Engaging Advertising: More than a Buzzword

When advertising actually hits the bar and is engaging.
Heather Green

I often hear advertising people talk about how they want to "engage the audience, rather than pushing marketing." Especially these days, with the explosion of people creating their own videos, podcasts, and intricate blogs. But I heard about a couple of examples, while doing some reporting for a video story recently that actually seemed to live up to the billing.

The first was Matador Records, which created an interactive tour guide using YouTube and Flickr for Mogwai, one of its bands that's on the road right now. Using the videos and photos, they're creating a scrap book of the band's tour. Band members puts up their own videos and photos, of course. But fans who have been to the shows also are contributing.

The other is a promotion called Pimp My Profile that marketing company Deep Focus did for the release of that teen classic, Date Movie. The promotion is what it says. You enter in your MySpace ID, and Tony Cox, who plays Lil Hitch in the movie, lays into your profile before recommending ways to change it. When you click on a button, Hitchefy Me, you're shown your remade profile, with your photo replaced by photos of the movie's stars, for instance.

It's nearly impossible not to be cynical about advertising. But I remember my first epiphany that advertising could be live up that aspiration and be engaging. It was when I lived in France for a while. Before the movies, they roll out their best ads....and unlike here, they had to tell you when they started running the previews and when the movie actually started. The thing was I liked seeing the ads, so I would make it to the movie theater early.

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