The constant struggle for channel-centric creative

With the Dubai Lynx Festival of Creativity over for another year, it gives all of us in attendance an opportunity to sit back and take stock of what it really means to work in advertising / marketing in an ever-changing media landscape. These days, there’s so much talk about smartphones and tablets, the battle between the first and second screen, the many different social networks and messaging apps flooding the scene, and yadda yadda yadda. Basically, the fragmentation of the way that users’ attention is occupied.

Because of this, there’s been a focus in the media and advertising world towards mastering the latest channels, usually through using a novel approach with the aim of grabbbing the viewers attention and being remembered. The problem with this is that, the more the channel takes precedent over the message and creative copy of a campaign, the less likely it is to make a meaningful impact on the audience. At the other end of the scale, some advertisers put minimal effort into differing digital channels and simply regurgitate the same idea across each.  Too often, marketing in the digital age can fall flat. There is a constant struggle to find that balance between utilizing each channel differently and using great creative. But sometimes, there is a perfect harmony.

At the end of the day, whatever channel you use, you need to strike a cord with the viewer as well as taking advantage of that channel’s strengths. With that in mind, here are some of my favourite campaigns discussed at this year’s Dubai Lynx.

A.1. Steak Sauce “New Friend Requests” – Facebook

Facebook’s Fergus O’Hare championed the need to marry an understanding of the channel used with a great idea that not only leaves a lasting impression, but also conveys the message that the brand wants to get across. A.1. Steak Sauce in the US was aiming to create new use cases for it’s product by dropping the term ‘Steak’ from it’s name. Cue this great video that feeds off the channel it was distributed on (i.e. Facebook) to get that message across. This is my personal favourite.

Hewlett Packard “Bend The Rules” – Vine

David Shing (a.k.a. @Shingy, a.k.a the guy with the crazy hair) emphasised the opportunity in taking advantage of the restrictions of certain channels when telling your product’s story. If you can get your message across in only 6 seconds, then why take any longer? This user-generated campaign for HP’s new laptop / tablet hybrid wouldn’t work on any other platform but is great on Vine. It had some pretty hilarious results to boot.

Hunger Games “District Voices” Web Series – YouTube

Another great example of using the specific strengths of a channel was this campaign from YouTube to promote the latest ‘Hunger Games’ film. Google’s Vikram Tank discussed the phenomenon of YouTube celebrities that are actually more endearing to viewers than real celebritites. YouTube plucked them out of real life and dropped them into Panem, the fictional world that The Hunger Games is set in. The YouTube celebs would generate the same style of content they would normally, but this time in the context of the film’s backdrop.

Apple’s iPhone 6 “World Gallery” –

With smartphones now completely ubiquitous, nearly everyone these days carries a pretty decent camera around with them 24/7 and we all like to think of ourselves as budding photographers. Rebecca Swift from Getty Images highlighted the recent Apple ‘World Gallery’ campaign that showcases the power of the latest iPhone’s camera by utilising user-generated content on their own site. Most of these shots are stunning.