insights, ironies and idiosyncrasies in communication and design

from the wide, wide world and the world wide web

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Work that does more than just put a smile on your face.

As a follow-up to my last post I'd like to pose a couple of questions: How do we wake up second and third-world TV-dependent nations from their couch stupor? And how do we direct digital natives to our content?

Well, this Young Guns student work for Colgate gives us a large part of the answer.

Rather than wildly expecting citizens to participate in seemingly meaningless authoring of web content or duplicating the content of a social networking site and attaching a logo, the key to resonant brand communications is to offer people authentic and innovative functionality.

As Crispin, Porter + Bogusky CD Alex Burnard pointed out so clearly at this year's Adfest, we have to invent.

People will only ever need one Facebook at a time – no matter what brand you dress it up in. And why rely on the involvement of thousands of participants to drive your site (by posting, chatting and blogging) when you wouldn't even expect most of them to read a headline and a short paragraph in the offline world? We have to do more than educate or entertain. Our communications need to be more than just funny or emotional. There has to be some genuine benefit (in the original sense of the word) if we want our audience to truly engage.

This can be a digital tool or application like the Colgate idea above or something much wilder but it must be authentic, innovative, relevant and memorable – like all great advertising really.

Digital is clearly the future, not just because it allows for an infinitely broad impact for a minimum media-purchase – a bigger bang for the buck – but the kudos of doing/having digital isn't in itself enough. Successful ideas online have to be as big as (if not bigger than) anything we'd do in the offline world.

Thanks to Judee my friend and mentor for the link. 

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