Design Ads People Treat Not As Ads, But As Content

September 30, 2012 — Leave a comment

I just watched this keynote by Ryan Holiday, Director of Marketing at Americal Apparel, at the Social Media Week in LA. I mentioned Ryan’s book “Trust Me, I’m Lying” a couple of weeks ago and this presentation kinda summarizes his take on how the media system works right now.

If you’re interested in the way blogs and social media affect what gets in the news – which you should as this is how the game is played right now – you should definitely check it out.

Around the 30 minute mark Ryan says something that really rang a bell and to me is the one thing marketers have to ask themselves when designing their advertising:

How can you design an ad that people will miss if it’s gone? How can you design an ad that will make people treat it not as an ad but as content?

Ads such as “Sh*t applicants say in a job interview” or “Amazing mind reader reveals his gift” are things people actually want to see and consequently want to tell their friends about. Maybe they’ll even share it with them.

People get bombarded with information as soon as they open their browsers so getting your ads seen doesn’t matter that much anymore as choosing to ignore a brand is just a click away.

Getting your stuff to spread is what matters if you want to succeed as a brand. If more and more people start to rely on their friends for news updates, why not create stuff they really appreciate? You might get yourself thousands of extra broadcasters at zero cost instead of having to rely on just a couple.

Here’s a recent ad I really enjoyed and actually feel enthusiastic about sharing with my friends:

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