nearly 70% between June 2013 and June 2014,
growth that is driven by young internet users. 41% of 18- to
29-year-olds polled said they use ad blockers, and this number is
constantly rising - effectively over time cancelling out the
Mobile advertising is an option; however, the next version of
Safari will let users block ads on iPhones and iPads via an
Apple-certified ad blocker system. Apple's decision to allow this
is motivated by the impending release of iAd -
Apple's own advertising platform, which will serve adverts and
reach an audience of almost a billion Apple users.
The implications are huge: 90% of Google's revenues come from advertising.
Apple's tactics will reduce their potential reach by roughly
What seems to be the answer is content: consumers react better
to and even welcome quality brand content because it is seen as far
less intrusive and disruptive than traditional advertising. In 2012
Lions International Festival of Creativity even introduced a
new category, Best Branded Content and Entertainment.
But who should be taking on the responsibility of creating
content? Creative agencies, media agencies, PR firms, or the brands
themselves? And who is actually doing the best job currently? The
jury is still out on this: for two years in a row, the Cannes
Festival of Creativity could not find anyone to whom the Grand Prix
should be awarded.
Should advertising companies create content? Or should content
companies create advertising?
Adrián considered that the majority of both advertising and
content can be described as architecture: some is great, some is
really bad, but most of it is undistinguishable. The reality is
that creating good advertising is incredibly hard. A good example
can be found with the 2015 Super Bowl, one of - if not the - most
high profile advertising opportunity in the USA. Insurance Company
Nationwide, produced an expensive ad, a story
of a cute kid who died. The advert backfired so spectacularly that
Nationwide were forced to issue a statement saying the spot was
meant "to start a conversation, not sell insurance." The advert
inevitably became the subject of an internet meme, and an
advertising executive left the company not longer after.
Hitting the spot with advertising is tough, but so is creating
the right content. Adrián cited two examples of content which
missed their mark: the 1990sBatmanfranchise failing despite the
casting of George Clooney in the lead role, all because of a
misjudged costume design; and theFriendsspin-off seriesJoey, which
was cancelled after two seasons despite starring one of the highest
paid actors in television, Matt Le Blanc, in a reprise of his
What is the main role of advertising?
Creating quality, engaging advertising and content is incredibly
difficult, but even more so if it is forgotten that despite the end
goal of both being the same (increased sales) they are very
different beasts: advertising exists to also create awareness,
consideration and brand attribution, whereas content is about
entertainment, storytelling and ratings.
The biggest mission of advertising is to increase saleability:
'sell' and 'entertain' are opposite, in fact. You would not
probably go for a drink with a guy who is trying to sell you a car.
It is complicated to bring the two together, and the most likely
outcome is brands who are trying to sell and publishers who try to
The difference is that average advertising is easier to get away
with than average content, primarily because they work in a
completely opposite ways. You have got an ad, you buy media, you
push it. Even if it is as poorly judged as the Nationwide Insurance
Super Bowl promo, you are going to create some awareness.
The issue with content is that works on the opposite way: You
create a piece of content, and it has to be outstanding. Anything
less means people will never seek it out.
When - if ever - does advertising become content?
It happens when the earned reach is bigger than the paid reach.
When people are actively looking to consume your advertising, that
is when becomes content. Good branded content is content you would
watch in spite of - not because of - the brand.
If you would like to uncover more case studies and key insights
shared by Adrián Ruiz Mediavilla his full presentation
and its highlights will be available online soon.
To see the presentation, please click here.
Master in Marketing and Creativity
Marketing and Creativity
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