Sarah Silverman Obama Ad Can Teach Marketers How To Win

The online video created by Droga5 and starring comedienne Sarah Silverman for the Jewish Council for Education and Research won several honors at the Cannes International Advertising Festival this week including a Gold Lion in the cyber category.

The “ad” is a teaching moment for those who choose to learn.

1. It doesn’t look like advertising. 2. It is entertaining. 3. It is totally connected to the issue [product, brand]. 4. It spawned huge pass-along in social networking, as in “You gotta see this.” 5. It doesn’t look like advertising. 6. It breaks some rules. [Some marketers can be freer on the Net than on network or even cable TV]. Lesson: if it looks like advertising, people will be more likely to skip it.

I had an e-mail exchange with a top marketing exec at a major company this week in which he quoted the former Coca-Cola chief marketing officer Sergio Zyman to me: The purpose of advertising is to sell product.”

Yes. Okay. But that product won’t be sold unless the public is paying attention. Zyman created a whole lot of advertising in his day that just looked too much like advertising for my money.

I’d say the Obama campaign, plus efforts like this that were created outside the campaign structure, have more to teach marketers these days than just about any other advertising I have seen lately.

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