Digital is more than a website or a Facebook page – By Ash Pegram
In this era of integration and unlimited technological possibilities, it’s a wonder there are still agencies that treat digital as something you tack on to an offline campaign. TVC? Check. Radio? Check. Print? Check. Online? Check.
What is even more worrying is the limited view some agencies and clients have of what digital is and what they can achieve with technology. To think of digital as a website, banner, Facebook app or smartphone app is old-school. And it’s holding back advertising creativity and effectiveness.
A recent McCann Truth Central study revealed that 50% of young people would rather lose their sense of smell than give up their mobile phone. To this generation, technology is like oxygen – they need it to survive.
Luckily for them, technology is everywhere. In our industry, technology has transformed every medium and extended the boundaries of what we can do. Outdoor displays are increasingly becoming more interactive with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, video and touchscreen. Print advertising is embracing augmented reality with apps such as Blippar and Viewa. TV is being enhanced with smart TV apps and integrated approaches like Shazaam, Fango and Zeebox. Even cars now have internet connectivity, and so do fridges.
All of these examples are digital, and all of them extend beyond online. More specifically, they do not live on the internet – and you definitely won’t find them within a browser. So why do most agencies and clients still gravitate to online when we talk about digital?
During a debrief a client once declared my ideas as not ‘digital enough’ because I did not include a website in the creative deck. I’d presented a slew of technological ideas – touchscreens, augmented-reality apps and integrated multi-screen concepts. But it was clear the client just wanted a microsite, a Facebook presence and some banner ads. I guess it’s safer to run with a tried and tested approach than try something new.
But the stats don’t lie. Microsites, Facebook apps and banners just don’t cut it anymore. When a click-through rate 0f 0.3% for a banner ad is considered high, you have to ask yourself the obvious question – is there a better, more effective way to spend that money?
More often than not, the answer is ‘yes’. General Motors demonstrated how technology can be used in an imaginative way to powerfully connect with consumers when it created the world’s largest 3D projection at Hollywood Boulevard, in which users could win a brand new Chevy by controlling a virtual claw in a skill tester machine. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOtWppRMzjQ)
With the ‘Invisible Mercedes’, Mercedes-Benz Germany covered a car in LEDs and a camera to project its surroundings and make it disappear, spreading the message that the brand’s zero-emissions F-cell car leaves no impact on the environment. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaM07OZCiZ0)
McCann New York was even more adventurous for the Nature Valley Trail View in which hikers traversed national parks across the US with cameras strapped to their back. Using Google Streetview technology, they were able to virtually map hiking trails and transfer this data into virtual hiking trails which users could navigate online. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHnb_srAv_E)
And it would be remiss of me not to mention our own super-popular Dumb Ways to Die viral, which lived entirely in the digital sphere and garnered more than 45 million views (including re-posts). (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJNR2EpS0jw)
As advertisers we need to start thinking of new technologies as canvases on which we can tell our brands’ stories. And that involves taking risks, making a few inevitable failures and raising our hands to say, “I don’t understand this technology, please explain it to me”. Now is the time to start catching up to the new generation of tech natives and learning from their habits and methods of digesting brands technologically.
It’s time we started thinking beyond the screen.
In this era of integration and unlimited technological possibilities, it’s a wonder there are still agencies that treat digital as something you tack on to an offline campaign. TVC? Check. Radio? Check. Print? Check. Online? Check. What is even more worrying is the limited view some agencies and clients have…More »