We've been having a chat with planner, Paul Isakson (although there are plenty of others out there thinking similar things) about the move that we are witnessing of a move towards brands lowering their media spends.
The media that they would have bought is being replaced - for many of them - by the creation of original, engaging content that the brands themselves generate and own. The conversation was prompted in part by this post and also by this piece on the Lynx campaign.
The supposition is that many brands are now creating campaigns that use bought media in a way that grabs attention and attracts consumers to content and interaction.
The Lynx campaign mentioned sees the brand create its own online lad mag. Nike has for years created content online that TV drives traffic to. Smirnoff's campaign drove punters to a specially created AKQA game.
As Paul pointed out, Honda briefed W+K that they wanted to see media spend fall throughout the period of the Power of Dreams campaign. Cadbury's Gorilla could arguably have done more online to engage out of the TV work - but to be honest, the TV spot probably drove so many people online that the media spend was relatively lower. The Sony Bravia ads likely have a similar effect (at least judging by YouTube numbers).
The most notable and obvious use that I could think of, tho, was the British Army Recruitment work where much of the TV work carries the end line ... "the story continues online, watch it at armyjobs.mod.uk.
Matt Dyke, head of planning at DDB argued recently at an IPA Strategy Group debate that we would see TV used this way ...
Consumers, he argued, love good brand ads and will actively seek them out, view, discuss and dissect them online. Matt surmised TV advertising should be used to "seed" creative and emotional ideas, giving consumers the opportunity to turn to other media to engage further and explore on their own terms.
The question, then, hinges on one that we in PR have faced forever ... will clients be willing to invest more in content in the hope that consumers (or intermediaries who influence them like bloggers or newspapers) will be interested in it, or will they simply plough money in where they at least know that they will be seen? And will their brands be willing to be interesting, different or useful enough to create things that are really compelling?
Sounds like Crispin, Bogusky + Porter (via Amelia) are embracing this need:
Apparently, Bogusky does not accept script anymore. If you want to show him an idea, it has to be in the form of the press release announcing your campaign. Urban legend or not it does help judging whether the idea will cut through or not. (from Digicynic)
But whether expressed in script or press release, clients and brands are going to have to embrace the risk if they are going to divert spend from other people's media to their own content, becoming media owners themselves. Those that take the risk and succeed are the ones that look likely to succeed in the engagement economy we are moving headlong towards.
On a barely related note (but a bloody good excuse to show some stunning work), Paul's posting on this matter was prompted by this ad from the Nike stable. Can't decide whether it is grossly exploitative - of the viewer, rather than the subject of the ad - or whether it is f*%king stunning. For the time being, am erring on the latter ...