The Recipe for Marketable Content
I might have made this statement in the past, but it bears repeating, nonetheless. Putting in an advertisement that just point blank tells you to ‘buy this product’ is no longer a valid form of selling anything to anyone. The last two generations of consumers have seen commercials since birth and are practically immunized against standard advertising tactics. I would even go far enough to say that they have become cynical about our consumer-based economy. So, the more forward-thinking marketers of today address this obstacle by creating marketable content for target audiences.
However, this raises a thought-provoking question. What makes marketable content? Effective marketable content can successfully connect, entertain, and offer something that audiences need. Through a few examples over the next few posts, from the perspective of someone who works in an Alabama marketing company, I will explain what these three factors have done right and done wrong.
Advertising as a whole has changed significantly since its beginnings in visual media. What started out as content with company sponsorships in the 1950s has morphed into a rat race to maximize the attention span of audiences all over the globe. With more companies paying for more advertising slots, audiences are getting overwhelmed by too many advertisement interruptions. And who could blame them? Ad run times have grown longer to the point where shows have started to become unwatchable.
For example, in the 1960’s when television was getting popular, there was a total of 9 minutes of advertising for an hour-long program. That’s a reasonable amount of time to be interrupted for any activity. In the 1990’s, an hour-long program contained 19 minutes of advertising runtime. After getting that much interruption, why would anyone bother to watch the program, let alone commercials?
So what is the answer for advertisers who are getting skipped over? Keeping audiences engaged and entertained while you sell your product.
A good ad campaign can entertain. A great ad campaign gets viral. And no Superbowl ad has gotten more viral last year than the 2017 Superbowl Mister Clean-Cleaner of your Dreams commercial. It takes a bold company to take a mascot that’s been around since the 1950’s and update him to something on par with a trashy romance novel or a cheesy 1990’s R&B music video.
It looks at first, like the woman in the commercial is hesitantly being turned on at the thought of buff Mister Clean, of all people, sexily wiping down counters and mopping floors. She slowly gets into it until The mythical cleaning figure becomes her husband, who was doing the chores. She tackles him in a passionate embrace over the couch when a tagline pops up and reads “Gotta love a man who cleans.”
The commercial was created with the intent of making the old mascot more relatable with modern lifestyles where men and women both divvy up household chores. And even if you aren’t part of the middle-aged house husband/wife demographic, the image of the woman who is initially unsettled then slowly seduced by a sexy CGI Mr. Clean is outright hilarious.
As of February 2018, the commercial has 17,721,768 views. And with the new super bowl coming up in a few days, I hope that Proctor and Gamble can top this one.
Update Nov. 2019: The original commercial has been made a private video. Here’s a link to another video so you can still enjoy all the sexy Mr. Clean action.
Entertaining for an audience is a subjective task, but when you come up with skits or key concepts, you need to be able to relate to as many people as possible, by going out of your way to understanding your audience. The last thing you want to do is to alienate your audience or worse, pretend that you understand them, and come across as unauthentic or insincere. So, of course, when the Kylie Jenner Pepsi ad came out, it fell flat.
I already wrote about this in depth, so I am just going to briefly cover it here.
It caused outrage from the protest crowd because the politics that were surrounding both the Occupy Wallstreet and Black Lives Matter conflicts were important and had to do with things like fighting corporate corruption and drawing attention to police brutality. This commercial dumbed the conflict down into a “trendy millennial thing”, which infuriated all of the people who had worked so hard to take it seriously. Pepsi talked down to its audience and as a result, hurt their publicity.