Guest Article By: Brian Jones
It has often been said that millennials are brand evangelists. When we fall in love with a brand, we’ll tell everyone. While millennials are wearing brands on their sleeves, Gen-Z (21-25) and Gen We (14-20) are a whole ‘nother ball game. New research has shown that they have more household influence than their millennial predecessors and that they’re passionate about brands that help enhance their own personal brand (Zeno Group, 2016). Increasingly common, there have been IMCs that truly involve the consumer into the overall experience. It’s not just creating content anymore that consumers actively seek out, it’s content that consumers actually feel a part of.
A couple weeks ago, ad agency Rethink launched an innovative new campaign for Shomi’s TV series Mr. Robot. The show, if you haven’t heard of it, is based on a young computer programmer with a social anxiety disorder that becomes lost in a world hacking and confusion. Sidenote: It’s an amazing show to binge-watch if you happen to find a little free time during your exam week. Anyways, the campaign involved the integration of social media with their outdoor media placements. The outdoor ads were “hacked” midway through the campaign, providing region specific hashtags that drove interested consumers to special instagram accounts that provided further clues as to where $50 envelopes had been hidden around the city.
Moreover, a recent campaign for Coffee-mate titled The Sudbury Incident involves a story about a mystery that has happened in a Sudbury and a faux-documentary filmmaker has been hired to get to the bottom of it. It has been unfolding over the past couple weeks and will continue to develop right into the fall. While this target audience is set a little higher at 20 to 35 years of age, it’s all about providing content that the consumer wants to pursue and get them to figure out what happened in Sudbury. A teaser for the campaign has been created to stand out from traditional commercials and entice users to look into the mystery of #TheSudburyIncident. Nestle Canada’s marketing leader, Ryan Saunders, said that “Hitting people over the head with benefit messages doesn’t always work”. MacLaren McCann Canada, the agency behind the work, have really quite outdone themselves.
On one such post, Instagram user @itsevananduncan has commented “a coffee commercial sent me here. I’d like to know why lol”. @thesudburyincident then replied “Hi Evan, I’m working on figuring it out.” It’s clear this quirky campaign is taking an unconventional approach at getting their product in front of new users. It’s working to pull in the consumer and get them to truly engage with the brand in a way never done before.
Moving forward, I’d imagine we’ll start to see more of these campaigns that involve a strong aspect of both storytelling and consumer engagement. 2016 will be the year that content marketing evolves into something that will be completely integrated across all the mediums. Everything will have a purpose and a sense of connection. It’ll be a fun journey in which, more than ever, we’ll see brands actively engaging with consumers on a newfound scale. If you’re interested in this type of stuff, there’s a really good book called Storyscaping by Gaston Legorburu, Chief Creative Strategist at Publicis.Sapient and Darren (Daz) McColl, Global Chief Brand Strategy Officer at SapientNitro. Storyscaping involves this new marketing approach in which brands can go about creating experiences that blur the lines between the brand story and the consumer’s story. I’d highly recommend it.
Brian Jones is a tech-savvy marketing strategist currently in the Advertising: Account Management Post-Grad program at Humber Lakeshore. Having graduated from University of Guelph in Marketing Management Honours, he works part-time as a content marketer, blogger and web developer for small to medium-sized businesses in various industries. Connect with him on LinkedIn today.