Monday, January 11, 2010

8/1/10 - The Advertising Overload

Sick of advertisements? Who isn’t? We take a look at some of the more original ways that advertisers got us to pay attention to their products in 2009.

The bright lights of too many ads

We’re bombarded with advertisements practically every single waking moment of our lives. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that advertisers have been successful in raising awareness of their products. In fact, the more accustomed we are to advertisements the less attention we pay to them. Commercial breaks are an excuse for a cup of tea, magazine ads are flicked past, and billboards barely register on our conscious aside from being a colourful distraction as we drive along the motorway. Because of this, advertisers have been forced to consider different strategies to attract our attention. From offering jobs to simply entertaining us, advertising is becoming even more inventive and original. Here we take a look at a few of 2009’s memorable advertising moments.

Flash Mobs

The social craze of flash mobs has been hijacked by advertisers to promote their products. Using a flash mob as an advertising tool works because their primary function is to surprise and entertain thus grabbing consumer’s attention. Another reason that flash mobs are excellent advertising tools is that they tend to go viral within hours, or even minutes, of happening. T Mobile used this fact to their advantage by organising a flash mob in London’s Liverpool station last January in which 400 dancers, camouflaged within the crowd, broke in to a choreographed dance routine which can be seen here. News of the campaign, which appropriately enough had the tagline ‘Life’s for sharing’, spread immediately through the internet and the commercial aired on UK television the next day gaining valuable publicity for T-Mobile. Another memorable example of a flash mob used an advertising tool was 100 dancers performing ‘ Single Ladies’ at London’s Piccadilly Circus to promote the announcement of Trident gums sponsoring of a free Beyonce gig last April. The footage which can be seen here was diffused worldwide by consumers, successfully capitalising on both the flash mob craze and the success of Beyonce’s song.

Wannabe Beyoncés take to Piccadilly

Most recently, Fox television staged a flash mob in a shopping mall in Rome two days before the launch of Glee on Italian television. The stunt gained publicity not only in within the new market of Italy but with existing fans throughout the world for the amazing medley of songs from the TV show performed by the dancers.

I want that job

The 2009 Tourism Queensland campaign was another unique way to advertise a product – in this case the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. The tourist board opened applications for a 6 month island caretaker position on Hamilton Island which was rent free and paid a wage of €150,000 to the lucky winner. The ‘Best Job in The World’ entailed living and working on Hamilton Island for six months whilst exploring the rest of the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and reporting back on them via the island caretaker blog. Nice work if you can get it! The campaign attracted worldwide attention with over 34,000 people applying for the job and many more talking about it. Another lesser known example of this style of advertising is National Railway Museum in York (England) appointing a train mad 6 year old as its ‘Director of Fun’ in August. The boy’s parents saw an advertisement for a new director of the museum and teased their son about applying. He then write a letter to the museum and museum staff were so taken with his letter that they appointed him their ‘Director of Fun.’ Yet another inventive way to attract the public’s attention, but this time by tugging on their heart strings. If only Cadbury’s had taken note that my dream job was to be a chocolate tester when I was younger…

Social networking

Ikea was another company to advertise in a unique way this year, this time through the medium of facebook. However rather than simply set up a facebook fan page and wait for people to become a fan they took a more inventive approach to promote the opening of a new store in Sweden.

IKEA hits Facebook

They created a facebook profile for the store manager who people were encourage to befriend. Then over a two week period, photos of Ikea showrooms were added to an album on his facebook profile. His friends were then invited to tag products in the photos. The first person to tag their name to a product on the pictures won it. Their photo tagging activity spread to their facebook newsfeed and though their posted links and comments thus letting more and more people know about the competition and consequently the opening of the new store. Through this ingenious use of the photo tagging system, Ikea made many people willing ambassadors for Ikea and their new store.

What next?

From flash mobs to jobs, advertising in 2009 was certainly different and only time will tell what 2010 brings. But one thing is certain; advertising is one industry that has no excuse for standing still in these recessionary times as advertisers are work harder to keep ensure satisfied and entertained customers. Who says recessions are all bad?